Empire

Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot

0
Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Jun 28, 2005 on ABC
8.2
out of 10
User Rating
62 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Pilot
AIRED:
The senate, appalled by Caesar's plans to redistribute the wealth and land of Rome to its citizens, plots to have him assassinated. His last dying words to a former slave and gladiator Tyrannus - now a free man - is to protect his nephew Octavius, his successor to the throne. The senate seeks revenge to all of Caesar's bloodline, forcing Tyrannus and Octavius to flee the city and seek allies amongst those few still loyal to Caesar.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • This first hour of a six-hour mini-series tells the familiar tale of the plot by the Roman Senate which led to the assignation of Julius Caesar.

    7.0
    Like other reviewers I was struck by the similarities between this and Shakespeare’s well known telling of the story. The differences, however, are striking. The writers avoided the trap of using well know lines from the play but when you expect “You too Brutus” or “Friends, Romans, Countrymen lend me you ears” and don’t hear it the story strikes a discordant tone.

    As the story transitions into the events that lead to the rise of Octavius, new material is revealed. All the same, this is fiction using historical characters.

    If you enjoy historical or costume drama the story is interesting. If you don’t stay away! You will be disappointed.

    moreless
  • Good tv - and it's about time.

    7.5
    The TV landscape is filled with trash, so much so that I rarely watch network TV anymore. However, maybe there's still some hope left - with "Empire", TV might not be such an awful waste of time.



    It's light, and it's simple. The characters are not overly complex, and the storyline is kept straightforward and tells itself without flourish. The cinematography is not outlandish in fight scenes or overly intimate in emotional scenes. The special effects that show us the hills and inner burbs of ancient Rome are outstanding. It isn't pretentious, overly violent or sexual, and though the acting isn't stellar, a few performances are notable - namely that of Michael Byrne as Cicero and Orla Brady as Caesar's sister Atia.





    If you enjoy seeing the backdrop of ancient cities and lives, the politics and power struggles of men in white robes, stories of brats who grow into noble rulers, and swordplay action scenes, you'll like this.



    The story draws from the history of the murder of Julius Caesar. This series is only partially historically correct, seeming to draw on historical moments and then tinking with them enough to fit the story of our unsung hero, the gladiator peasant Tyrannus.



    In the midst of all this, nothing is made too heavy or depressing, or too silly or plain. There seems to be the right balance of epic pageantry, story, and character color to keep me, a really picky viewer, interested in seeing more.



    It's perfect for summer viewing, and open enough to be accessible to people of many ages.moreless
  • Enjoyable, if you like this kind of show.

    7.5
    The Pilot episode of Empire was an enjoyable hour. Since the show jumped right into the assassination of Julius Caesar it brought the audience immediately into the drama.



    The overall acting was good, with Colm Feore worthy of being singled out. He made a great impression as Julius Caesar. It's just too bad he had to die in the first episode. And Jonathan Cake seems up to the task of playing the gladiator, Tyrannus.



    They also did not seem to skimp in the overall production design. This is very important in these types of shows, otherwise it could seem cheesy.



    Overall it was an enjoyable hour of television, but only if you like these kinds of dramas. I'm afraid the show will need to show a little more promise if it hopes to hook a wider audience.moreless
  • The story of the rise of Octavian after the fall of Julius Caesar. If you want a fun action costume series watch this – just don’t expect to learn anything about Roman history!moreless

    6.0
    I chose alternate reality because of the large number of factual errors in just the first episode:

    1.) Armed soldiers were not allowed in the city proper until after the formation of the empire in 27 BC. 2.) To my knowledge, except during his triumphs, Caesar never traveled in a chariot.

    3.) Wheeled vehicles were only allowed in the city proper after dark.

    4.) Caesar was killed on the steps of the Temple of Bellona outside the city boundary and not inside an actual session of the Senate.

    5.) An actual Senator would never bend his knee to Caesar who while he was the Dictator was also a Senator. The Senator would have considered himself Caesar’s equal.

    6. Ouside the Arena, Tyrannus would never have had access to his sword. Paid body guards carried clubs. Only Lictors (an officer who bore and ax and fasces (or rods), as ensigns of his office. His duty was to attend the chief magistrates when they appeared in public, to clear the way, and cause due respect to be paid to them, also to apprehend and punish criminals)can have weapons (the aforementioned axes). Caesar would have had 24 lictors as Dictator. He had dismissed them on the Ides.

    7. By being in Rome, Marc Antony would have taken off his military uniform and put on his purple-striped toga for a meeting of the Senate (of which he was a member).

    8. Atia, Octavian’s mother, was actually Caesar’s niece. Atia’s mother was Caesar’s sister, a Julia (as were all the women of his direct line).



    So don’t look for a history lesson (although the trappings, costumes and buildings seem accurate). Just enjoy the adventure.

    moreless
  • ABC makes me say WOW!

    8.1
    A mini-series that was not advertise heavily and the ratings will like back that up. That being said...I could of easily believe this to be a movie. The characters in the show were so real and alive that it speaks well for the writers. A show likely designed and being played as a filler while we wait for the fall season to start. One will have to wonder how many years will take place between each episode likely tainting the interest from fans due to the likely and constant change in characters.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Historical Inaccuracies / Creative Freedom:
      - Armed soldiers were not allowed in the city proper until after the formation of the Empire in 27 BC.
      - Caesar never traveled in a chariot except during his triumphs.
      - Wheeled vehicles were only allowed in the city proper after dark.
      - Caesar was killed on the steps of the Temple of Bellona outside the city boundary and not inside an actual session of the Senate.
      - An actual Senator would never bend his knee to Caesar who, while he was the Dictator, was also a Senator. The Senator would have considered himself Caesar's equal.
      - Outside the Arena, Tyrannus would never have had access to his sword. Paid body guards carried clubs. Only lictors could have weapons. Caesar would have had 24 lictors as Dictator. He had dismissed them on the Ides.
      - By being in Rome, Marc Antony would have taken off his military uniform and put on his purple-striped toga for a meeting of the Senate (of which he was a member).
      - Atia, Octavius' mother, was actually Caesar's niece. Atia's mother was Caesar's sister, a Julia (as were all the women of his direct line).

  • QUOTES (7)

  • NOTES (7)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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