One of the best shows on TV debuted its second season last night, and it didn’t disappoint this fan.

Last season, HBO’s “Rome” managed to mix (relatively) accurate history, and a good representation of ancient Roman customs and beliefs, the way they lived, along with some fantastic acting and some damn fine storytelling to fill in the blanks in our history books.

The second season picks up right where last season left off, with Caesar lying dead and bloody on the Senate floor, Vorenus’ wife dead after flinging herself from a balcony, and everyone else dealing with either their own personal aftermath or that of the “tyrant’s” assassination. In some cases both.

One of the things that will be greatly missed this season is Cieran Hinds’ portrayal of Julius Caesar. (It’s a crime he didn’t win an Emmy.) But not to worry — the coming conflict between Octavian (soon to become Caesar Augustus) and Marc Antony looks to fill the void.

All of them, even the historical characters, are completely real and three dimensional. The writing is fantastic, the visuals are stunning, and your immersion in that world is so complete it takes you a few minutes to come back to reality when the credits roll.

I’d rank this show right up there with “Rescue Me” and “Battlestar Galactica.”

Oh, and “24” debuted too. I hear it’s fantastic, but Yours Truly needed his three hours of sleep a night, so it’s sitting in the TiVo and most likely won’t be watched until all four hours of the premiere are in. My ass hurts already — must get a more comfortable couch.