This Masterpiece Theatre production, set at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, chronicles the life, loves, foibles and politics of the fictional English town of Middlemarch. Adapted ... See full summary »
The scene is set during the French Restoration at the beginning of the 19th century. Jean Valjean, a galley slave who was sent to prison for stealing food, is now released after serving ... See full summary »
The story is set in Rome around 44 B.C., just after the assassination of Julius Caesar. Octavius, aged 17, who was named heir by Caesar, is challenged by Marc Anthony. A civil war ensues, ending in a showdown between Octavius and Marc Anthony. Written by
Real swords were used in close-up shots for authenticity. This risky decision resulted in Jonathan Cake being cut during filming for the first episode. The cut became infected and Cake required hospital treatment. See more »
During the final battle between Antony's and Octavius's armies, Tyranus removes two silver emblems from his chest to denounce Antony and fight for Octavius. In the next shot, they are there again. Later, they disappear once more. See more »
[Caesar is dying]
Protect him, protect my successor.
No. Not Antony. Octavius. My sister's boy. He will save the dream of Rome, Tyrannus. Teach him to fight, teach him to rule.
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Other commentaries have criticized this series for its historical inaccuracies. Well, it was not presented as a documentary. The critical question in reviewing any film or mini-series is "Is it entertaining?" This series is entertaining. It is presented well. The sets are excellent. The acting is far better than most television fare. The two most engrossing character portrayals are Cassius (Michael Maloney) and Tyrannus (Jonathan Cake). Those two and some of the lesser roles carry the film. Cassius is the most believable villain since Hannibal Lecter. If you enjoy good acting, Mr. Maloney's performance alone makes the series worth watching. The central character, Octavius (Santiago Cabrera) is not strong enough to create an interest for the viewer, think of Colin Farrell in Alexander. The viewer will be far more concerned with the fate of Tyrannus than that of Octavius. Other performances are so strong as to emphasize the weakness of the lead. However, only the first three episodes have been shown to date, and at this point Octavius is only a 17-year-old kid. Perhaps the weakness is an actor's or director's choice and should not be mistaken as a weak performance. As the character grows into Augustus will the performance seem stronger? Time will tell. Until then, pop some corn and enjoy the entertainment.
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