68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
"Watch closely... This is how history is made!",
This review is from: Rome - The Complete Second Season  [DVD] (DVD)
I caught up with the first series of "Rome" via DVD, enjoyed it and impatiently awaited the next chapter. Thankfully, its second outing did not disappoint! In fact, I found this series much more satisfying that its predecessor. The acting is once again first rate, as are the sets, costumes and the writing. And whilst Rome most definitely has its share of horrific moments (a man getting his tongue bitten out being just one), there is always great humour to bring light to the darkness.
The only thing this series suffers from is almost too much action. Originally the show was meant to run for multiple seasons, but a dwindling budget put paid to that and thus years' worth of stories had to be squeezed into just 10 episodes. As a result, the programme moves at breakneck speed, often spanning years per episode; skip just one installment and you could be left very confused indeed. The love affair between Mark Antony and Cleopatra for example, would have benefited from a lot more screentime than the handful of episodes that were devoted to it.
The beginning of the season also suffers a mild post-Caesar (Ciaran Hinds) hangover in parts. He was the man (it seems strange to label Caesar a 'character') who so much of the action revolved last series and so the show feels a little fragmented this time around. In his place, the programme-makers have divided our attention, focusing on the power struggle between Mark Antony (a show-stealing James Purefoy) and Octavian Caesar (first played by Max Pirkis and later Simon Woods). Unlike last series' tussle between Caesar and Pompey, where I believe the audience was naturally bound to take the former's side, the battle between Antony and Octavian is not so clear cut. We are both repelled by each of them and their actions but can also feel pity for them, at different points. For the record, I was always in Antony's camp but that might have something to do with Purefoy's charismatic performance.
I feel like I have written an essay instead of a review, my apologies! And I haven't even mentioned Pullo (Ray Stevenson) or Vorenus (Kevin McKidd), Rome's pleb princes. They're both back too and as fantastically portrayed as ever. My advice is to do yourself a favour and buy these DVDs. TV this compelling is hard to find.