I cannot stop myself from comparing this one to HBO’s series “Rome”, since both obviously tackle the same subject.
I will not write about HBO’s version, so to cut through the cheese:
BBC’s is the same however in lower production (not low though), no sex, no violence, and less 16 – in other words, this one is a documentary while that one is a TV show.
I like this one more simply because when I watch documentaries, information is the thing I expect to get most, mixed with some visual entertainment so that it sticks…you know…the visual memory issues
I mean, 6 episodes is already a lot for a documentary, so imagine 2 seasons!
It is a 2006 BBC production so it is advanced and has the entertaining elements such as a familiar cast (no celebrities), strong direction, and nice filming locations.
The way the plot is assembled is intriguing, focusing on the major turning points of the Empire’s history and the characters behind it, you can tell from the episodes titles:
The first part is the craziest indeed, Nero has earned his reputation very well; how he promoted culture and arts, burnt and re built rome, and took over every richman’s fortune are all covered.
The story then takes us to Pompey Vs Caesar’s era, and how the later rose to power after all his successful expeditions, going back to Rome to restore the one man rule set up.
Moving on to a period which not everyone knows about, when a young man called Tiberius decided to become a politician and almost changed the face of the empire and its foundations forever.
Continuing to Vaspasian’s reign (both the father and the son) and how the son was the only one able to stop the jewish revolution that shook the empire and almost encouraged every other minority to challenge authority.
Then the most controversial era is covered, that of the great Constantine, and how he almost single handed, was behind bringing Christianity to be the most spread religion in the world and ended an age of persecution.
The series end in a very dramatic manner, (it is funny to note that most of the people know about the Roman empire and its glory, however unclear about how and why it fell apart).
The last episode shows us that it was all due to one fatal error, and that Alaric taking over Rome was a result of that error rather than being the reason behind the roman empire declination.
The series are really concise and very educational, and are mostly based on research and analysis of historical facts known to us, and it all makes sense.
I watched them all in a row, so they must have been entertaining as well