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This is not a series for everyone and many people will find a lot in it
offensive. They will have good cause. If you are under 16 you should
not watch it. Why am i so excited by it then: For the ones that want to
see fights, blood, brutality, sex, men looking like gods, blood,
erotica, excitement, blood, swearing, allot of skulls being bashed,
sweat, savagery, arena fights, honor, friendships intrigues,
assassinations, and lets not forget some more blood, this is a show for
It is brutal and it is one of the best shows out there. It is not a soup opera and if you are one of those people that got excited by a show like CAPRICA skip this one.
This show makes your hart race. The first episode is the weakest, but by episode 4 which i just saw i am swearing by all the Roman Gods that this is what i was born to watch. It is raw bloody entertainment!
This show is so unique, it is in a category with THE WIRE, thought they have noting in common and their uniqueness lies in completely different places, they are bot light years away of what is being made.
For a low budget with computer graphics, after the first weaker episode, the show becomes so realistic, by episode 4 it has griped me in its razor sharp clutches and the downward spiral of darkness is leaving bloody marks on my soul!
If you like it you will love it, if you don't like it you will hate it.
For me the pilot was something of a mix between the graphic violence of
300(it even includes somewhat similar battle sequences), the sex of
300, the idea of Gladiator and a bit of Rome. I almost stopped watching
it and I'm glad I didn't do it. People would see the first episode and
dismiss it as "gore and sex" time-wasting perversity. And they would be
mistaken. The plot, filled with at first glance one-dimensional
characters, is so varied, so deep, full of plot twists and
unpredictable outcomes that you may find yourself glued to the
screen.The sex is still there, the sexy images as well(muscular men and
beautiful women), but the characters have gained so much depth and
perspective, that you can't say someone is just white or black(with two
exceptions). There are so many shades of gray in between, that most of
the times even if you want to hate a character for plotting against the
protagonist, you find yourself siding with him on another level. The
protagonist is not a saint, the "bad guys" show they can love and
cherish, and you see the other side of mighty Rome, the one not shown
in "Rome". This show, even after the less than spectacular pilot, can
be and for the moment is great and it's not the gore or sex that make
In 300, Rome and even Gladiator, to which Spartacus: Blood and Sand is usually compared, the main characters are free men and women, people who act on their generally free will(yes, even in Gladiator). This show is different. Spartacus: Blood and Sand displays the Roman world through the eyes of the downtrodden, the helpless and the people without rights - the enslaved, THE underdogs, who eventually tried to defy the might of Rome, who lost and lost in an epic and tragic way and in their fall still achieved greatness and immortality. Among the nudity, spilling blood and duel sequences, Spartacus: Blood and Sand shows the viewer why freedom is such a cherished thing, what happens when we lose it and why people throughout time have risen to regain it and died pursuing it or defending it.
Some people mock the characters for being "one-dimensional" and demand more complexity. Others have voiced their contempt of the less than accurate representation of "the complex social system of Rome". Spartacus: Blood and Sand does not seek to represent the social system. For the people at the bottom of the ladder it was irrelevant whether Sulla was killing senators or Pompeus was gaining power. As for the one-dimensional characters, let me pound the obvious and say this - when you have to kill a friend at the command of your master, or be killed as well, there's no possibility for inner struggle or soul searching. You can't really disobey your master when humiliation, rape, torture and death lie just a whim away.
It's early to say definitely whether Spartacus: Blood and Sand will be a great TV show. It certainly is for now and gets better and better. Unless the creators manage to screw up gigantically, which they have avoided so far, this child of Starz can become epic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A lot of people compare "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" to "Rome", however the 2 have nothing in common. "Spartacus" was never designed to even remotely resemble "Rome". While "Rome" is a drama about politics and conspiracies, "Spartacus" is one man's journey. The series is inspired by the story of the gladiator Spartacus, who led the gladiators rebellion and who died in their last stand in southern Italy. Although there are numerous facts about his deeds there is nothing about the man himself. Even the notion that he was from Thrace isn't a fact. The 2 inspiration points for the series are clearly "Gladiator", for the concept, a man fighting for something and using the crowd of the arena to achieve his goal, and "300" for the special effects. Although in the first 2 episodes it was more about fights and sex scenes, things changed in from the third becoming more focused on the character and toning down the violence and nudity. The show feels different from anything at the moment, and if it keeps improving it could easily become one of the best shows around.
Another great show out of New Zealand! Okay, so the language is a bit much but the battle sequences rock and Craig Parker as a nasty, Roman lusting for power, just works! There's a lot of blood but the effect is cool and it gives the show that graphic novel quality that we've enjoyed recently in films such as 300. Andy Whitfield plays a very raw and passionate Spartacus. Definitely not a show for the faint of heart or those who are easily offended by blood, sex or violence. Should we really expect less given that Roman Empire of that time was brutal? Folks looking for a history lesson need to tune in to the History Channel. This show is intended to be entertaining not a documentary so if it is historical fact you are looking for you're best to keep moving. If, however, you want to be entertained by raw masculinity of the gladiator from one of the most brutal eras in human history this show is definitely for you.
I've been looking very forward to the Starz original series "Spartacus:
Blood and Sand." And I'm happy to say that if you were looking forward
to it, you're in for a wild ride.
They tell you right in the front of this show that this is meant to be an intense depiction of Rome. And it is to a certain point. There is definitely a ton of blood, language, and sexuality (one of the female characters is fully naked), but it is all there for a reason and it defines the characters, shows you who they are.
Many won't like this the same way they didn't like 300. And I can say that no one will be able to watch this without thinking about 300, and that's the biggest flaw. It has a speed up slow motion and blood flowing everywhere. It is one of the most graphic TV shows I've ever seen.
However, if you liked 300 (which I did) and you see the slow motion as a way to rise the intensity and that the graphic violence/sexual content is meant to connect with the characters towards some degree, you will enjoy this show. But it's not only a story full of blood and gore and sex and nudity; it also has a lot of character to it and a lot of substance.
Andy Whitfield is brilliant as "Spartacus." He drives the character and makes you feel for him. His acting is perfect. In fact, all the actors are incredible, including Lucy Lawless, Craig Parker, and John Hannah.
The battle scenes in this show are outstanding. Again, very bloody, 300 style battles, but still entertaining. The gladiator fights are well shot and very gritty.
I know it's television and the visuals aren't always the best, best the visuals in this show are gorgeous. There was one moment where it looked like a video game, but only for a second.
it's not only a story full of blood and gore and sex and nudity; it also has a lot of character to it and a lot of substance.
So if you like sword and sandal epics and you don't mind gore and nudity, Spartacus: Blood and Sand is the show for you. I personally thought it was a fun, kick ass, macho show, and while it does have a little too much sex and reminds me a lot about 300, it'll definitely keep my attention for the next episode.
Spartacus: Blood and Sand airs on Friday at 10 o' clock on Starz.
Yes, the show starts out dull and mindless. Yes, the show offers full
frontal nudity. Yes, it's bloody violent (if you measure it in buckets
of blood). No, it is NOT a storyless show.
To get it out of the way: If you can't stand a naked breast; skip this one. I know how some people are very sensitive to naked skin, but I guess a chopped off head is OK? (Yes, I'm kicking your way you "Oh, that's Janet Jacksons covered up breast on live TV. I have to call the TV network"-people).
Each episode added a new layer as I see it. The characters grow in dept, and the conspiracies grow ever more entangling. I always wanted to see more after the second episode. The show exploded! For a show like this to even work the producers had to make a choice between kiddy-TV and adult TV. They chose the latter and hit the damn spot. Spartacus Blood and sand is one of the few shows that is just for us "big kids". I don't care if people are naked or headless on TV, as long as it suits the show. In this case it had not worked without it. Praise the gods that someone had the guts to think past the double morals of todays television and just press on! Rome was no flower-covered heaven on earth.
The acting can seem stale at first, but each actor grows in their role as the show progresses. A few of them impressed me, as I had deemed them to be c-graded actors a long time ago (Xena, anyone?). Some of the stars of this show seem to have found a show that suited them as much as they suited the roles they had to fill.
To avoid spoilers I will not say much about the story. What I can say is: The story evolves at the same rate as the actors/characters. Nearing the end you will beg for more! It's hard even to catch your breath after what I have just seen: The last episode offers the greatest form of chatarsis I have ever witnessed/felt in a TV show.
I will root for Spartacus in season 2 (and 3, and 4).
Sorry about the spelling errors and such.
I can't stand much of whats on TV. What I love about this show is the
amount of sensuality and poetry it brings to the table, while not being
sensory with respect to sexuality, violence, and ethics. I usually hate
romance, but the romance in this movie is genuine, there are several
forms of love and lust that are identified in the episodes. The fact
that they have homosexuality in it despite possible conflicting
interest--what would seem to attract small target audience--does
suggest a good portrayal of sexuality at that time (Although i doubt
that only a couple of them would be subject to homosexual lust because
many of the mentors and mentees mated at that time).
As a previous rater stated, the characters have shades of evil and good. Their ethics seems to match what values were imbedded in the roman civilization. The reason there is so much blood and it over indulges is because the show not only explicitly includes sensual dialogue, but the way it is directed and the tactics of capturing violence and glory are not 2D and speak to its sensuality. Bottom line: if you are a passionate person, you will enjoy the dramatic dialogue and poetry, the sexuality, and the brutality.
Like the gladiatorial games it draws from, 'Spartacus - Blood and Sand'
is a spectacle of violence, gore and sexy naked bodies.
That's why it's such fun.
'Spartacus BaS' definitely has its roots in the Raimi & Tapert school of "fun", though.
Both '300' and 'Gladiator' are often over-rated; like 'Spartacus BaS' they are also "fun" movies that weren't brain-dead yet didn't require much more than simply sitting back and enjoying them. While I rank the likes of 'Rome' VERY highly, it was more of a period drama (like 'I, Claudius' before it) than an action series, and it boasted a far higher budget and attempt at realism than BaS.
Unlike some shows (even many excellent ones) the episodes are extremely well-paced, never feeling overlong yet a lot happens in each; every one almost feels like a mini-movie, and while we are left wanting more, there are so far none of the forced "cliffhangers" shows like 'Lost' and '24' make us suffer through over and over again.
On the casting front, I'm very glad (and not just for the obvious reasons) that Lucy Lawless was so up for this, as she really has fun with her (admittedly Attia-like) role, also proving to mainstream audiences that Xena was not just a "fluke", while John Hannah lends weight to proceedings and Viva Bianca really "gets" what this is about and provides an enormous addition to the sense of fun and enjoyment as she plays the kind of spoiled rich girl that crosses genres. Special note to Craig Parker too, who was so woefully underused in 'Legend of the Seeker' (playing perhaps the most neutered villain of all-time), obviously relishing being the "big bad" and playing a right bastard we love to hate. In fact, fans of Australian and New Zealand made shows will recognize a lot of the cast, and its great to see cameos by some old RenPics favorites.
While the overuse of CGI gets annoying (it reminds my of late 90's "movie" video games like 'Wing Commander III' when ALL the sets were green screens!) I'll take that over NO scope or action (even 'Rome' - though for their own reasons - never went the "huge scale" path with massive Colosseum events or field battles).
Spartacus (played by Andy Whitfield with just the right mix of determination and self-pity) gets on my nerves a bit for being such a blatant idiot at times, making both typical "movie mistakes" ("let the bad guy live", etc.) and very human ones. But it is very nice, on the other hand, to have a "heroic" series/character who is still very flawed and (thankfully) far from the best fighter in the show.
'Spartacus BaS' takes a while to get going, and the pilot definitely visually and stylistically feels more '300' than perhaps it should, but once we get to the training school, we're in much more solid territory.
It isn't original... those who've played the PS2 game 'Colosseum - Road to Freedom' will find a lot of similarities, as will fans of 'Gladiator' of course. But this is something to expect in a genre that is both based in history and has a fairly narrow list of (decent) fellow entries.
So far, I've seen only three episodes, but - for what I understand to be a "startup" network's first big show - I think it succeeds wonderfully and shows great promise... I'm looking forward to where we will be taken next with these characters.
So long as they keep things entertaining, bloody and sexy yet refrain from going so far as to be TOO gratuitous, I think it will be a big hit.
its been said many times on this site but i want to add by voice,
Spartacus is the TV show now and one of the best ever, along with Sons
sure it started life as a 300 clone but now the story line, acting, characters, plots twists, everything are beyond the best TV and movies ever made. sure, that's a bold claim, but how long does a movie last, even multi-part epics like Godfather and LOTR only last a total of about 7 hours. in only 1 season of Sparticus we've seen characters evolve and schemes develop.
the script writers must be some kind of gods to come up with this. like many, i love that the bad guys aren't all bad, the good guys not all good. all TV and movie writers should study this to see how real characters are developed and stories created.
and the acting, where to start, Andy Whitfield and John Hannah are brilliant and Peter Mensah just owns the screen every time he's on camera. That guy should be the next Denzel or Samuel L Jackson.
and as to those who say 'too much sex, too much violence' i say 'bring it on!'
Well, this one is going to be a hit for Starz. It will sell good on DVD's also. As far as I think will happen. Visually it is a kind of hybrid between "Gladiator" and "300". The story is way more action and fight oriented than HBO's "Rome" for example. We all know the story - the enslaved Thracian (from the lands where the country Bulgaria is right now), who fought his way trough the arenas of Rome and eventually lead a army of followers against Rome. How he died is unknown. We'll see how Starz will show that in a year. They started season 2, probably estimating that Season 1 will be a success. What I saw from the first movie, I also think "Spartacus" will make it big time. Lot's of blood, skin and all other components needed for a good ratings. Good luck for those new series.
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