In my excitement about Rome I didn't mention why I loved this show.
1. The buddy chemistry between Vorenus and Pullo, the two soldiers who show us the "regular" people POV. The have little in common, and don't even really like each other, but there's something there. I would watch it if it was simply The Vorenus and Pullo Show. Actually, considering the lost Egyptian year, that could be a spin off one season series: The Adventures of Vorenus and Pullo in Egypt.
2. But it can't be the V&P show alone, because Ciaran Hinds is hot. (Don't believe me? Then you obviously have never watched Ivanhoe or Persuasion.) His Caesar is nuanced, strong, plotting. You sympathize and root for him because hello, he's Caesar, but at the same time, you see his thirst for power, for honor, for glory. And you're a little scared.
3. Historical fiction usually takes place in the past but has people with modern day sensibilities. Not here; it's not as if they have no morals. It's that the morals are not ours, and this difference is portrayed realistically, sympathetically, and without judgment.
4. "It's been a year..." Series usually play by the time rules. "Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday." If we're having Thanksgiving, the people in TV are also. China Beach ditched the convention and myth of tracking the show to when the people are viewing. But not many TV shows take advantage of the fact that the writers control the timeline and reality of the show. Lost is doing it right now, with only about 40 days passing in over one season. But that is rare. So to watch this show and have one character note in passing that a year has gone by since the prior scene is awesome. (Tho quibble: so far characters don't look like much time has gone by.)
5. The official description of Atia says she is "totally amoral." I disagree. I wouldn't want her to be my mother; wouldn't wish her on anyone I know. But in the time in which she lived, in a time of violence, of little power for women -- she is doing what she can to survive and insure the survival of her children. Especially her son, because she is realistic to know that her family's survival depends on him. That someone who could easily be amoral is portrayed with dimension is fantastic.
6. Mark Antony is cute, yes; but so far, I haven't seen why he's all that. He's brave and wants to fight and can fight, but so far, he hasn't shown the political chops that Caesar has.
7. The person playing Octavian is brilliant. It's the mix of awkward teen and brilliance. This is the character where we clearly see the passage of time, as he matures.
8. I know what's going to happen to all these people, but I still watch wondering what will happen next.
NaNoWriMo wordcount: 863.