Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Still working on the post for the second force of the universe, Electromagnetism. Lots of great stuff about EM on the way but been a little busy lately. One of the things that's kept me from writing, besides work, kids and other writing is watching TV. The best channel around is HBO. They stink at running movies because I never watch movies on the HBO just like I don't watch Music Videos on MTV anymore. But where HBO shines is its original programming. It just kicks buttotie on that. There isn't a station around that matches HBO for its writing, production, acting and originality in programming. I mean it. Nothing. I'm hooked on The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Deadwood and my newest addition, Rome.

By Jupiter this show rocks! It's just too good to describe in one post but it's probably better than anything I've seen on TV in many years. The characters were all fully fleshed out, the story was full of action and intrigue, there was a lot of great sex and of course violence. The writers did not pull any punches here. People behave badly in this show, they abuse each other, betray each other for their own gains and act, well, human. Production-wise, this show is also top-notch. The scenery and costuming was fantastic, colorful and seemed authentic. To my eyes, which are not well trained in Roman antiquity, they looked like the real thing.

Also, there was the acting. The acting. I can't believe how great everyone of these guys was. Except for Brutus, who came off as a little unbelievably in his motivation. He lacked depth and he was too easily manipulated into killing Caesar by his mother after the man brought him back into his embrace. I also thought he seemed a little whinny when Caesar proposed he go into exile for a while because there were rumors that Brutus was going to kill him. If I were emperor and there were drawings all over the city of my close friend, who was once a betrayer, stabbing me in the back, I'd get a little nervous too. Caesar was simply asking Brutus for some penance. Brutus was very unsympathetic but I guess that's the way he was supposed to be.

Caesar a strong character who moved the story along by pushing it all out in front of him. He knew exactly what he was doing the entire time, except that he trusted people too easily. While everyone conspired around him, he crowned himself emperor and remade Rome into his own vision. His flaw was not hubris as so many in those Roman stories find is their downfall but trust. He never thought that the Senators had the balls to turn against him. He also did not predict the vengeance of those same Senators as he tried to make his Rome at least seem more Democratic by inviting the Gauls and the low men into the chamber of the Senate. Those Senators who plotted his death were afraid of their own power becoming diluted by Ceasar's actions. They cast Caesar as a self-proclaimed king while they worked to preserve their own high-born stranglehold on Rome.

Pullo and Lucious were such a great display of common bond and brotherhood throughout. Though they came to bump heads many times they each had their place within their own low caste. Pullo the servant to Lucious. The problems of soldiers assimilating after years at war reflects the inherent problems of Roman society. Everyone has their place in Roman culture and there is little room. Slaves, Soldiers, Citizens and even Senators have a place and they cannot cross lines. That is shown in Pullo and Lucious. Caesar tries to expand the system and move his pieces around but that liberal idealism leads to his untimely end.

In an epic fashion that spanned years and many countries the story threads and braids all the characters in such a flawless plot that I found myself looking for plot holes that did not exist or were so small as to be virtually meaningless. And even though they seemed to have brought the season to a close there is too much left open to let it go. I look forward to Season 2 with great enthusiasm.

If you have HBO on Demand and haven't watched the show yet go and rewatch the show in its entirety. It's worth it.



The Phoenix said...

I don't have HBO, but I've caught a little of Rome while travelling. It's very very good. It really captures the time period and all its trechery very well.

Interestingly...some historians believe Caesar might have been Brutus' father, but there hasn't been enough evidence of that.

When I was a high school English teacher, Julius Caeser was one of the plays we studied. I had the class break into groups and re-enact their version of Caesar's assassination. All it says in Shakespeare's direction is that "they stab him" after Casca makes the first stab.

I participated, and I had my group do it like this: Casa stabs, the Senators all stab Caesar at once while Brutus watches from afar. Caesar makes his way to Brutus, pleading. Brutus draws his sword, points it at Caesar's heart, but he's unable to do anything.
Caesar looks him straight in the eyes, "Eu tu Brute?"
Carsar takes hold of Brutus' sword and throws himself on it.

Since suicide is noble, I thought it was perfect.

ObilonKenobi said...

Ohh that's good. In Rome, Brutus does hesitate but at the encouragement of his fellow plotters he stabs Caeser to death.

KC said...

I thought Rome was very well acted and written. Loved it! I didn't like the actor who portrayed Brutus, but I liked everyone else.

When we (St. Louis Shakespeare)did Julius Caesar last year, we had a fantastic Brutus. He played the part so convincingly that I almost wanted to root for him to win. He brought a true humanity to the role that I thought was missing from the portrayal of Brutus in Rome.

As much as I liked Rome, I absolutely love Deadwood. I think it's the best TV show I have ever seen. I can't wait for it to come back with Season 3!

:P fuzzbox said...

I thought Rome totally rocked. It was one of HBO's best original programs. I think that HBO is easily the best network. They can more easily portray subjects in it's entire gritty reality. But my faves are the Real Sex series can't get that kinda shit on the broadcast networks.

ObilonKenobi said...

I'm more partial to the Cathouse series on HBO Late Night.

:P fuzzbox said...

Cathouse was under the Real Sex banner and was one of the series best as was Honululu Hookers where the boys are prettier than the girls. That one was a hoot.