Thursday, September 08, 2005

Brutus used hedge clippers

This week, the History Channel has been running an excellent series about ancient Rome as a bit of cross-promotion for the equally excellent series about Rome currently running on HBO.

So far, I've only caught the two hour special on Roman architecture and construction techniques, but it was pretty engrossing, in that sort of open-mouthed, a silvery thread of saliva is slithering out of your mouth kind of way.

Mainly I'm excited because the History Channel's long indentured servitude to Popular Mechanics appears to have been broken, if only for a few days. Last week, while nursing a mild plague-induced ear infection (It was the Black Plague, I know it was, and I'll hear naught another word about it), somewhere in my hallucinatory state I realized I'd spent an entire hour watching a program about the history of the lawnmower.

And you only wish I were kidding.

This was followed by the history of the muscle car, the history of the combustion engine, and possibly a three hour expose about spark plugs. I can't be certain. Television's always a little fuzzy when you're rolling on the floor, clutching your head in a silent scream, and having long internal dialogues with a vision of the Blessed Mother at Medjugoria.

Somehow the producers of this cable network seem to think this is a vast improvement over their years long Hitler fetish. Hilter's Secret Army, Hitler's Secret Youth, Hitler's Secret Youthful Army, Hitler's Secret Fascination with Young Boys Who Know All the Lyrics to Showboat. And on and on and on.

So, yeah, if you can tear yourself away from CSI, the new Rome series is worth checking out. If you're often enmeshed in the merciless tentacles of insomnia like me, they rerun it late at night.

Plus, a lot of the actors are hot. The casting director who found their Caesar is my personal idol. You just know there was a shirtless screen test involved. God, I hope so.