It is a series with 12 1-hour parts... They are still being somewhat ambiguous as to whether it will come back for a second season or not. It can be seen just about every night this week on HBO, and then new episodes will premiere on Sunday nights at 9pm, eastern time. Check your local listings for time and channel. I haven't seen it yet. It won't be airing on the West coast feed for another hour and 45 minutes in my time zone. I caught the last 5 minutes of the premiere airing a little while ago, just in time to see 14-year-old Octavian bludgeon to death this guy who was the lone survivor of a gang of men who had apparently kidnapped him and then the few scenes left after that. It looked pretty good, but I was a little confused about what was going on since I missed the first 55 minutes of the show.
The actor playing Octavian looked really familiar, so I looked him up on imdb.com. He's Max Pirkis and he played "Midshipman Blakeney" in "Master and Commander." Good actor! He had a really scary, vicious look in his eyes while pretending to bludgeon that guy to death. Strange thing though is that another actor of the same age, Aaron Johnson, is also listed as playing Octavian in "Rome"... So I don't know what's going on there... His mother "Atia" also looked familiar. I looked her up too, and found that I recognized her because she's Polly Walker, who played the elegant "Jane Fairfax" in "Emma" (the one with Gwyneth Paltrow).
This got me curious about who else is in "Rome" that I'm going to recognize, so I scanned through the list of actors, and this is what I found. Kerry Condon is in "Rome," playing "Octavia of the Julii." She was in "Ned Kelly" as Ned Kelly's eldest sister, "Kate." Lindsay Duncan is playing "Servilia." She played "Mrs. Price/Lady Bertram" in "Mansfield Park," and "Lady Markby" in "An Ideal Husband." Ciaran Hinds is playing "Julius Caesar." He's been in a ton of stuff, including "Calendar Girls" as "Rod Harper," "Lara Croft 2" as "Jonathan Reiss" (the bad guy), "Jane Eyre" (1997 TV mini) as "Edward Rochester," "Persuasion" (1995) as "Captain Wentworth," "Circle of Friends" as "Professor Flynn," and "Excalibur" as "Lot." The oh-so-lovely James Purefoy is playing "Marc Anthony"... And boy, if Anthony looked like that, I'm surprised it took Cleopatra so long... seriously... He played "Brendan" in "Bedrooms and Hallways" (opposite Kevin McKidd [who is also in "Rome"] and Jennifer Ehle - it's a very strange movie that is, I think, pretty much the product of British people coming out of their Victorian repression), "Tom Bertram" in "Mansfield Park," and "Sir Thomas Colville a.k.a. Edward, the Black Prince of Wales" in "A Knight's Tale." Kevin McKidd has done almost everything... except something set in ancient Rome, which he has now covered with "Rome" (and with "The Last Legion," which will be released next year). He's playing one of the "every man" Roman soldiers, "Lucius Vorenus." Other things I've personally seen him in are "Bedrooms and Hallways" as "Leo," "Hideous Kinky" as "Henning," "Topsy-Turvy" as "Durward Lely (Nanki-Poo)," "Nicholas Nickleby" as "John Browdie," and, most recently, in "Kingdom of Heaven"... where he was somewhat in the background as "an English Sergeant."
The official site can be found here: http://www.hbo.com/Rome/
Stay tuned for my review of the first ep.