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Season 1

  • S01E01 Caesar and Cleopatra

    • February 1, 1976

    Julius Caesar (Alec Guinness) arrives in Egypt and attempts to settle the dispute over who should rule Egypt, Cleopatra (Genevieve Bujold) or her brother Ptolemy (Jolyon Bates), by having them rule jointly but the ambitious Cleopatra has other ideas. This adaptation of the George Bernard Shaw play lacks the lavishness of the better known 1945 film version. But the lack of pageantry allows more attention to Shaw's text without the distraction of spectacle. The director, James Cellan Jones, lets the story unfold simply so that the political maneuvers are at the forefront. Guinness plays Caesar with an air of resignation rather than power and his chemistry with Bujold is good. Bujold makes for a cunning, sexy Cleopatra with her impish, wicked grin. Though much of Shaw's play has been severely edited, it still makes for a satisfying production.