Saturday, January 20, 2007

ROME Vincit Omnes

Or vincit most, anyway.

I started watching season 1 of ROME on DVD a little while ago, planning to take in just an episode or two as tonal research for a new project I've started.

Well, an episode or two of this fantastic show wasn't enough, and I slurped down that first season in time for the season 2 opener last week.

It's amazing, Shakespearean stuff, as Alex Epstein has commented on a few times.

I particularly love how the writers imbue the characters with a principal trait that makes them who they are, and, as in Will's work, can be their downfall (some SPOILERS follow...).

For Luscious-- sorry, Lucius, it's his honor. It resides like a hard, battle-tested stone at his very center, and wins him respect and position in Rome but also costs him his wife and family. Not to mention the chance to knock sandals with Cleopatra.

For Titus, it's his easy skill with violence. It makes him a great soldier, but also keeps him, fatally, from finding his way in peacetime. It allows him to fall into seamy underworld assassinations and casual, unthinking murder.

For Caesar, of course, it's his pride. For Atia, I think it's her fear of being alone, which comes out as political and social ambition and her fierce if often twisted love for her children.

The treatment of Marc Antony's speech was brilliant, as Jane Espenson notes, and I also loved the "Et tu, Brute?" moment during the assassination. You're waiting for Caesar to say "And you, Brutus?" or something like it, and-- he doesn't. He opens his mouth, and Brutus, tormented, relates later that he thought he heard Caesar say something, but really the accusation was only in the dying man's eyes and face.

I'm very sorry that this is the last season for ROME, but apparently according to interviews that'll allow for some balls-out storycraft. Not that the show's pulled any punches (or gladii) so far.

Thirteeeeeen!

Non sequitur postscript from The Boyfriend, who's watching BLOODRAYNE on TV as I write this: "Uwe Boll must be stopped."

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

Ooh! We are completely hooked on Rome here, too, and have nearly finished Season 1 (S2 opener is waiting for us on the TiVo). We sat down to watch 2 episodes yesterday and ended up watching 4 instead. Wonderful stuff!