ABC, May 23, 24

Compared with the tab for the Liz Taylor movie--$240 million in today's dollars--the $30 million-plus cost of this mini-series is piddling. But for TV, it's colossal. So what do those big bucks buy? Lavish spectacle, a Dynasty-style version of Cleopatra's romances with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, and just about zero chemistry between Leonor Varela's Cleopatra and Billy Zane's Antony. Zane (Titanic) makes a stalwart Roman general (and so does Timothy Dalton as Caesar), but pretty, pouty Varela lacks utterly the "infinite variety" that Shakespeare attributed to history's most famous vamp.

--By William Tynan


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