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Who's been watching the new Sunday nite HBO series, "Rome?" It's not too late to tune in. Even if you slept through history class in high school or college, familiar names like Julius Caesar, Marc Antony, and Octavian help the viewer catch on quickly. While the opening credits are a bit low class, the rest of the production is excellent. No dry documentary, this series pulls you in big time. Give it a try.

 

An additional plus was last Sunday's episode, which can be seen in re-runs all this week, and even as late at one hour before next Sunday's show. Here's what's good about it.

 

Atia, Julius Caesar's niece, wants to get in good with Servilla, JC's former mistress. So she sends her a gift. It's not clear exactly what the gift is, because one's attention is drawn to the gift bearer, a all but totally naked male slave whose only rainment is a few decorative wrappings around his prodigous endowment. And what's good doesn't stop there. The HBO cameras give a close up of the guy's equipment not just once, but several times. Whoever he is in real life, bravo to him for taking a part like that, and anytime he needs a bed for the nite, mine is available.

 

So tune in for the show, but also give it a shot for the occasional gem such as this one.

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I've been waiting for this to pop up.

 

I've been watching. I keep returning...but still haven't decied if I love the program. i guess the fact that I keep coming back reveals something about my inclinations.

 

I'm no history buff, but does Octavian ever have a male/male affair?

 

I'll give it a couple more episodes. I can certainly see how some would love it.

 

It's worth the try, folks.

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RE: HBO's "Rome"

 

Rome is one of my favorite cities and Ancient Rome is one of my favorite subjects. So, yes, HBO has my attention on Sunday nights.

 

One can almost expect nudity from HBO. They seem to know what their audiences want to see. I, too, applaud any actor willing to bare all on film. I will never forget Christopher Meloni spreading his beautiful ass cheeks on "OZ" to expose a very hot and tasty-looking hole. I distinctly remember falling off the couch when that moment occurred.

 

James Purefoy, who plays Mark Antony, is also doing full frontal in "Rome." One can only hope Kevin McKidd, whose naked ass got some screen time last week, will be next. :9

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I like, but don't love, this show, and have watched every episode, even though that period of history was never my favorite.

 

Sure is one really cute twink boy playing Octavian, and hopefully there will be a nude scene with him sometime, but I doubt it. So far the only hot nude scene was of Marc Antony, not that I'm complaining. There is the subtle gay theme, very subtle, between the two soldiers/centaurians (is that the right term)?

 

I always watch all HBO and Showtime original series, as most, imo, are much better fare than what is available anywhere else on cable and/or network TV, but on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give this one a 5, as it is just average, and nothing special like the Sopranos.

 

To me the biggest drawback of this show, are the B level British actors/actresses playing the main roles and their subsequent unfamiliarity to American audiences. IMO, not a good strategy for an HBO show geared towards the American audience.

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I don't love the show, either. Not like I did "Oz" but then again, Meloni was in that, showering and in full display, taking a piss and then, getting that blowjob from Brian Bloom...sexy, sexy, sexy...And now, Adabisi is going to be on "Lost" ....yum.

 

But, I have to say, I do keep watching "Rome"...the history is interesting to me because I must have been focusing on the Greeks, and there is the nudity. Marc Antony going full frontal and impressively. And a big muscle ass, leaving Atia's bed...and you guys are right...we got to see abit of Verenus' butt last nite as well....maybe Polo (sp?) will be next?

 

And why do you think Octavian asked her to turn over? Was he thinking about that slaveboy "fresh from the boat"?

 

Nice to see that he, at least, had a choice....

 

Okie

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I have been watching the show and I don't watch a great deal of Television. I enjoy history and that period in history, so HBO's take has been interesting. I actually enjoy the show and last Sunday's episode was the first one I had missed. But, with all the repeats this week I expect I'll get to see it.

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I love ROME! I think it is far and away the best physical representation of the period in film or tv -- and especially the city of Rome -- ever. And a lot of attention has been put into costume and custom.

 

I especially like the Octavian. This must be pretty much the way he was -- preternaturally smart, arrogant, but also observant of the human dynamics and able to keep his goal in front of him. That's what made him one of the greatest rulers in the history of the world.

 

And the nudity -- MORE. MORE.

 

Keep it coming.

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I caught a few parts of Rome before really getting hooked. Now I'm really into it and went back and watched all the available episodes on HBO on Demand. It is so well written -- something unheard of on regular network TV. It takes the Brits to do something like this and I think the script, the actors and the direction is wonderful.

I have a huge crush on Mark Antony, and Pullo and Vorenus aren't bad either.

My only complaint is that they've pretty much avoided the homosexual sides of all the characters whether historic or fictional. Same sex love was very widespread at the time, and Julius Caesar was known to be bisexual. So far they've only made it appear that a servant's mistaken idea led to the rumor he had sex with the young Octavian. We'll never know the historical truth, but they could stop avoiding the real gay sex and I'd be happier. I wish Mark Antony were bisexual, but I don't think there's any basis for that. (Still that kiss he gave Vorenus on the cheek made me hope....)

I haven't seen Episode 6 yet, but it sounds appetizing.

This series is the best thing on TV right now.

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"but they could stop avoiding the real gay sex"

 

I don't think HBO intends "Rome" to be another version of "Queer as Folk." I don't see any avoidance, either. Yes, paganism did blur the lines of "accepted" sexual behavior but I see no need for HBO to resort to any heavy-handed male-to-male overtures which could easily be misinterpreted as "gay" promotion or pandering. After all, an outstanding majority of HBO subscribers are NOT gay. And there is an audience to please and maintain.

 

Frankly, the fact that they consistently tinker with crossing the "accepted" line is enough for me. But I've always been a "less is more" kind of guy. No size queen here.

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>"but they could stop avoiding the real gay sex"

 

>I don't think HBO intends "Rome" to be another version of

>"Queer as Folk." I don't see any avoidance, either. Yes,

>paganism did blur the lines of "accepted" sexual behavior but

>I see no need for HBO to resort to any heavy-handed

>male-to-male overtures which could easily be misinterpreted as

>"gay" promotion or pandering.

 

Good point. I've always found it hard to understand why people whose only real interest is ogling naked men bother to spend hours watching movies and television programs made for general audiences that show only a flash of male skin now and then. Gay porn is easy to get, so why don't they simply watch that?

 

For the record, there were contemporary rumors of intimate relations between the young Octavian and Caesar, but most historians believe they were unfounded, as the series suggests.

 

The plot of the series, which follows the events of (and leading up to) the Civil War of 49 - 46, is in some ways accurate and in other ways wildly inaccurate. That Caesar and Servilla were lovers for many years is certainly correct. That Caesar dallied in Rome instead of pursuing Pompey in order to be with her and only left because the scandal threatened his marriage is not correct. In fact, he left Rome after a short and frustrating visit in which he was unable to win any substantial show of support for his cause from either the Senate or the people.

 

Nor did he pursue Pompey to Greece immediately. Instead, he first went to Spain to deal with a formidable army there loyal to Pompey, who had been governor of that province. It was not until about a year later, after a difficult but successful campaign in Spain, that he faced Pompey in Greece. Apparently, the producers decided to pretend that never happened -- rather like depicting World War II and pretending Patton went straight to Sicily instead of fighting Rommel in North Africa first. Well, one can always hope the next episode is a bit more accurate. :)

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Sure the show modifies history for an OC audience.

 

Nevertheless, it's the best show on television this year and one of the most significant series ever attempted. Remarkable.

 

Since we all want gay dirt, even if it won't make it into the show, Caesar when he was young had an affair with King....King...Oh shit, Woodlawn, help me out, was it King Nicomedes?

 

By the way, the boy who plays Oct. on the show is 16, therefore most likely 15 when it was filmed. VAhawk et al, I doubt you're going to see him naked. Perverts :-)

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Caesar had sex with Nicomedes (the king of Bithynia, if you must know). And I don't see anything wrong with nudity. There was certainly a lot of casual nudity in the ancient world so it would even be accurate. I do agree a show should have more than just nudity but including homo sex when it is historically accurate is, well, historically accurate and not "pandering to a gay audience." I would take issue with Rockhard's posting in three ways. First, why is male-on-male action heavy-handed when male-on-female action (which is everywhere on TV) is not? Second, as "Queer as Folk" was a huge hit with straight women, including homo action would not necessarily be pandering to a homo audience. Third, isn't letting demographic considerations dictate what's shown exactly why most films and TV shows are so dreadful?

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>Sure the show modifies history for an OC audience.

 

"OC" refers to what, exactly?

 

I see no particular reason to cut out large portions of history when one is making a show about history. Pretending Caesar followed Pompey to Greece a few weeks after coming to Rome certainly gives a false impression of the Civil War, which was just as much a "world war" as WWI or WWII. There were major battles fought from one end of the Mediterranean world to the other over a four-year period, and pretending otherwise greatly diminishes the epic scope of the conflict and Caesar's achievement in winning it.

 

 

>Since we all want gay dirt,

 

Please speak for yourself. As I said, if I want to see naked men I will watch a video full of naked men. I am not going to watch an hourlong program in hopes of seeing a ten-second glimpse of nudity.

 

> Caesar when he was young had an affair with

>King....King...Oh shit, Woodlawn, help me out, was it King

>Nicomedes?

 

There were at the time persistent rumors that Caesar had an intimate relationship with Nicomedes while on an official visit to his kingdom (many years before the period covered by this series), but no one really knew except the two of them.

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Woodlawn is right: if you want naked men, it's more efficient to watch porn. If the point is that filmed versions of history or fiction show heterosexuality and cut out homosexuality then we are talking about bigotry and no reasonable person could fail to be offended. Woodlawn is also right to point out that the affair with Nicomedes was never proved, but then almost no sexual affairs in the ancient world can be proved and it would be wrong to hold homo sex to a higher standard. Also, Curius the Elder, who was no hothead, said that Caesar was "every man's wife and every man's husband."

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<"I do agree a show should have more than just nudity but including homo sex when it is historically accurate is, well, historically accurate and not "pandering to a gay audience."">

 

Sex in history is just one aspect of history and every author/writer makes a creative decision when choosing each area of focus. HBO goes several steps further to make a sale: it has a creative team of people who decide which demographic they wish to reach with each new show. After all, in pay-for television, it's a game of numbers; selling "Rome" for a mass audience requires a marketing and merchandising strategy. Historical accuracy, if you can find it, is icing on the cake.

 

My pandering remark was meant to illustrate that HBO clearly made the decision not to make "Rome" into Penthouse's version of "Caligula." As a gay male who works in the entertainment industry, I get that and I'm satisfied.

 

<"First, why is male-on-male action heavy-handed when male-on-female action (which is everywhere on TV) is not?">

 

Well, one, the subject was "Rome" and not "everywhere on TV." And, two, since, supposedly, only 10 percent of the population is gay, male-on-female action wins the majority prize. I reiterate, it's a game of numbers more than any political agenda.

 

Frankly, I'm sick of all the gratuitous male-on-female action in film and television. Rarely does it feel justified and/or sincere. This is when I elect to turn it all off.

 

I would prefer to see more cutting-edge gay-themed stories that include some well-lit naked-male actors making love. Time will tell. It's hard to find this in cinema, let alone on TV. However, we sure have come a long way since "Making Love." Much thanks goes to HBO.

 

<"Second, as "Queer as Folk" was a huge hit with straight women, including homo action would not necessarily be pandering to a homo audience.">

 

"Huge hit" is a relative term. I always say, "Show me the numbers!" and "Compared to what?" The folks behind "Queer as Folk" made the decision to ignore their straight-male subscribers. Some would say the creation of "Queer as Folk" was meant to attract new subscribers, namely gay men. It worked, to a degree. I don't subscribe to Showtime and I've never seen an episode of "Queer as Folk."

 

Creative decisions are made for a reason and, almost always, profit dollars are behind each decision. I understand how the business of entertainment works. There is no altruism.

 

<"Third, isn't letting demographic considerations dictate what's shown exactly why most films and TV shows are so dreadful?">

 

I would say yes. We live in a McDonald's culture. But sometimes you can get good entertainment that appeals to all demographics. HBO did it with "Sex in the City." Maybe they can do it again with "Rome." We'll see.

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> Woodlawn is also

>right to point out that the affair with Nicomedes was never

>proved, but then almost no sexual affairs in the ancient world

>can be proved

 

Affairs can be proved that were openly acknowledged by the participants, such as Caesar's affair with Cleopatra. I am wondering what the producers of this series have done about depicting that and the other events of Caesar's sojourn in Egypt during the Civil War. I note that in the promos for this series a scene is shown that clearly depicts the triumph Caesar celebrated in Rome at the end of the Civil War. That event occurred after his trip to Egypt, if I am not mistaken, so the trip to Egypt must be shown sometime during this first season of the series. I also note that HBO has already announced it will produce a second season of the series.

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When Oct. was in the brothel, and having to pick a chick, the Madame was describing this choices. She described the three girls and then she said, "This one is fresh off the boat" and it was a boy and there was also a couple in line after him, so Oct. quickly choose the girl....

 

Okie

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>"OC" refers to what, exactly?

 

"The OC" is a distressingly vapid and popular TV series that is having a grotesque influence on film and television casting and plot.

 

>I see no particular reason to cut out large portions of

>history when one is making a show about history. Pretending

>Caesar followed Pompey to Greece a few weeks after coming to

>Rome certainly gives a false impression of the Civil War,

>which was just as much a "world war" as WWI or WWII. There

>were major battles fought from one end of the Mediterranean

>world to the other over a four-year period, and pretending

>otherwise greatly diminishes the epic scope of the conflict

>and Caesar's achievement in winning it.

 

Woodlawn: It's not a documentary; it's reasonably accurate entertainment. You’re not being reasonable. Like all television series there exists a finite number of episodes. There’s also a budget and an audience to consider. This is a “telling” of history (think Vidal’s “Burr” or “1876”), not a historical documentary. For all these reasons and more the Rome creators condensed and modified the actual events.

 

I think they've made smart choices and much more than just the meat remains. In conjunction, the History Channel is running specials that flesh out more of the details and many people, inspired by the fictional telling, are tuning in.

 

>Please speak for yourself. As I said, if I want to see naked

>men I will watch a video full of naked men. I am not going to

>watch an hourlong program in hopes of seeing a ten-second

>glimpse of nudity.

 

You're absolutely right. Not ALL of us, I misspoke. Thank you and I absolutely agree: I don’t much see the point of watching TV or film in the hopes of glimpsing sex and nudity. For that I can rent porn or return one of my client’s phone calls and get the real thing. I for one didn’t titter when we saw the bear’s bare ass in that watershed NYPD Blue episode oh so many years ago. (In truth, I didn’t watch the show.)

 

“Rome” is sufficiently raunchy as is; it needn't be "Caligula" or "Chi Chi Larue presents: CAESAR!" to be entertaining or on target.

 

>There were at the time persistent rumors that Caesar had an

>intimate relationship with Nicomedes while on an official

>visit to his kingdom (many years before the period covered by

>this series), but no one really knew except the two of them.

 

Right, thanks. I should have said "reputedly."

 

 

http://www.RodHagen.com

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-Rod Hagen

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My 22-year-old, live-in son craves the "OC." Every time it airs, after I pull my three fingers from my throat, feigning the induction of a bulimic episode, he says to me, "There's little else on television that caters to my demographic!" The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, I guess.

 

I can't stomach the "OC" but I'm not its target audience. Enjoyable mindless entertainment for a 22-year-old is better defined by those in their early 20's.

 

Not all escapism needs to be intellectually stimulating, creative, or even ground-breaking. It just has to sell. The vapid have money, too. And the "OC" delivers, getting some of the highest advertising dollars in the industry. Where else in prime-time can you find such a large group of teenagers?

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