Special S- 1 11 Aug 05 Making Rome (Special Promo Show)
This is the start of a 12-episode extravaganza co-produced by BBC2 and an American Cable TV company, HBO [Sopranos, Deadwod, Oz]. As a result it brings the best of both worlds. John Milius is credited as being the brains of the operation!
Set in 52 BCE, it starts with Julius Caesar [Ciaran Hinds] winning victory in battle over the Gauls.
Back home in Rome, his manipulative bitch of a niece, Atia [Polly Walker - Patriot Games] handles the politics side of things.
The protagonists in all this are a couple of Roman soldiers. One's a hard-drinking whoremonger, the other a loyal family-man. They're well written and acted, tough guys with a human side - typical of HBO shows.
They save Caesar's nephew, Octavian. Then they are ordered to accompany Marc Antony back to Rome, to represent Caesar in the Senate.
On leave in Rome, Pullo starts a brawl. This ends up sparking a riot between Antony's men and Pompey's followers.
Pompey's double-dealing in the Senate means Marc Antony and our 2 heroes are driven out of Rome. This is Caesar's excuse to cross the Rubicon - the start of the inevitable Civil War.
Pompey wants his gold back, and sends a hit squad to find it. Pullo is as subtle as ... well, Pullo. It doesn't take anyone long to realise who has the treasure!
Pullo, flat broke after last ep, is hired as Octavian's sword-tutor. He and Octavian get involved in the adultery subplot.
Meanwhile, the ex-Centurion must decide how to earn a living. Become a gangster, or rejoin the 13th Legion?
Marc Antony manipulates the Senate into supporting Caesar's wishes. He also has to sort out his relationship with Atia.
Veronus and Pullo are back in uniform together, one serving Antony and the other Octavian.
Atia gets her daughter to play along with her rival. The relationship takes an incredible twist!
Veronus and Pullo are shipwrecked. In an astonishing turn of events they get yet another chance to become millionaires!
Will Pompey escape? Will Caesar be merciful?
Caesar and his men arrive in Egypt. Dismayed by Pompey's fate, he decides to play at local poitics.
The Nubians are sent to kill Cleo. However, Caesar has sent his best men to save her. Yes, Veronus and Pullo are on the job. In more ways than one!
We don't get to see much of Rome itself. Atia is nowhere to be seen, though Octavia and Servilia are still together. And Marc Antony gets to deal with his political rival, Cicero.
This is an average ep. The banter between the 2 plebs is good, but the script squeezes about year of events into 45 minutes!
After three years campaigning, our heroes return home. Well, 3 years encapsulated in the previous episode!
Caesar's Ex gets Octavia to apply pressure to Octavian. And when Atia finds out, it's bad news for all concerned!
Caesar finally gets his Triumph. Yes, he was so busy sorting out the Civil War and Egypt he never got his great parade.
Verenus gets the nice clean toga, but isn't happy about the politics.
Pullo can't adjust to civilian life. He decides to free the slave-girl and marry her, but even that leads to bad things.
Brutus' mother plots. Pompey's son and a fellow named Cassius are staying at her house, while Brutus himself does well in the Senate.
Pullo descends into a career in organised crime. But, like everything else, he fails at it. As a result he ends up on trial for his life.
Verenus, on the other hand, is so good at his job that he might even get promoted.
Everything seems to be going right for everyone. And as in all good dramas, this is justr the calm before the storm.
The plotters do what they do best - they plot. And the climax, as historically unavoidable as it is, pulls together all the story threads that have been woven throughout the series.
Caesar is dead, and the Liberators control Rome. Can Octavian and Anthony turn the tables on them?
Vorenus tries to cope with the aftermath of his wife's betrayal.
Atia's life is complicated by a couple of visitors from the East. Cleo visits, to legitimise her son Caesarian. And Timon, Atia's Jewish henchman, is visited by his Zealot brother.
Vorenus and Pullo take over Rome's Underworld. The Priests announce a Holy truce, under the Goddess Concorde. Vorenus terrifies the thugs with an announcement of his own!
Antony and Octavian begin the emnity that will continue many years, until one of them is dead ...
Antony forces Cicero to promise his support, and thus the support of the Senate. Of course, Cicero has plans of his own.
Atia faces danger within her own household. An assassin draws near ...
Pullo goes after Vorenus, to tell him the news about his children. En route he discovers that Octavian has grown up. The boy has aged so much that he now looks like [and is played by] an entirely different actor!
Cicero realises that he made the same mistake Antony did - he underestimated Octavian!
Servilia has also made a mistake. And Timon, Atia's henchman, must make a decision ...
Octavian, despite being the victor, is denied his Triumph. He turns the tables on Cicero, of course ...
Vorenus tries to keep order in the Underworld. Of course, rivals start to suspect he's gone soft.
Anthony and Octavian join forces against Brutus and Cassius. They draw up a list of enemies in Rome, and hire Vorennus and Pullo to kill them off. Cicero's at the top of the list, so the lads make a day of it and invite the women and kids along for a picnic.
Herod is in town to bribe the Triumvirate. The Jewish Zealots plot to assassinate him ...
The Triumvirate nearly fall out over the bribe. To solve it, Atia proposes a public wedding between Anthony and one of Octavian's women.
Servilia, her other plans ruined, now plays her last card. She stands outside Atia's villa, and demands justice. Her last plan is the least likely to succeed, but it might still work!
Gaia [ Zuhleika Robinson ] plots to further her relationship with Pullo.
Herod's bribe is entrusted to Vorenus for clandestine transportation. Someone steals it ...
Octavian plots his anti-Vice campaign. He chooses a bride - Livia [the Bitch of Rome is a silly little thing]. Then he clamps down on the women in his family. He exiles Anthony to Egypt ... a bad mistake!
Vorennus tries to discover who the traitor is. Pullo brings the gangster plotting to a close in a scene straight from Gangs of New York !
Years have passed since last episode, although the actors don't look any older. Anthony is at home in Alexandria - corrupted by Cleo and extorting cash and land from Rome. Octavia sends Atia and Octavia to negotiate with him ...
Pullo is in charge of the granaries of Rome. With no fresh supplies, the poor are near rioting.
Livia has learned from her husband. She's become sexually voracious, manipulative and politically astute.
Tosca, Anthony's sidekick, has to decide what side to take.
The ep starts with Vorenus and Anthony fleeing after the Battle of Action. For there, things for Anthony and Cleo go downhill. Everyone who has seen the film Cleopatra , or knows their history, knows how their story ends.
Vorenus and Pullo end up trying to save Caesarian. Ten Legions are combing Egypt, looking for the fugitives.
A month later, Octavian holds his Triumph in Rome.