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Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: Entertainment News

WHEN IN ROME: HBO announced Wednesday that it will launch its new 12-episode drama series Rome on Sunday, Aug. 28. Let's hope it fares better than ABC's swords-and-sandals miniseries Empire, which drew a dismal 6.8 million viewers in its premiere Tuesday. It even got beat by CBS' 48 Hours.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: Ask Matt

Question: After watching the teaser trailer, I'm really looking forward to HBO's Rome this fall. But I noticed that, on their website at least, they are referring to it as an "event" rather than a "new series." Has the network given any indication as to whether Rome is truly intended as a limited-run show or is it possible that what appears to be a miniseries could become simply the first season if it does well?

Matt: However they're billing it, Rome is a weekly series (premiering Aug. 28), and HBO would like nothing more than for it to have a long future for many seasons to come. As soon as I finish filing this column, I plan to watch the first few episodes, which just arrived.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: Roush Review

Hail, Rome!

A lusty, gaudy historical spectacular

Rome

Summer may be over, but for the next few months, sandals will remain in fashion. Also swords. And tunics, which have a way of dropping at a moment's notice.

HBO has transported us, at no small expense, to ancient Rome, and who'd be foolish enough to refuse? Think Deadwood with baths, or the Sopranos breaking bread with the I, Claudius crew. Far from a stuffy costume epic, Rome (Sundays at 9 pm/ET) is a feast for the eyes and an orgy for whatever other senses may be stimulated by a ripping good story.

As is often the case with HBO shows

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Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: The Water Cooler

Rome

Let's start off with lessons-from-ancient-history time, shall we? A huffy Caesar tells his consigliere that "the business of motivating men to fight is a tricky business," adding that he "would not expect a slave to understand the subtleties." So the guy's intelligence quotient drops as soon as he disagrees with your leadership? Nice to see that practice died with the Roman empire. Oh, wait.... Anyway, poor Lucius returns from years of battle only to find his wife holding another man's baby, which she says is his grandson, even though his daughter is only 13. One thing I can say on her behalf, though, is that for all the happiness his spoils should bring her, I can understand why she might not be thrilled when he throws the phallus on the table. And between that and all the copulation, this sure as heck ain't the History Channel, is it?

Now, I was just about to wonder how big a brain Pullo really has, nearly getting himself killed gambling. A moment later, of course, we actually see his brain during surgery. And it's at this point that I'm beginning to wish this was the History Channel, especially when the doctor hacks his scalp open before talking about the "copious pus" and the "purging of the malignancy" to come. (The Romans invented many things, but painkillers weren't among them.) Meanwhile, on the political side, Pompey makes his play, but the senate explodes into violence before Antony can veto the motion. (How cool would C-SPAN be if our own did the same a little more often? I'm betting that, despite the years between them, Ted Kennedy could take Bill Frist, no problem.) Then Pullo shows himself to be a loyal pal, defending Lucius to the missus, but everybody will need all the loyalty they can muster after Pullo's gambling fiasco ends up forcing Caesar's hand, bringing things to the brink of war. You've gotta love the irony when Caesar calls Pullo out of the crowd to praise him for being the one to draw first blood defending Antony, too, when he was really just saving his own skin. "What's going to happen?" Lucius' daughter asks her mother. "War is going to happen," his wife answers, right before her breast-feeding reveals the lie we knew she'd been telling all along. A good show gets even better this week, eh?

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Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: Ask Matt

Question: I noticed that Rome has eight executive producers and six producers. Was it so expensive they needed to give out those credits like candy, or do all these people actually contribute? And is this a record? I imagine some of the great '80s miniseries might beat this, but has any series ever come close to 14 producers and executive producers?

Matt Roush: I'm sure this is no record. Study the credits for almost any show, even a run-of-the-mill sitcom, and you'll see a laundry list of executive/supervising/coproducer titles. Compounding the situation with Rome is not only its extraordinary expense (estimated at $100 million), but also the fact that it's an international coproduction. That old "It takes a village" saying applies to TV as well, it seems.

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Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: The Water Cooler

Rome

"It's a crime if we lose," Antony says of Caesar's rebellion. "If we win, it isn't." Nice to see how little has changed in the world in all this time, huh? Then we're right into the sex, blood and intrigue, with Atia telling Timon she'll see that he's "properly rewarded" if he does what he's asked. And the sucker thanks her. Guess he's not watching this show, since her idea of "properly" could mean any number of awful things. "All will be well, I assure you," Pompey tells his wife as they abandon Rome before Caesar's forces arrive. Lotsa lying in the air, no? Me, I'm happiest when we stick with Pullo and Lucius, both of whom are as likable as you get on this show full of schemers and louts. In fact, grading on a bell curve, they're out-and-out heroes. And what a great scene in Atia's household, with the wealthy and spoiled quarreling over who shall kill whom and who shall kill themselves (and in what order) before the rabble burst in. Then there's the unfair info trade when Pullo gives Lucius mostly decent advice on how to make his wife love him, and gets crappy astronomy facts in return: Stars are holes in the celestial sphere, "hundreds" of miles away, that let the heavenly light shine through? Oh, well

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Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: The Water Cooler

Rome

Ah, Sunday, and it wouldn't be Sunday without Rome. And it wouldn't be Rome without blood and sex. The blood's here before the theme's out of my head, with the poor wretch who stole Pompey's gold hanging upside-down and being tortured to death with a hook. And I am reminded I'm not any less squeamish than I was last week. Oy. No rest for the squeamish, either, as after a short break in which we see Antony offer Lucius a nice incentive package to return to the military before threatening him, we then see one of Atia's underlings cutting off a nice helping of goat privates so Octavian can eat them to build his masculinity. To make matters worse, she insists he down them while they're still warm. Double-oy.

Atia's no slouch in the viciousness department, as we saw when she first ordered her daughter, Octavia, to break it off with her husband, then had said husband killed. But despite the girl's frail demeanor, when she says she'll open her mother's throat with her teeth if she finds out she was involved in hubby's demise, I believe her. More intrigue, as Lucius' wife Niobe struggles to keep her husband from discovering that her supposed grandkid is actually her own child, fathered by her sister's husband. Then we're treated to a harrowing demonstration of just how tough Lucius really is, as the sadistic Quintus shows up to demand Pompey's gold, which Lucius knows nothing about, and Lucius, a blade held to his throat and more than one held to his wife, calmly proclaims his innocence without so much as a flinch. Great moment when Pullo shows up just in time to rescue them, though, of course he's saving his former commander from a mess he created. And once again, Pullo manages to screw up and into a pretty damned good position, as Caesar gets Pompey's gold and even tosses a few coins his way. "I do not like to quarrel with fortune, and clearly she's taken you for a pet," Caesar tells him. As have I, since I really like this series, and as has HBO, which recently announced we'll be getting another season of it.

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Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: The Water Cooler

Rome

Starting off with a surprise, Pompey dictates a letter offering Caesar a truce. We cut from flies buzzing around Pompey and his crew, to a comfortable Caesar getting a shave. "Judicious use of mercy is worth 10,000 men," Caesar says when told he's being a spendthrift. Then the intrigue begins in earnest, with Octavian spilling to his mom that Caesar's cursed with an affliction, Lucius buying Pullo's girl back from a stranger and giving her to Niobe as a slave (and spy), Caesar refusing Pompey's offer of a truce (and not following Antony's advice to immediately head south and kill him), and Lucius finding his business dead before he's started it. Now, all the ugliness of that last one aside, it's setting up his return to soldiering, which is good for us since he's a lot less entertaining as an entrepreneur and cuckold than he was as a fighter.

Did someone say fighting? Here's an interesting twist: Pullo working as a tutor to build Octavian's masculinity up. Then Lucius finds he's no cutthroat-for-hire, and does indeed go back into the military. So how about that Servilia-Caesar artwork, huh? Modern-day taggers have nothing on graffiti artists of old. (Though I'm sure Caesar and his wife don't quite appreciate it the way I do.) And we go from pitying the rejected-and-smacked Servilia to being more than a little scared of her as she puts very graphic curses on both Caesar and Atia once she finds out the latter was behind the paintings. A long, bitter life of shame, with all her children dead, she says. Ouch. Speaking of ouch, Octavian and Pullo go after Niobe's lover and get him to confess to fathering her son, cutting off his thumbs and killing him in the process. Damn, that's one scary kid, huh? And we end with Caesar at the sea, finding he's too late — Pompey's sailed off. This show's never slow, huh? I mean, I'm hooked, and happy to be.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Rome is due to finally air on British screens later this month, but the BBC will cut the first three episodes into two, cutting out alot of the back story said to have been included for the benefit of American audiences.

The BBC are not on board yet to co-fund the second series, though have the rights to screen it, but it's said the cost will be significantly lower than series 1 as all the sets etc. are now in place.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, THE WATERCOOLER

Rome

At first I was happy to see that after a two-week hiatus, nobody on this show had become nicer, which might've made for a less entertaining hour. (Not that I was expecting it to become 7th Heaven, or even Reba, but still....) But good lord... any noble traits in evidence

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Finally got this here in the UK last night - and it wasn't really worth the wait!

Even with the BBC merging the first two episodes into one the pacing was still slow and the story, well boring! The so called excessive sex and violence was nothing we haven't seen a million times before!

It certainly didn't make as big an impact on me as other HBO shows like Six Feet Under.

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, THE WATERCOOLER

Rome

Wow. Caesar's named emperor by a senate which has no choice, and immediately promises "justice, peace and land for all its citizens, not just the privileged few." Sounds nice, huh? Wonder if he'll stick to it any better than our contemporary politicians. Speaking of politics, those pale in comparison with the cold maneuvering between Atia and Servilia, as we see when Atia shows up to see how Servilia's recovering from the attack Atia herself ordered. Hmmm... one has ruined the other's relationship and had her whipped and stripped naked in the street, the other's maneuvered her rival's kids into bed with each other to try and get inside info on her former lover. And they say the men are cruel? Moving along, anyone else betting Lucius is too honest for the politics game? Or that Servilia's really going to regret taking in Pompey's sadistic son Quintus, who we've seen torture a guy with hooks? Then we get to some potentially happy stuff, with Pullo buying Eirene's freedom and generating some genuine smiles (a rare thing on this show). Of course, I know that ain't gonna work out, but far worse than I thought, as Eirene's lover thanks Pullo for the gesture and earns himself a gruesome death. I still love the guy, but yeesh... what he's capable of sometimes. Just tell me he's not going to go work for Erastes. He hasn't fallen that far.

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, THE WATERCOOLER

Rome

I believe it was the great Krusty the Clown who once said... "holy crap." This was the most stomach-turning bit of TV ever, but that hardly matters since it's also some of the most exciting stuff I've seen in years. The rest of the episode had the usual interesting developments (Brutus working his way to his fateful "et tu" showdown with Caesar, etc.), but can we really talk about anything but Pullo and Vorenus in the arena? Now, we knew sentencing Pullo to die in gladiatorial combat was like tossing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch, but what a sequence just the same. The beauty of this show is twofold here: It doesn't shy away from showing us the horrors of close combat or pretend people died cleanly or pleasantly, given the weaponry of the time. But it also presents us with characters so well written and acted that it's... butchery with a heart? Ray Stevenson has done a winning job as Pullo since Episode 1, but I have to say that I think Kevin McKidd often has the harder job with Vorenus since the character's lack of humor could easily make him flat and unsympathetic in the hands of a lesser performer. So when McKidd has to show us the torment Vorenus is going through while watching his friend fight for his life against completely unfair odds, all the while knowing it's against his political interests to help him, it really is an accomplishment. And when he at last enters the ring to stop the final gladiator from killing Pullo, his bloody duel is an amazing capper to the brilliantly staged carnage before it. (And how great was Stevenson's portrayal of a man who's hit bottom but still has too much life in him to go quietly, even when he thinks he just wants someone to end his freefall for him?) My own personal measure of how good it was: I am, as I've written many a time, a complete wimp when it comes to gore. Yet I rewound and watched it again. Completely disgusting, people

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, THE WATERCOOLER

Rome

Don't ask me why, but the Servilia-Atia rivalry reminds of the classic bar argument of who would win a match between Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson if both were in their primes. I've always maintained Tyson might win the first fight on surprise power alone, but Ali would win any subsequent match on speed, skill and

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, ASK MATT

Question: Please help! I am so worried about Rome. Back in September, after just a couple of episodes, HBO announced it would be returning for a second season. Then in an interview with the New York Times, Chris Albrecht seemed to cast doubt on that, saying they'd only renewed the show to put a hold on the cast, and it was really just a script order. His big concern, he said, was that it couldn't return to the air before March 2007. First: I feel like I've been bait-and-switched, watching a show for the whole season with the promise that there would be more, and now that's about to be yanked away. My emotional investment in Rome would have been much less if I'd known it was a one-season thing. Second: Why on earth can't the show return before March 2007 if they were going to start shooting the second season (as they said before) in March 2006? Does it really take a full year to get 12 episodes on the air from the time shooting starts? Most TV doesn't work that way. Many films don't work that way, either (e.g., Munich, shot this summer, released in December). Third: Arrrgh! I am so frustrated! Rome is a great show and deserves to return! Please, is there anything you can tell us?

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  • 4 months later...

Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, AUSIELLO REPORT

It's Official: Rome Will Return!

Many of you have been wondering about the fate of HBO's Rome. Well, this new HBO press release should clear things up:

"HBO's epic drama series ROME has begun production on its ten-episode second season, it was announced today by Carolyn Strauss, president, HBO Entertainment. Filming of the new episodes will continue at Rome's Cinecitt

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  • 2 months later...

Sorry this is a little late......

Did you miss parts of the first season....see it all again!!!!

Don't miss the 1st season Rome, Saturday's at 9PM ET on HBO beginning June 17th with "The Stolen Eagle."

The next episodes are

Stealing from Saturn on Sat, Jul 8 09:00 PM HBO2e

The Ram Has Touched the Wall on Sat, Jul 15 09:00 PM HBO2e

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Courtesy of: ZAP2IT

Two and Out for 'Rome'

HBO show begins final season in September

July 12 2006

24347580.jpg

Ray Stevenson on 'Rome'

LOS ANGELES -- The fall of "Rome" will happen sometime in early 2007.

HBO announced Wednesday that the second season of its epic series set in the time of Caesar will debut Jan. 7. At the same time, the network says next season will be the last for the show.

Filming on season two is currently taking place at the Cinecitta Studios in Rome and will wrap in October. Once that's done, though, the show -- a co-production with the BBC -- will call it quits.

HBO Chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht says that "Rome" was originally envisioned as a miniseries, but after seeing the quality of the first scripts the network and its partners (Italian broadcaster Rai was also involved) decided to go ahead with a full-blown show. However, after dealing with the logistics of shooting overseas and the high cost -- reports pegged the price tage for the first season at somewhere around $100 million -- HBO made the decision to pull the plug (the commitments of BBC and Rai were due to run out after the coming season as well).

The show's first-season ratings on HBO were decent (most episodes drew between 2 million and 3 million viewers) but not at the level of "The Sopranos" or, say, "Six Feet Under" in its prime. It did earn a fair share of critical praise and last week was nominated for eight Emmys.

The second season will pick up following the death of Julius Caesar. Most of the principal cast is scheduled to return, including Kevin McKidd, Polly Walker, Ray Stevenson, James Purefoy, Lindsay Duncan and Kerry Condon.

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  • 6 months later...

Courtesy of: ZAP2IT

'Rome' Serves Up a Tasty Caesar Salad

By John Crook, Zap2it

January 14, 2006

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Polly Walker on 'Rome'

If it's true that "all roads lead to Rome," that may explain why so many characters find themselves at a crossroads in the second season premiere of HBO's "Rome" on Sunday, Jan. 14.

Nowhere is that more true than in the home of centurion Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd), a once-noble man whose life is quickly unraveling. His wife, Niobe, is dead following a bitter argument with Vorenus. The man he had sworn to protect, Julius Caesar, has been slain by assassins. And, shortly after the new season opens, even more family tragedy befalls Vorenus.

It's a very dark place for any actor to venture into, especially after a long hiatus following season one.

"But that was what I really responded to about the role, the challenge of being able to deconstruct this man, this incredibly honorable and upright Roman citizen who has had everything taken away from him, almost in the same way as Job," McKidd says. "You get both the upside and the downside of a man who has led a pretty clear-cut life to this point but suddenly everything is gone. Playing that is a challenge, certainly, but it wasn't one I was frightened of. I was looking forward to it, showing the underbelly of this centurion."

The actor is mum on how far down Vorenus will spiral but hints that his salvation, if there is one, may lie with his best friend, Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson).

"I don't want to give anything away, but it's like when Pullo's darkest place comes in the gladiator ring and his best friend eventually comes in and helps him," McKidd says. "When you're at your lowest ebb, your closest friend, even if you don't want their help, will give it to you. That's what Pullo is trying to do -- he sees that Vorenus is unhinged."

If things aren't quite so dire in the house of Atia (Polly Walker), niece of the late Caesar, you nonetheless can cut the tension in the air with a bloody dagger. Her ambitious lover, Marc Antony (James Purefoy), is seething once he learns whom Caesar has named as his rightful heir: none other than Atia's fair-haired son, Octavian (Max Pirkis). And Atia, one of nature's great survivors, finds herself with divided loyalties and the challenge of trying to bet on the right horse in what could be a very high-stakes race.

"Her situation is much more complex this time, definitely, and I was able to be much more subtle with her, and she had much more grown-up issues to deal with," says Walker, who snagged a Golden Globe nomination for her work in season one. "She's a more subtly drawn character this time around, and I enjoyed that.

"She is a survivor and she's definitely trying to work out where the power lies, but through it all she is a good Roman mother. As much as she is in love with Marc Antony, the survival of her child is paramount, I think, the survival of her family. Atia realizes that Octavian is special, that he is emperor material. Her love and her loyalties always will come down to her son."

The actress says the larger-than-life Atia is such an all-consuming role that she actually experienced a brief period of panic when she realized she had to tackle this character for another season.

"I was kind of nervous to go back to her, actually, because I thought I had forgotten how to act or something," she says. "I was intimidated. I had about a week of thinking, 'Oh, God, I've lost it, I haven't got a clue.' But it's such a strong role, so it's like riding a bike, really, and Atia became much more multifaceted this time. She was even more interesting to play this time around, but I had my hands full with her, definitely.

"I was absolutely exhausted when this series of episodes were finished, because the sort of character that Atia is, you never were able to take a back seat. You always had to come driving in your Jeep or massive truck through scenes. You could never relax. I've always thought it was terribly precious to hear actors talk about how tired they are from doing a series, but I really did find this exhausting."

The first season of "Rome" opened to soft ratings but built to a solid success for HBO. While the show has been a hit in Latin countries around the world, it was not nearly as well received on co-creator and executive producer Bruno Heller's native turf, the United Kingdom. And he isn't altogether surprised.

"'Rome' was written for an American audience," Heller says. "It wasn't meant to be 'Masterpiece Theatre.' I think that in England the natural expectation of this kind of a show is a much more staid, more formal version of history. We wanted to make this as dynamic and 'grabbing' as possible.

"The British audience is used to very respectful reimaginings of the classics, which is not what this was. The intention of this show was to make something that Romans would enjoy and understand, with a Latin feel to it. The style of the show is meant to be grand soap opera, and that is something that is bound to be more successful in America than on my home turf."

Going into this second season, Heller and his creative team knew that there would be no season three, so he says they tried even harder to provide fans with a sense of closure at the end.

"I don't think anyone will be disappointed," he says. "We've left some things hanging, but that's just life. That's history. But we come to a dramatic and very final conclusion. It's sad, though, not to be able to go on, mainly because we had become such a tight family of crew and cast and had built a fairly wonderful production machine combining English actors, Italian crew and American production, which is not easy to do."

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is the only show I am able to not fall asleep. Awesome. I too was disappointed to find out that there will only be two seasons, but I am sure it is very expensive to produce plus as they get closer to the A.D. years it get too controversial. They probably prefer not to get into the politics of religions.

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