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 Rome - TBC's First Watch.

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TBC

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PostSubject: Rome - TBC's First Watch.   Thu May 03, 2018 10:38 pm

Okay, I'll be honest and say that I am nearly done with the first of two seasons.

What I have seen so far is entertaining, but keep in mind please that this is not a History Channel docu. Some events have been omitted for the sake of the narrative, some historical personages have been altered, but where the show is accurate is in the way it portrays life in the Roman Republic in the 1st Century BCE, warts and all, so far as the show's creators were able to do so. This is NOT Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.

The show begins in 52 BCE, with Caesar finishing up his campaign in Gaul. I'll pause here for a back-story which the show glosses over. Caesar, Pompey Magnus, who was Rome's greatest general, and Marcus Lucinis Crassus, one of Rome's largest landowners had formed a power bloc in the Senate and taken control of it through veto power. Crassus unfortunately was killed in an ill-advised invasion of the Parthian Empire and with Caesar up fighting Gauls that left Pompey to sit on his butt in the Senate and scheme.

The writers took two "names" from Caesar's Account of the Gallic War and made them central characters. At least they made them intriguing characters. Soldier Titus Pullo and Centurion Lucius Vorenus. The action gets interesting in the first episode when Pompey hatches a plot to punish and discredit Caesar...Atia of the Julii, Caesar's niece, but her actions are completely fictionalized for the series, sends her son Octavian (you should know the name without me telling you, but he later became Caesar Augustus) accompanied by slaves to ride to Caesar's camp and present him with a horse. Grand gesture, yes? Weeks later as they get near the camp they are attacked, the slaves killed, the boy and the horse captured....why waste a fine horse. At the same time someone wearing blue paint sneaks into Caesar's supply tent. kills the guards, and makes off with the gold eagle standard which the Legion carries into battle....leaving blue paint smears everywhere. Marcus Antonius, or you can call him "Mark Antony" if it makes you happy, recently arrived for the victory party offers to hire someone to find the eagle "by appropriate means" *ahem*, Vorenus is his man, and Vorenus springs Pullo, in the pokey for disobeying orders, general bad conduct, you name it, to help out with the offer of a full pardon if they succeed. Won't go into details on how they find the eagle, or the captive Octavian at the same time, but that it the beginning of the oil-and-water partnership that serves as a backdrop for the events that marked the end of the Roman Republic. If I had the skills I think I would make a clip vid of those two, drinking together, fighting together, fighting each other, with the theme from The Odd Couple playing over it.

All commentary on the show is welcome.
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vonnegut

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PostSubject: Re: Rome - TBC's First Watch.   Fri May 04, 2018 4:48 am

I love the hell out of this show.

Particularly Titus Pullo.

What episode are you on?
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His Royal Dorkness

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PostSubject: Re: Rome - TBC's First Watch.   Fri May 04, 2018 12:01 pm

I also love the hell out of this show, and i've been considering subjecting Mrs. Mo to a re-watch. (she liked it too, but i'm not entirely sure she's down for a rewatch anytime soon).

Titus Pullo is definitely the obvious hero in the show. I also loved the performance of the actor playing Marc Antony.

As an addendum to TBC's notes, i'd add that the fairly limited military actions shown are also mostly period-faithful, including equipment and tactics.
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vonnegut

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PostSubject: Re: Rome - TBC's First Watch.   Fri May 04, 2018 2:53 pm

@His Royal Dorkness wrote:
I also loved the performance of the actor playing Marc Antony.

Not to mention he's so sexy there should be laws against it.
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TBC

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PostSubject: Re: Rome - TBC's First Watch.   Fri May 04, 2018 5:31 pm

I am through S1 E 11. Pullo's fight in the Arena. After singlehandedly killing all those guys in the arena Pullo is clearly a man who has the favor of the Writers Gods. lol2
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vonnegut

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PostSubject: Re: Rome - TBC's First Watch.   Fri May 04, 2018 5:59 pm

THIRTEEEEEEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Warthawg1

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PostSubject: Re: Rome - TBC's First Watch.   Fri May 04, 2018 6:20 pm

can't look.. can't look

Sorry TBC.. Rome is on my list, but I can't do more than one first watch at a time. I would have liked to 
join you, but I'mm have to read this after I finally watch it myself.
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His Royal Dorkness

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PostSubject: Re: Rome - TBC's First Watch.   Fri May 04, 2018 6:41 pm

@vonnegut wrote:
@His Royal Dorkness wrote:
I also loved the performance of the actor playing Marc Antony.

Not to mention he's so sexy there should be laws against it.
Legislation has its limits, y'know
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TBC

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PostSubject: Re: Rome - TBC's First Watch.   Tue May 08, 2018 1:08 pm

So much to love, so much to hate.

Rome in the middle of the 1st Century BCE was not the city it had been 100 years earlier, neither was it the city it would become 100 years later. The writers did a tremendous job of portraying that transition state. They did so when they showed the politics of Caesar vs the Traditionalist Cato, and when they showed the Collegia on the Aventine.

I had to decide whether I liked that they omitted showing the eulogies for Caesar. On reflection, I did. A brief reaction of one Citizen to them sufficed and if they had they would have needed to either write their own dialogue (because nobody knows exactly what was said) or copy something famous. And then shall the mothers of Rome cry "Who writes this drivel?" and let slip the critics of war. Bypassing the scene completely freed them from the ghost of Shakestoady.

Had to toss in the R III Thread nod. Sue me.

All in all Pullo and Vorenus succeeded as representation of the Common Man Against The Backdrop Of History. The exceptions were where their presence became a part of the historical narrative. Okay, Pullo as Caesarian's real father was not too bad, all things considered, but scenes like the encounter with the fleeing, defeated Pompey, and I wonder what little sandbar they was cast up on, because they could only have been there a few days while months passed in the outside world (maybe it was just outside the "barrier" and Jacob was watching them from the base of the Tawaret statue???), the bit where a rival Collegium stealing the gold leading to the split in the Second Triumvirate and Antony's departure from Rome, those just fell flat to me.

Another thing, poor Octavia. Did the writers not think they would get a second season to show her arranged marriage to Antony (really happened, she divorced her husband to do so) so they fabricated a failed plan for an arranged marriage to Pompey in the first season, murdering her husband in the process? Of course this all made the fictionalized version of Atia come off as the cunning opportunist. The best thing Atia ever does for Octavia is to add the father of that shallow hedonist Jocasta to the list of names to be eliminated by Octavian and Antony.

In toto, i give the series positive marks. If you want to know what really went down then read a history book, but this at least does well for showing what life was like, how things were back then.
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stuntdog

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PostSubject: Re: Rome - TBC's First Watch.   Tue May 08, 2018 2:42 pm

@vonnegut wrote:
I love the hell out of this show.

Think I marathoned this whole series in week or two.
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His Royal Dorkness

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PostSubject: Re: Rome - TBC's First Watch.   Wed May 09, 2018 3:12 am

I'm glad you enjoyed it, TBC. I agree that its historical accuracy wasn't really close to perfect, but i thought they did better than i'd expected in that regard. Octavia definitely has a tough row to plow in the story, but i felt like the writers were adding a little nod to traditional Greek fictions with the arc about her and Pompey, with Octavia paying for her mother's sins.

I definitely noticed the time difference with the fleeing Pompey, and was a little miffed by it, but i kinda liked how they worked the arc with the stolen gold. I assumed it wasn't historical, but i found it clever and fun.

I really loved the visual aspects of the show more than anything else, to me that was where it felt historically accurate. The sets, costumes, and props in particular i thought were amazingly well done.
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TBC

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PostSubject: Re: Rome - TBC's First Watch.   Thu May 10, 2018 5:07 am

The stolen gold arc seemed like they were trying to be too clever by half.

Another thing that bothered me was that the characters didn't age despite the passage of years, aside from an older actor playing Octavian. The show begins in 52 BCE, Caesar was killed in 44 BCE, Antony died in 31 BCE.
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