Watching: Rome

Sucker as I am for an HBO series (think Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Curb Your Enthusiasm), I'm not really sure why it took me so long to get around to watching their show about the days of Julius Caesar, Rome.

By the time I got to the final disc in Season 1, I was a little gutted to realise that it wasn't two more episodes but a "special features" dvd. It wasn't that I was unhappy with where the story had left off (and there is a season 2 pack coming out soon) - just that I didn't want it to end.

Rome takes a number of perspectives in telling the tale of city around the period from 52BC to 44BC - that of the major players - Pompey, Caesar, Brutus, Marc Anthony - but where it comes to life is in the everyday characters - a couple of soldiers (who form the heart of the show), their wives/girlfriends/slaves and some of the patrician/plebians of the city.

As we've come to expect from the quality adult content that HBO is known for, there's the requisite sex, drugs, violence, swearing and rock'n'roll uh lute playing. Given that they pretty well just have swords to work with, the violence has its graphic moments but looks oh so cool.

But the show is more than these thrills and spills - it has fine writing and direction, some stellar performances and a fantastic look and sound. Mercifully it seems to be a largely British production as well (though filmed in Italy as far as I can tell) meaning that the accents just seemed slightly less incongruous than the New Jersey drawls we might have had.

Well worth checking out.