The plot, setting and costumes are nearly identical to those of the Stanley Kubrick 1960 version; however, this adaptation follows Howard Fast's novel more closely than does Kubrick's film. (Two of the more noticeable omissions of the new adaptation are the "I am Spartacus!" scene and Spartacus and his wife's reunion after battle.) The miniseries is shown as a story as a woman narrates to her son, who are later revealed to be Spartacus's wife and son.
A noticeable piece of dramatic license has Spartacus's son born exactly at the moment Spartacus dies in battle. As Marcus Crassus and Pompey Magnus are proclaimed co-consuls, the announcer calls Rome an Empire, when it was still an Republic at the time.