Rome was a very ambitious series done by HBO, and beautifully done at that. Although the enormous expense of re-creating all that was lavish and filthy about life in ancient Rome was cause for it to end after only two seasons, it is still well-worth getting into.
Season One focuses on the rise and fall of Julius Caesar (Ciaran Hinds), beginning with his conflict with Pompey Magnus (Kenneth Cranham). The story follows not only Caesar and his command of the military, but also his family headed by his niece Attia (Polly Walker) and her conflict with Brutus' mother Servilia (Lindsay Duncan). In Rome, all classes are represented as we also follow the drama surrounding two of Caesar's soldiers: Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson).
Season Two picks up right after the assassination of Julius Caesar and the struggle for power between Marc Anthony (James Purefoy) and Gaius Octavian Caesar (Simon Woods) that is further spurred on by the famous Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra (Lyndsey Marshal). Season Two also introduces the origins of the "mafia" in the Roman merchant classes.
While not 100% historically accurate, Rome does try to include those kicky little details about the ancient society that viewers may find fascinating. We see brain surgery, slave trading, rituals, cuisine preparation, and yes, even an orgy. The story is told with a very well-balanced mix of sex, violence, and politics that put even modern-day scandals to shame.
I would have loved to have seen this series go on, as the seeds for some of Rome's more notorious rulers had been planted right before the production ended. But it does end well.
Overall, I think this is a must-see for people who enjoy historical dramas. It's not as action-packed as the Starz series Spartacus, but rather lets us know that the noble classes in Rome were no less bloodthirsty and devious.
Film information: Rome