|Index||4 reviews in total|
The most impressive thing about this program is how realistic it looks. The costumes and the sets all look like something worn at the time. The program has obviously been given a modest budget. The acting is very good, with Simon Callow as Pliny, captain of a Roman fleet of ships. Flavia, the heroine, is convincing and can obviously act. The effects are tiny bit on the dodgy side, but it doesn't spoil the program. I have not read the books on which this series is based, but I am very tempted to now that this is on. No doubt the books will become a lot more popular than they already are.Overall this is an excellent series and I can't wait for the next program.
A valiant attempt at exciting and educational TV programming for young people, "The Roman Mysteries" has a lot going for it. As previous reviewers remarked, it is outstanding for it's realistic portrayal of the period, particularly in the scenes occurring in harbors or aboard ships. In this respect it is every bit as good as the recent blockbuster "Rome" series. The plots are exciting and well written. My only problem is with the unfortunate casting of some of the principals, starting with Flavia, the "Nancy Drew" of the series. The only thing remotely correct and Roman about her is her rather persistent classic Roman coiffure. She's the leading character but the least likable with her typically self-righteous superiority, priggishness, shallow impulsiveness and readiness to abandon her friends (such as immediately believing her Greek tutor to be guilty of attempted murder.) Johnathan is a sad, expressionless one-note dud and pug ugly to boot. Both her father and her uncle don't look or act remotely Roman, more like Irish or Scots. On the plus side, the characters of Nubia, Lupus, and the tutor, as well as Mordecai the Jewish physician are excellent. It is they and a host of well-played incidental characters such as the poet-lawyer who save the series so all credit for success is due to them. Even as a mute with no lines, little Stott as Lupus out-acts them all with eloquent gestures and facial expressions. Let's see more of the tutor in upcoming episodes....he deserves better after being written off by imperious Flavia's lack of depth and poor judgment. Maybe she should pay more attention to her studies, it might improve her smug, forever simpering character.
It was an engaging series for people who have not read the books on
which the series is based. The special effects were a little dodgy, but
the acting was good, and this combined with great costumes and set more
than made up for this.
However the pronunciation of Flavia as 'FLAY-via' instead of 'FLAH-via' began to grate on my nerves, although the author first wrote that the former pronunciation was correct, she later (source: roman mysteries website) she admitted that it was incorrect. The little things annoy me - such as the condensed script - but these concessions had to be made to fit the books into the episodes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The one problem with this show is it is TOO realistic. The one problem with other historical shows 'horrible histories', 'time warp trio' etc is the complete opposite. Whilst having a excellent amount of realism and being well scripted, the acting is very good, it doesn't have much humour or anything in the way of the exxageration required to be entertaining. One might as well visit a museum of ancient artifacts. This is a good show, but lacks the entertaining quality needed. Maybe the research could have been better spent on a documentary. Whats the point with writing fiction if it's all fact? The series concerns four kids, a mute, a slave, and two roman children who research events and try to prevent tragedy by working out mystery scenarios. The filming is good, and the costume fairly realistic for that period. But, again, it'd be better to make an actual documentary of the events rather than a loose fictional cover.
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