Netflix seems to be creating original shows for everyone these days, so if you love ancient history but you’re tired of stuffy old documentaries, then Roman Empire: Reign of Blood is for you! The great thing about Roman Empire is that it’s not a “talking heads” documentary. The show blends historical drama with discussion moments from experts to create a high class docuseries that grabs your attention from beginning to end. The scenes are narrated while the actors act them out in a melodramatic fashion; Roman Empire is proof that ancient history looks a lot like a modern day soap opera.
Roman Empire is also not your mother’s History Channel documentary. It is completely unfiltered; in the first few scenes there is bloody violence and a three-way between a young Commodus and two women. The latter scene was rather shocking, as I’ve never seen something that graphic during a history documentary. Now granted, it was a very softcore scene, but it was still sexually explicit. This is not a docuseries you can watch with your children.
The series explores the rise of Emperor Commodus who is often blamed for starting the fall of Rome. Commodus enjoys drinking and hanging out with hookers more than he enjoys anything else. He shows no enthusiasm for taking over his father’s empire. His mother is so frustrated with his lazy ways that she ships him off to be with his father, who is leading a war against the Germanic tribes attempting to rise up against the Roman Empire. The old emperor tries desperately to whip him into shape before it is too late. When his father dies, Commodus is crowned the new emperor of Rome, and things go downhill from there. The cast of characters that make up Commodus’ life is extremely interesting, especially his sister who does everything she can to take the throne from him.
I highly recommend this docuseries for anyone who loves history completely unfiltered! If you’re not a history buff, this show will still highly entertain you while educating you at the same time.
The series currently has all 6 episodes of its 1 and only season streaming on Netflix.
Do you think this hybrid of period drama TV and talking head documentary series is something that others should take notes on?
– Janiera Eldridge
Follow me on Twitter @janieraeldridge