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  • Series Premiere Date: Aug 28, 2005
  • Season #: 1 , 2
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 81 Ratings

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  • Starring: Lorcan Cranitch, Rick Warden (II), Esther Hall
  • Summary: "Rome" is the saga of two ordinary Roman soldiers and their families. An intimate drama of love and betrayal, masters and slaves, and husbands and wives, it chronicles epic times that saw the fall of a republic and the creation of an empire. The series begins in 52 BC, as Gaius Julius Caesar has completed his masterful conquest of Gaul after eight years of war, and is preparing to return to Rome. He heads home with thousands of loyal battle-hardened men, huge amounts of loot in gold and slaves, and a populist agenda for radical social change. Terrified, the aristocracy threatens to prosecute Caesar for war crimes as soon as he sets foot in Rome. Caesar's old friend and mentor, Pompey Magnus, attempts to foment mutiny in order to maintain the balance of power. Two of Caesar's soldiers, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, thwart Pompey's plan and in the process, win the eternal gratitude of Caesar and the Julian clan, affording the two plebian officers an intimate view of the ruling class. The fates of Pullo and Vorenus become entwined with those of Caesar, Mark Antony, Cleopatra and the boy Octavian, a strange and awkward child who, by political guile and bloody force, will become the first emperor of Rome.(Source: HBO Press Release) Expand
  • Genre(s): Drama
  • Creator: Bruno Heller, John Milius, William J. MacDonald
  • Show Type: Ended
  • Season 1 premiere date: Aug 28, 2005
  • Episode Length: 60
  • Air Time: 09:00 PM
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jan 28, 2014
    As good as Rome is -- and it's an epic, multilayered thing of beauty -- it's still not on the level of "The Sopranos" or "The Wire" or "Deadwood." That's almost an unfair comparison, but it's also true. On the other hand, "Rome" unfolds like a marvelously shot big-screen movie, each scene (filmed on location in Italy) dripping with money well spent and a meticulous grandeur that rewards you for paying extra for HBO.
  2. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jan 28, 2014
    Rome wasn't built in a day, the saying goes, and that applies to this show, too. It's a slow build that requires some effort on the part of viewers, but after the first three episodes, I was hooked. [28 Aug 2005, p.TV-3]
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jan 28, 2014
    As extravagant, enticing and chaotic as Rome itself, HBO's latest series boasts all the opulent pleasures that lavish expenditures of time and money can buy. Every detail in its re-creation of ancient Rome may not be correct, but the spirit and the overall picture ring true -- and the entertainment value resounds.
  4. Reviewed by: Gillian Flynn
    Jun 18, 2013
    Rome is most entertaining when it laces its wild, ancient antics with winks of the pedestrian.
  5. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jan 28, 2014
    Less perverse than ``I, Claudius,'' more entertaining than ABC's toga twister ``Empire,'' Rome gets off to an uneven start. [25 Aug 2005, p.47]
  6. Reviewed by: David Bianculli
    Jan 28, 2014
    After watching six episodes, I'm still not sold on the overall worth of this ambitious period drama.
  7. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Jan 28, 2014
    Calling Rome a crushing disappointment would be accurate but too forgiving of its sordidly cockamamy fixations. Brutality and nudity rise in direct proportion to unpersuasive storytelling. Finding someone, anyone, to care about amid all this shock-value Sturm und Drang swiftly becomes an enervating chore. [26 Aug 2005, p.B33]

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Nov 14, 2011
    Rome was completely thrilling to watch, their representation of the historic events was compelling and the story surrounding their characters Vorenus and Pullo were pretty capturing. Some of the sexual scenes felt like they were inserted for no real purpose but they were excusable. The finale was amazingly well done and it was really easy to get captured by the show and watch numerous episodes on end. Expand
  2. Nov 17, 2010
    My favorite drama of all time... Historically acurate, brilliant acting, set and costume design were both top notch and more drama and great characters than you can ask for! Expand
  3. Aug 29, 2012
    My favorite TV show of all time. I was crushed when HBO decided to discontinue the show. I did enjoy the first season more than the second, but the second was still amazing as well. It's the details that make this show. Expand
  4. Jan 11, 2014
    There's extreme, relentless, at times mind numbing violence, graphic sexual scenes which includes orgies, lesbian scenes, homo scenes, pedophile scenes, all the works. There is barely a single sympathetic character in sight; there is not the slightest hint of anything humoristic and as always actual historical fact is twisted and turned into something that may be suitable for entertainment purposes but rather (over)stretches credulity at times – one wonders why, because it's not as if these people actually were a dull bunch leading uneventful lives. Yet "Rome" is strangely haunting and compelling. Often it does a good job of transporting the viewer to a world unencumbered by Christian sensitivities, particularly in its love of blood sports, its dealings with slaves, and its relaxed attitude to sex and public nudity. Most importantly, "Rome" conveys the constant sense of tension, intrigue and threat dominating the lives of those in power. Finally, a fairly good job was done of giving a realistic impression of the city itself; the amount of money spent on production was to put it lightly, "excessive", add in the fact the series was shot in Italy. It is, however, weird and rather silly that the characters speak English but throw in occasional Latin. Despite this, all British actors are simply superb. By far the most engaging plot is Polly Walker and Lindsey Duncan’s feud, subtly and vigorous with believable passion. This story line, along with many others, are braided together seamlessly. Season one of Rome is truly addictive entertainment which allows your brain to be engaged and hooked. Expand
  5. Dec 16, 2012
    I was leaning very close to giving this an 8, but dammit, this show is just too amazing to downgrade. The sets, costumes, and all other period pieces are just utterly fantastical. Plot is very interesting, acting is great, writing is very well done, and for being a show about history, there were several solid plot twists. My only issue with this season is that to a point, it does get slow, and I cant put my finger on it, but there is some missing element somewhere. Overall, amazing show, completely worth watching. Expand
  6. Jul 19, 2011
    You may try watching it while you're taking your Humanities course in your university. What is described as a boring tale on books is far more thrilling, sexual and entertaining on the TV series. You explore the culture, the political agendas, the economical standing, the battles, the enigmas and many other details in approximately one hour. Outstanding. Expand
  7. Sep 10, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The series got off to such a great start, Caesar has a great actor and is a pleasure to watch and Octavian was interesting. All of the political intrigue was done quite well. The soldiers were carried along quite well, no problems. Then Caesar died and the whole series came crashing down
    The two soldiers became a soap opera story and the series began to devote more and more time to their tiny tales of tiny people. The actually interesting part of the story, the intrigue, began to falter when Augustus Caesar was introduced. The actor just couldn't carry the man and he was no where near a replacement for Julius. Then they show the Egyptians as freeky deeky. I know they are a 3000 year old civilization by this stage but come on. Cleopatra is neither likable nor manipulative, at least in how the show portrays it. They simply say she is manipulative and cut to her getting what she wants, but as they say; the thrill is in the chase, never in the capture.
    The faltering second season just soured the whole thing for me. It became so slow and monotonous, it was just unbearable, I had to skip most of the soldiers sections for being so irrelevant. I'm watching Rome here, I want to see the Senate and the great family's. I don't need the producers creating some plebeians to try and relate to me. I can relate to other human beings just fine thanks, I don't care what their social status is.

See all 14 User Reviews