HBO’s lavish Rome lasted only two seasons before its producers realized they couldn’t afford to go on. The show was at once an astonishingly lush and sensual portrayal of a classical age yet also a brutally explicit display of the ancient empire’s vulgarity and savagery. Defining it all was Atia, a fictional mother for Octavian, first Emperor of Rome, and a dragon lady to end all dragon ladies. With a terrifying cold-bloodedness, she seduces and schemes her way through layers of Roman high society, often to the detriment of her offspring. By the time he assumes power, her son Octavian — now known as the triumphant Augustus — is estranged from Atia. Her daughter Julia suffers far more from her mother’s intrigues: Julia first is forced by an unfeeling mother to leave her husband for an Atia-arranged alliance with an elder, more politically-convenient partner. Then, for good measure, Atia has the man Julia loves assassinated in a back alley. Talk about parental disapproval.