Who knew the fall of the Republic could be so boring? The first season of Rome was intriguing; I recommended it to quite a few people. The show took liberties with history, but it was entertaining, well done, and remained fairly true to the nature of the main characters. While Season Two is also beautifully produced and well acted, overall it was a big snoozefest. I think that the elements that attracted viewers to Rome in the first place are the same elements that doomed Season Two.
I have, officially, seen enough butts for a very long time. I get it, I get it, the whole big deal about HBO and Showtime, and other cable networks, is that they can show more skin, which somehow translates into being more “authentic.” Well, I am going to go on record: more isn’t better. When a show begins at a certain level (the necessary amount of nudity to qualify as an HBO show) then to maintain viewer interest they have to keep taking off more clothing, and aiming the camera lower. If you can’t tell, this is just nudity for the sake of nudity. Plot then becomes filler; simply a way to get from point T to point A. In Season One people had sex, and though not what I was interested in, it was a fairly ignorable element of the show. In Season Two it is like they had a butt-shot per minuet quota they needed to fill.
There is a saying. Behind every good man is a better woman. Apparently, behind every famous Roman there is a completely psychotic, bat-shit crazy, uber-bitch. I liked in Season One that the show gave a balanced treatment of male and female characters. Part of the point was that the Roman women were just as ambitious, and cut-throat as the Roman men. In Season Two all the (same) women are totally looney-toons, and I’m not sure what the point is. The men are awful, but not crazy, so any presentation of gender-equality went out the window. But it wasn’t like the show was trying to make the point that femininity can be sacrificed to the point where it is lost. The men didn’t seem to notice the marked difference.
Speaking of the men, Season Two focused less attention on Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Pullo (Ray Stevenson). The show was based on showing history through their “ordinary” eyes, so the focus shift is annoying, but I liked the storylines Vorenus and Pullo had, so I don’t want to be too quibbly. The rest of the storylines were confusing. Was I supposed to be repulsed by Octavian (Simon Woods)? He wasn’t any better or worse than everybody else, so I laughed every time one of the other characters spit some insult at him. I admit that buddy-boy has some cold eyes, but Octavian just played the game better than the rest of them. What difference between the Republic and the Empire did this show posit?
I want to say one nice thing. Octavia (Kerry Condon) and Agrippa (Allen Leech) are a (relatively) sweet couple. I hope the look between them at the very end is an indication that they would be happy someday.
The TV Girl
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- I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.