Set during the turmoil of the collapse of the Roman Republic, Empire is a pale imitation of HBO`s Rome,which covers the same time frame.Caesar has been assassinated, leaving a power vacuum which only the strongest will fill. Step forward Caesar`s 18 year old nephew Octavian. A physically frail youngster with a devious will of iron in real life, but in this mini series, a strapping 6ft+ street smart Adonis who can take care of himself in a scrap. His uncle`s murderers soon realise that Octavian is a serious threat to their futures & so set out to liquidate him as quickly as possible. Aided by the arena`s greatest gladiator, Tyrannus, our hero goes on the run to save himself, live to fight another day & avenge himself on his uncle`s killers.To say that what follows is almost total fantasy is an understatement. History is not so much kicked into touch, as into the next continent & then some. The storyline reads more like "Die Hard in Ancient Rome" as the dynamic duo ping from one death defying predicament to another, leaving a pile of broken bones & dead bodies in their wake. The simplistic plot is a terrible letdown, considering the fine actors on show. Colm Feore as Caesar looks & sounds just about the ideal for the role- a strong, charismatic display despite his small part. Visually, the series looks beautiful-having been shot on location in Italy.But, once again, suffers in comparison to the jaw dropping production values of HBO`s Rome. There is never enough time for the actors to get under the skin of their parts-you`re either a good guy or bad & so they act accordingly. If you like your history to be set in an alternative reality like a computer game version of the past, then Empire is for you. It`s a Boys Own adventure tale that`s pleasing on the eye, plays fast & very loose with the truth, & won`t tax the brain. Otherwise, I would recommend Rome or I Claudius-both are vastly superior in every department.