Monday, November 14, 2005

It's not TV, it's H-B-Rome

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My first exposure to HBO original programming was in 1984; the program, Fraggle Rock. I was nine years old, so programming for my demographic at that time was Transformers, He-Man, The Smurfs, etc. - basically anything to market everything plastic. Fraggle Rock was an island of quality in a sea of patronizing Hasbro-ejaculate. I didn't realize the historical importance of HBO at the time, but simply enjoyed the quality puppetry and occasional late-night tit. Only now, at thirty, do I get it - HBO doesn't create shows you want to watch, they create shows you want to pay to watch.

Such is Rome, epitomized by last night's episode, "The Spoils". Rome is unique. It has a major arc and a minor arc. The major arc (this season) is Caesar's rise to Roman dictator and assassination, the minor arc is the travails of Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo. All other ancillary arcs are to reinforce the major and minor arcs, or, more often, provide a tie between them. Now here's what's unique: everybody knows what happens in the major arc, everybody knows what this season will end with. The major arc is, in fact, a backdrop for the minor. The real drama, the suspense isn't with Caesar, but Pullo and Vorenus. The minor arc came to a head last night in the Gladiator scene. I've never witnessed the tragic and heroic more personified in all of cinema than the ten minute Gladiator scene in last night's Rome.

If you don't watch this show, watch last night's episode. If you don't have HBO, Torrent the episode. I have it saved on my digital video recorder and will watch it again tonight in 60-inch high-definition widescreen goodness. Tony soprano-who? Yeah.

Throw Pedestrian Crossing a bone now and then ( I've actually updated that one in the last month. Heathenish.