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Disaster Porn Saturday Night: The Last Days of Pompeii

Blind flower seller Nydia (Linda Purl) runs into gladiator Lydon (Duncan Regehr) on the streets of Pompeii

Blind flower seller Nydia (Linda Purl) runs into gladiator Lydon (Duncan Regehr) on the streets of Pompeii

By the mid 1980's, disaster movies were pretty much non existent, and night time soap operas were hanging on so why not combine the two with a star studded cast and see what happens.

Based on the novel of the same name by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1834, this is a mini series of historic proportions and seems to never want to end. It goes on and on and confusion can reign supreme, thanks in part to the many characters.

On the plus side, the costumes, miniatures and sets are really good but were snubbed by the Emmy's.

Anyway, here's how the stories break down and I thought it might be easier to follow by some of the characters.

As summer arrives, Greek stud Glaucus (Nicholas Clay) arrives in Pompeii and immediately falls in love with Ione (Olivia Hussey) who's in line to become a High Priestess, while following Goddess Isis. Even though Glaucus falls for Ione, she's committed to Arbaces (Franco Nero) and he's not going to let her go since she's his meal ticket, as is her brother Antonius (Benedict Taylor).

Social climbers Diomed (Ned Beatty) and Lucretia (Joyce Blair) are on the docks as well when Glaucus arrives and immediately they get as much information on him as possible so that they can marry off their daughter Julia (Catriona MacColl) to him. What they don't know is that Julia is in love with Clodius (Gerry Sundquist) who happens to be a friend of Glaucus'.

Also on the dock is blind flower girl/former slave Nydia (Linda Purl) who tries to sell flowers to Diomed. She recognizes Glaucus' voice and he takes her back to his house where she's been keeping up his garden. The two are just friends, but later when he buys her as a slave (for protection) he sends her to live with Ione since the people of Pompeii are talking about the living arrangement the two have. Nydia doesn't want to leave him, but it's a part of his plan to get to Ione.

Following an afternoon of games at the arena, Diomed has a banquet and invites former slave turned gladiator Lydon to the festivities. Medon (Howard Lang) is Diomed's slave and Lydon's father and Medon has to watch as Diomed mocks Lydon in front of the nobility.

One of Diomed's other slaves, Petrus (Malcolm Jamieson) also has to watch in horror as his girlfriend, Chloe (Lesley-Anne Down) is the featured dancer for the men. She makes a living as a whore for Stratonice (Francesca Romana Coluzzi) and has a baby boy. While claiming that Petrus is the boy's father, Petrus denies it due to the many men that she's slept with.

Since religion plays an important part in this show, Olinthus (Brian Blessed) secretly holds meetings for Christians in a hidden room of his shop. When Joseph (Howard Goorney) arrives in town, they hold a meeting with fellow Christians and when the magistrate, Quintus (Anthony Quayle) hears of this, he sends out the troops to round them up and tells them to bring them in for trial.

The troops have other plans and end up killing ten people, but Petrus is identified and later brought in for a trial. Even though he and Chloe escaped, they are caught in a back alley making out.

She goes to Ione and Glaucus comes up with a plan to get Petrus freed and he forges a bill of sale saying that he's a newly acquired slave of his and Chloe had been with him that night.

With Antonius brainwashed by Arbaces, he goes to Diomed and urges him to run for public office. This will get him to Rome and become nobility, so Diomed begins to follow Arbaces' advice, but tells him that Julia must marry Glaucus.

Julia becomes involved in the scheme and brings in Nydia (who's secretly in love with Glaucus, but has stronger feelings for Lydon) to help with tricking Ione into believing that she and Glaucus are to be married.

The cult of Isis continues to grow along with more drama and then finally, the mountain blows as Diomed reigns over the games with the hope of having Glaucus killed by Lydon.

As the ash and lava spew, Pompeiians run throughout the streets trying to outrun the destruction they're facing along with their bad perms.

With the number of characters involved, some will survive and of course some will die but just exactly who will survive in this epic soapaster?

Pompeii is destroyed by Mount Vesuvius

Pompeii is destroyed by Mount Vesuvius

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