Like HBO’s fantasy hit, the 2005 series was a sprawling non-contemporary swords-and-shields drama with a large ensemble cast and plenty of violence and sex. It was extremely well written and acted, launching its cast into stardom. Rome was also quite expensive and shot overseas, just like Thrones.
Except Rome was canceled, with HBO making the tough decision to ax the show before its second season even aired in order to save money on maintaining production resources in Italy. It’s rare that networks ever admit that ending a show was a mistake, but HBO executives later did, at least privately. Actors such as Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, and James Purefoy went onto other ventures, and creator Bruno Heller launched a more more traditional drama — The Mentalist — to big CBS ratings.
After Thrones debuted to acclaim and popularity in 2011, one Rome star couldn’t help but feel a little sore about the way things turned out, with Purefoy declaring Thrones “stole our f–king show.”
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