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2018 & Beyond
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Bettany Hughes presents the docudrama series Eight Days That Made Rome, starting Oct 27, 2017 on the UK’s Channel 5 . Eight nodal points in the empire’s history will be examined (and re-enacted). From the acting credits it appears that Hughes will round up the usual suspects—Hannibal, Spartacus, Constantine, et. al.; will there be any surprises in the mix? Teaser preview here.

Hail, Britannia—a 10-part miniseries set in AD 43, set to air on Sky 1 in the UK and Ireland and via Amazon Prime in the US in 2017. The action begins as “the Roman Imperial Army, determined and terrified in equal measure, returns to crush the Celtic heart of Britannia, a mysterious land ruled by wild warrior women and powerful druids who can channel the forces of the underworld. Arch rivals Kerra (Kelly Reilly) and Antedia (Zoë Wanamaker) must set their differences to one side in order to combat the terrifying Roman invasion, led by the towering figure of Aulus Plautius (David Morrissey) as it cuts a swathe through the Celtic resistance.” Sounds epic—with a touch of the supernatural? More info here.

In a follow-up to 2015’s Rome’s Invisible City, Dr. Michael Scott and Alexander Armstrong team up to present the 3-part Italy’s Invisible Cities (one episode each for Naples, Venice, and Florence) starting January 4, 2017 on BBC. Cutting-edge 3D scanning technology and old-fashioned spelunking shed new light on the cities’ secrets.See the official page for clips and broadcast and streaming info (in the UK only).

Nero’s Sunken City debuted March 29, 2017 as part of the PBS series Secrets of the Dead, and aired (as Rome’s Sunken Secrets) on April 16, 2017 on UK’s Channel 4, subsequently streaming on demand within the UK. The locale is the ancient pleasure resort of Baiae, half of which subsided in the Bay of Naples in the 4th century A.D. Shallow underwater ruins have long been visible from the air, but only recently have archaeologists identified an imperial palace from the reign of Claudius, the earliest known Roman concrete dome (for a bathing complex), some truly stunning marble statues, and other fascinating finds.

Tom Cruise stars in The Mummy, set for release on June 9, 2017. Expect a ginormous action-adventure extravaganza. Photo above: Mr. Cruise before he puts on his face in the morning. (Just kidding! That’s the mummy of Ramses II.)

Doctor Who traveled back to Roman Britain in season 10 episode 10, “The Eaters of Light,” which aired June 17, 2017 on BBC. The episode delves into the mystery of the lost Ninth Legion, which vanished in the wilds of Scotland. But when the Doctor arrives in ancient Aberdeenshire, he finds a threat far greater than any army. In a cairn, on a hillside, is a doorway leading to the end of the world.

In production from Séquana Média of France is a 7-part TV series Seven Wonders: Secrets of Lost Monuments—one documentary episode for each wonder plus a single-episode docudrama recounting a visit to the all. The production seeks to take advantage of the latest research plus CGI modeling to present a panoramic tour of the ancient world. (Hopefully the overall accuracy of the series is not represented by the fanciful recreation of the Colossus stradling the harbor of Rhodes.) See a trailer and lots of other info at the official site. See also the item on this page about another Séquana Média production, Olympia: The Origins of the Games. (Was this series ever broadcast or released on DVD? If you have info, please let Steven know!)

In Ovid and the Art of Love, a young boy learning about Ovid in school begins to see ancient Rome come to life around him in his native Detroit. The independent production, the first feature by director and writer Esmé von Hoffman, stars John Savage as Augustus. You can watch a short TV news report about the on-location filming in Detroit here. (Has this film been released? If you have info, please let Steven know!)

Yet another Bible movie? Mary, about the mother of Jesus, with Ben Kingsley playing King Herod. This seems to be a troubled production, with release date repeatedly postponed. (IMDb has replaced a previous 2017 with four question marks.)

Coming in 2018 and Beyond…

In 2011, Channing Tatum starred in The Eagle, a big-screen version of Rosemary Sutcliff’s classic novel The Eagle of the Ninth, about a young Roman commander in Britain who ventures north of Hadrian’s Wall to recover the eagle standard lost by his father. That release conjured memories of a long-ago series broadcast by the BBC in 1977—a prominent item on Steven’s Wish List page. At long last, the 6-part mini-series of The Eagle of the Ninth will be released on Region 2 DVD in the UK on 15 January 2018.

A fourth season of Plebs is coming to ITV in 2018! It’s one of Steven’s favorite guilty pleasures, thanks to the performances of comic actors like Ryan Sampson, seen here as Grumio, a squirrely slave whom Plautus would have been proud to present on the ancient Roman stage.

BBC and Netflix will co-produce the series Troy: Fall of a City for broadcast in 2018, from a script by David Farr (following his international success with The Night Manager). Farr says: “The story of Ilium, the ancient city of Troy, has always gripped me. Fall of a City aims to convey in all its emotional richness, the effects of war, and the toll taken on city and family by the horrors of siege. Though one of Europe’s oldest stories, it could not be more sadly pertinent today.” A £2,000,000/episode budget promises big effect— but will the gods play any part? (Art by Keith Thompson.) Casting news here.

In development: Jason and the Argonauts: The Kingdom of Hades, apparently based on the graphic novel of the same name, which follows the fortunes of the Argonauts after the quest for the Golden Fleece—essentially a sequel to the 1963 movie Jason and the Argonauts.The same publisher, under the “Ray Harryhausen Presents” imprint, gave us the graphic novel Wrath of the Titans.

Gertrude Stein Matisse Picasso SFMOMA modern art
From the introduction to Seneca: Four Tragedies and Octavia, by E. F. Watling:

Cicero, at the festival celebrating the opening of Rome’s first permanent theatre, complained of the pathetic performances of old-fashioned actors past their prime, and of the spectacular ostentation which had been imposed on the old tragedies: “Who wants to see six hundred mules in Clytaemnestra or three hundred goblets in The Trojan Horse, or a battle between fully equipped armies of horse and foot?”

What would Cicero have made of 300?

From Achilles to Zeus: Stephen Moss, film writer for The Guardian, offers an A-Z guide to Ancient World movies. His spot-on entry for the letter S: “Slaves: Notable by their absence in films about Sparta, even though they were the bedrock of Spartan society. Presumably acknowledgment of Sparta’s large slave population would sit oddly with a portrayal of a heroic society that valued freedom...” Click here to read the entire alphabet.

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But wait—there’s more!

Steven’s International Online Ancient World Film Festival
Watch this collection of mini-movies right here, right now!

Steven’s Wish List
Will we ever see these legendary
movies and TV shows?
Where Are
the Euro Movies?

Movies and TV shows from England & Europe, never shown in the US.


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