I can't remember the last time I followed a television series but it may have been Mary Tyler Moore. So imagine my surprise how I was captured by the HBO series Rome from the first episode I saw. I had neard some favorable mentions on radio and some television ads while toggeling between Greta and Nancy for my nightly Aruba update, but I discounted them, thinking that it would be a PBS documentary type series. It wasn't until about halfway through the twelve episodes that I started to watch and there was no turning back. My 21 year old son saw only the last ten minutes but he has faithfully made time for the last episodes as well.
Well, the last episode ran last Sunday and now we have a profound sense of loss. There will be a second season but apparently not until 2007.
What made the series so memorable? Especially when you know how it turns out?
The characters are complex and compelling and the interweaving of fictional charazcters and history adds richness and insight into the lives of Romans, noble and plebeian.
Mark Goldblatt, a fan of the series, in the American Spectator points out how the series shows the morality of Rome to be quite different from ours in many ways.
This is the triumph of Rome. Along with the physical trappings of Caesar's world, the creators and writers of the series have sought to reconstruct the cognitive framework of Roman citizens in the first century BCE. Dignity, honor and benevolence are measured on their scale, not ours. The proposition that all men are created equal is not self-evident to them, 18 centuries before the Enlightenment
I just hope that HBO will rebroadcast the seies so I can see the first six episodes.