Well truth be told after Blood and Sand I was not happy with this
retroactive (prequel) even though I was fully aware of the reasons for
hurriedly rushing it to production.
While the absence of Andy W. does cost the production that "instant
connection" he had with viewers (one of the most sympatico actors I
have ever seen, period) the producers brought a "fierce determination
to purpose" and forged this into a first-class series despite absence
The rules of drama have not changed since the days of Ancient Greece or
Rome. If you can build and build and build some more, the audience will
naturally follow. And if they follow, you own them.
The multiple climaxes here (in the arena, in the chambers underneath,
in the sick room) are mesmerizing. I was hooked.
And, being hooked, I realized I should amend the originally harsh
review I gave this sub-series. All things considered, it is quite
Special mention to Marisa Ramirez. Though it was clear the camera loved
her, I began to count the actual minutes of screen time and realized
that she was sometimes getting more exposure than the stars. Her
beauty, stunning in its own right, adds just right balance of
exhibitionism and innocence to a tale of ancient Rome. It may be a
supporting role, but it is one for the ages.
Ex-Buffy alumnus Steven McKnight proves that, like the men in the
actual arena, he can hold his own under personal challenge.
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