• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Aug 28, 2005
Season #: 1, 2
Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jan 28, 2014
    100
    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: Hal Boedeker
    Jan 28, 2014
    100
    HBO's splendid Rome recounts Julius Caesar's battle for power with a gritty ferocity that's closer to The Godfather and The Sopranos than to costume epics of old. Following Don Corleone's example, this 12-episode series makes you an offer you can't refuse: It's the best new drama of the fall.
  3. The Detroit News
    Reviewed by: Mekeisha Madden Toby
    Jan 28, 2014
    91
    [A] captivating and undeniable classic. [26 Aug 2005, p.2E]
  4. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jan 28, 2014
    90
    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]
  5. Miami Herald
    Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Jan 28, 2014
    90
    A wild, careening chariot ride of a new series that debuts tonight. It's like The Sopranos in togas, except without even the faintest twinge of conscience. [28 Aug 2005, p.8]
  6. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Jan 28, 2014
    88
    The only chink in the series' armour is the miscasting of Polly Walker as the evil Atia. She overacts so much, that it'll make you ache for Sian Phillips' long-ago portrayal as Livia in "I Claudius." While Rome's not as great as that old series, it's still deserves a helluva Hail Caesar!
  7. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jan 28, 2014
    88
    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.
  8. Detroit Free Press
    Reviewed by: Mike Duffy
    Jan 28, 2014
    80
    Rome delivers high-quality television bursting with grimy, down-to-earth life. [26 Aug 2005]
  9. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Jan 28, 2014
    80
    I haven't seen ancient ordinary life so well represented since "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," and I am not being funny.
  10. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Jan 28, 2014
    80
    No, it's not "groundbreaking," as HBO calls its programming. And I doubt it will give the ratings-slipping channel its much-needed hit. But it will probably find a small, loyal, "Deadwood"-size audience that enjoys a good serial melodrama charged up by a villainess named Atia who turns mothering into something akin to pimping. [26 Aug 2005, p.D1]
  11. The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    Reviewed by: Catherine Dawson March
    Jan 28, 2014
    80
    It demands your attention to keep the many plot threads from tangling, and at times requires a strong stomach, but you never know what to expect next, and that beats the ridiculous reality series seen on every other channel. Give me gore over gonzo any day. [27 Aug 2005, p.8]
  12. San Diego Union-Tribune
    Reviewed by: Robert P. Laurence
    Jan 28, 2014
    75
    The finished product is passably entertaining, intermittently involving, tolerably well acted by an all-English cast, and offers enough kinky sex and graphic violence to satisfy all but the most depraved tastes. [22 Aug 2005, p.D-1]
  13. Boston Herald
    Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jan 28, 2014
    75
    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]
  14. San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
    Reviewed by: Chuck Barney
    Jan 28, 2014
    75
    Whether Rome attains that stature is entirely up to the Nielsen gods, but one thing is certain: The series is a lusty, violent, rollicking saga that is sure to seize plenty of initial attention, if not for its ravishing production values, then for its rampant depiction of ancient-style decadence and debauchery. [27 Aug 2005, p.F4]
  15. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Jun 28, 2013
    75
    It's a much more impressive spectacle than ABC's mindlessly entertaining Empire.
  16. Reviewed by: Gillian Flynn
    Jun 18, 2013
    75
    Rome is most entertaining when it laces its wild, ancient antics with winks of the pedestrian.
  17. Denver Post
    Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Jan 28, 2014
    70
    While the first hour is daunting, the series offers a terrific villainess who also has a knack for humor. [28 Aug 2005, p.F-03]
  18. Dallas Morning News
    Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Jan 28, 2014
    67
    Amply seasoned with treachery, lechery, debauchery, depravity, nudity and infidelity, HBO's Rome also tends to fall victim to filmmaking's cardinal sin - tedium. [28 Aug 2005, p.3]
  19. Reviewed by: David Bianculli
    Jan 28, 2014
    63
    After watching six episodes, I'm still not sold on the overall worth of this ambitious period drama.
  20. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Sid Smith
    Jan 28, 2014
    60
    Rome is slow, ponderous, terribly uneven and dense, more "The Wire" than "The Sopranos" draped in togas. But those who stick it out may well be seduced by the series' cumulative effort to create a complete, if repulsive, world. This is a bold cable offering, always a little more than sword-and-sandal kitsch and rarely, if ever, kind. [26 Aug 2005, p.C1]
  21. Washington Post
    Reviewed by: Tom Shales
    Jan 28, 2014
    60
    There are, in fact, simply too many characters chasing each other up and down the seven hills, and viewers who try to keep track are in for maddening frustration. If only people would address one another by name once in a blue moon, that would help a little. [28 Aug 2005, p.N01]
  22. Cleveland Plain Dealer
    Reviewed by: Mark Dawidziak
    Jan 28, 2014
    40
    Many aspects of the 12-part Rome might leave you cold. While certainly impressive in scope and scale, HBO’s awkward stab at a series is being made with a programming weapon that’s often blunt, dull and unwieldy... Where Rome gets tripped up is in the uneven performances and lackluster writing. This is what truly causes the fall of this particular Roman empire. [28 Aug 2005, p.J1]
  23. Philadelphia Inquirer
    Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Jan 28, 2014
    40
    All this adds up to $100 million worth of eye-popping bravura on the screen, but not a lot of cash to examine what goes on beneath the surface of the characters. One of the most extravagant soap operas in TV history doesn't even supply the fun of The Bold and the Beautiful. Though stuffed with stupid scenes, it lacks the stupid surprises that can make more traditional soaps so addictive. [28 Aug 2005, p.H01]
  24. Chicago Sun-Times
    Reviewed by: Doug Elfman
    Jan 28, 2014
    25
    Rome is so jam-packed with Caesar and pals, it feels like a show that high school teachers would ask students to watch, if it weren't for all the whore sex, rape and consensual carnality. It very well might take an apt pupil to follow this cinematic jigsaw puzzle. [24 Aug 2005, p.55]
  25. Newsday
    Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Jan 28, 2014
    20
    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]
User Score
9.3

Universal acclaim- based on 187 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 1 out of 187
  1. Nov 14, 2011
    10
    Rome was completely thrilling to watch, their representation of the historic events was compelling and the story surrounding their charactersRome 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. Full Review »
  2. Nov 17, 2010
    10
    My favorite drama of all time... Historically acurate, brilliant acting, set and costume design were both top notch and more drama and greatMy 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! Full Review »
  3. Jan 12, 2015
    10
    Don't know what the critics were thinking on this one, although the original score for Breaking Bad was 71, they don't know what they areDon't know what the critics were thinking on this one, although the original score for Breaking Bad was 71, they don't know what they are doing. Personally this is one of the best series I have ever seen, the characters and scenes are incredibly well made and organised Enjoy! Full Review »