The Underrated Historical Epic You Can Binge On HBO Max Right Now

If you're a fan of period pieces, historical dramatizations, or just good old-fashioned scandals, you have to check out Rome, the underrated epic you can binge on HBO Max right now. Between 2005 and 2007, HBO produced two seasons depicting the fall of the Roman Republic and the birth of the Roman Empire, starting with Caesar's bloody rise to power and ending with the somewhat romantic demise of Antony and Cleopatra.

To see this epic period of history through fresh eyes, HBO's Rome follows the fictionalized friendship of Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson), two real-life Roman centurions (per the Perseus Digital Library) who find themselves drawn into the lives of various historical figures. By following the unlikely friends as they navigate their very different lives in ancient Rome, viewers see famous moments like Julius Caesar's triumphant return from Gaul, his assassination in the Senate, and Cleopatra's seduction of both Caesar and Mark Antony. Meanwhile, the series explores how those events affected everyday Romans of every class, including slaves, soldiers, and the nobility.

Binge HBO's Rome now to see how Caesar seized and lost power

One look at Rotten Tomatoes will give you an idea of Rome's legacy — the series currently holds an 86% critic rating and a 98% average audience score. But what kind of plot are you in for? Well, it's nothing short of an epic soap opera.

Rome's first season highlights the lives of famous historical figures like Julius Caesar (Ciarán Hinds), Mark Antony (James Purefoy), and Cleopatra (Lyndsey Marshal). Over the course of 12 episodes, we see Caesar rise from the rank of general to name himself dictator. We witness his real-life love affair with Servilia of the Junii (Lindsay Duncan), the mother of one of his eventual assassins, Marcus Junius Brutus (Tobias Menzies). Eventually, we explore the fallout after his assassination in 44 B.C. Several other well-known Romans, including legendary general Pompey Magnus (Kenneth Cranham) and famous orator Marcus Tullius Cicero (David Bamber), are also depicted.

The power struggle between Caesar's nephew Octavian and his trusted protégé, Mark Antony, is the focus of Rome season 2. Over ten episodes, you'll see Mark Antony abandon Rome for Cleopatra and Egypt in an attempt to split the empire in half for his own gain. Not even a political marriage between Antony and Octavian's sister Octavia (Kerry Condon) or the love he once shared with his mother Atia of the Julii (Polly Walker) is enough to bring Antony back into the fold. It all builds to a climax with the events that will set in motion the rise the Roman Empire. 

It all makes for compelling drama worthy of any Game of Thrones fan's attention, and you can binge it right now on HBO Max.