Updated: Feb 18, 2021
I first watched this show near the time it was released, back in 2005. I remember pirating episodes off of the internet onto my laptop and watching them that way. I don't think I was even able to connect said laptop to a television at that point, without a ridiculous adapter. Life was so different then, in so many ways.
Flash forward to 2020 and being stuck inside during the COVID pandemic. This show came with my HBO package, but it took me a while to commit to rewatching the entire series. Mind you, it's only 2 seasons long, at 12 episodes a season, so not that much time, but the depth of this show is really intense. I happen to be a geek for Roman history, so it's of particular interest to me in that regard.
Upon rewatching, a few things come to mind:
1) The aging of Octavian. This comes to mind particularly because the same actor plays a young officer in Master and Commander, a film that I love. It's definitely noticeable between seasons 1 & 2, but even during season 2 you can visibly see the actor mature. It's interesting, and I didn't really see it the first watching. I was really caught up with Brutus then, actor Tobias Menzies, because he reminds me of Christopher Timothy who I love from All Creatures Great and Small (a future post on that show is coming). Which leads me to the next observation:
2) Season 2. I really liked season 1, both the first time I watched the show, and this go-around. This time, though, I was able to see a lot more in Season 2 than I had initially. Octavian's prominence in the 2nd season drove the plot more than I remembered, and there was more exploration of Pullo. The shift from powerhouse actors in season 1 to the more ensemble outfit (despite Octavian) in season 2 lent a different feel to the season's pacing.
3) The Jewish assassination subplot with Tevye, for one, was a plot i missed entirely the first time. I don't even recall Tevye and his brother being Jewish. The things you notice.
4) Caesarion's rescue at the end of season 2 was something I missed entirely. I recall Pullo's involvement, but that was about it.
Overall, the entire thing was a pleasure to go through again. I can see why they finished it the way they did, as to continue on would have been crazy expensive and very difficult logistically. They did a good job with the wrapped up plot points, and they had a historic accuracy that I liked. There would have been no point to a movie. I highly recommend you watch it if you haven't already. It ages very well.