Posted: 03/27/2012

 

I, Claudius: The Complete Series

(1976)

by Amber Burnham



Now available from Acorn Media


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I, Claudius: The Complete Series (35 anniversary edition) is a twelve episode British series that explores the rise to power of the unlikely Roman Emperor, Claudius. With actors like Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, Siân Phillips, and Patrick Stewart, this series is sure to please.

Claudius was an unlikely Roman Emperor; he was born with physical birth defects and was thought to be ‘lacking in body and mind’ for most of his life. Although it is shown that, despite the physical defects and stammer, there was nothing wrong with his mind. Claudius was an avid scholar, reader, and writer, although all of his writings have been lost to history. His path to the throne was full of intrigue, backstabbing, and ambition. Becoming the Emperor after the murder of Caligula, he paved the way for the more famous Emperor, Nero.

I, Claudius is a beautifully engaging show looking at the ins-and-outs of Claudius’ rise to power. Spanning from Augustus to Claudius, I, Claudius introduces a myriad of characters that are all wonderfully acted. From Siân Phillips in the role of the ambitious and wicked Livia, wife of Augustus, to Derek Jacobi as Claudius, and everyone in between, there will be no disappointment in the ways the characters are portrayed. The actors are given great dialogue, which is delivered just as you feel it should be. There are subtleties and undertones in the words which open a whole new world that is not even shown.

I, Claudius: The Complete Series is a five disc set which includes the twelve episodes as well as a bonus disc containing extended versions of episodes one and two, I, Claudius: A Television Epic, The Epic that Never Was, an interview with Derek Jacobi, and a look at the favorite scenes of the cast and director. I, Claudius: A Television Epic is a 74-minute behind the scenes look at the making of the series. The Epic that Never Was is a 71-minute documentary that explores the attempt to create a film adaptation of the novel in 1937, which ultimately failed and was never completed.

Along with the bonus disc there is also an eight page booklet that contains an essay analyzing the historical accuracy of I, Claudius, both the original novel and the television adaptation.

This is a must have for anyone who loves great British television.

Amber Burnham has a BA in Early Childhood Education from Kendall College. She is also a regular panelist on Kichicast, the all-girl, Chicago-based podcast devoted to anime, manga, and Japanese culture. You can listen to Kichicast at kichigi.com.



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