Spartacus Blood and Sand Official Review

Posted: December 15, 2010 in TV Reviews
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Okay, I’ve officially finished watching the entire first season of Spartacus Blood and Sand (Thanks Netflix!).

Check out my initial review!

Before I get into my official review, here is the rundown of the series storyline (without spoiling the fun for those who haven’t watched it:

Spartacus is a Thracian who, along with his countrymen is enlisted to the fight with the Romans.  As a result of an act of rebellion and abandonment, Spartacus is captured by the Romans and sentenced to death in the arena, while his wife is sold into slavery.  Spartacus escapes his execution by becoming victorious in the arena and is subsequently sold into gladiator slavery (as I call it anyway!) at the House of Batiatus.  Though he is very skilled, he proves to be very head strong, not forming too many friends in the gladiator camp.  After learning a few hard (and quite bloody) lessons, he focuses on becoming a successful gladiator with the promise of his wife by his master Batiatus.  Not only does he learn that things aren’t as clear cut as he thought, he soon realizes that the treachery, betrayel, and personal agendas of the gladiators and those who rule over them have proven very deadly.  Spartacus not only has to survive in the arena but in the House of Batiatus as well!

The series showed a great improvement from the first two episodes.  The CGI focusing on the blood and gore still continued but didn’t seem as arbitrary.  In many scenes it was quite necessary to show the gravity of the situation – I mean, Gladiator spectacles were indeed a bloody affair.  I’m such a fan of  sub plots and the ones in this series were great!  The way people and events became entangled with one another to lead to a big act of disloyalty and deception at its resolution kept me entrenched in the story line.  It wasn’t always about Spartacus, having each character have their section of the big story. 

Right off the bat, Spartacus proved to be one of my favorite characters and it wasn’t just because the story was all about him.  His character was well fleshed out, giving glimpses into his psyche amidst the blood and sex of the gladiator life.  He goes through major changes from trying to hold on to his Thracian identity to embracing his title of Champion of Capua, with the love of his wife being the source of it all.  As I mentioned in the brief summary, he is extremely rebellious in the beginning and he soon realizes that being a hot head all the time isn’t getting him anywhere.  When he begins to accept his life as a gladiator, he realizes that complete complacency and trust doesn’t turn out well in his favor either.  So he has to balance the two, to find his true path and calling in this life.  I enjoyed taking that journey with him and pleased that the writers didn’t make just an ass kicking brute!  Other characters I liked in the series included Spartacus best friend, Varro and the villa slaves Mira and Naevia.

The characters that I absolutely loved to hate included Ashur, who was a gladiator once but his physical ailment made him rely on his ability to be absolutely manipulative and vindictive.  I couldn’t stand him, which means the writer did a good job with his character!  Lucretia (played my fav girl Lucy Lawless) was another one who I wasn’t crazy about.  However, I had to admire the way she played the game, being able to play the people around her to whims and help her husband Batiatus achieve the power and glory he wanted.  Which brings me to the next character that I was really glad to see get his poetic justice in the end – Batiatus.  I actually liked him in the beginning, being very sympathetic to Spartacus and vowing to find his wife.  I thought he was a kinder slave master than one would expect, but like Spartacus, I was duped mid season and felt just as betrayed!  On the other side of the spectrum was Ilithyia, an upper class roman woman whose husband was the one to capture Spartacus.  She’s the epitome of an upper class snob and feels her status will protect her from everything and her secrets would never be revealed.  Needless to say, it doesn’t, and she ends up getting played by Lucretia and disowned by her husband.  She redeemed herself in my eyes in the last few minutes of the last episode, where she takes the opportunity to get back at those who walked all over her.  She gained brownie points for that!

In January, the prequel Gods of the Arena will air which tells the story of the House of Batiatus before Spartacus’s arrival. As for Season 2 Production of the next season was halted due to Andy Whitfield, (the handsome man who plays Spartacus) was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma during the season’s filming.  Though he responded well to treatment the cancer came back and as a result won’t be returning to the series.  I really hope he recovers and I am saddened he won’t be in season 2.  I just hope his replacement is just as good as he is!

I totally enjoyed this series and the last episode just left me hungry for season 2!  I’m really tempted to suscribe to Starz just so I can watch Gods of the Arena and the second season so I don’t have to wait for Netflix!

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