Question: I love the new HBO series Rome and I know you like it also. I just read that it has been picked up for a second season. How is it doing in the ratings? Has all HBO's advertising paid off?
Answer: The ratings, from what I gather, are a lot less spectacular than Rome's production design, but I'm not that surprised. The show is a slow build, and my advice to anyone who's resisted its lure is to let a few episodes build up, then watch several at once — On Demand, if you have it — as if you were digging into a good novel. (Many HBO series, in particular The Wire, play much better this way than in hourlong weekly increments.) I'm also not surprised that HBO gave the show a green light for next season. Only four episodes have aired so far, and I'll continue to argue that it gets better as it goes. But even if HBO's masterful and exhaustive marketing hasn't paid off yet in ratings, it at least has put the message out there that Rome isn't like anything you'd find on network TV. (Well,