Steven S. DeKnight (2010-2013)
I wasn’t aware this series existed, until one day I was channel surfing and stumbled upon it, seeing only 30 seconds and thinking, “haha that looks dumb”. Then later on I was bored and decided to watch the first episode. Little did I know it would become one of my favorite TV shows…
A Thracian joins the Roman auxiliary to protect his homeland and his wife. Betrayed by power-hungry legatus Glaber, he deserts but is ultimately captured and enslaved, and his wife is taken from him. Miraculously surviving his execution in the coliseum in Capua, now called Spartacus, he ends up in the gladiator school run by overly-ambitious lanista Batiatus. There starts his journey, that will see him shake the very foundations of Rome.
The Bad: with that many hours of content, it won’t be 100% perfect, but nothing comes to mind as being really bad, maybe some small pacing issues or varying quality (like going from “awesome” to “just good” episodes)
Because it doesn’t have a crazy high budget some CGI doesn’t look very good
The Good: The characters, they’re just so good! you get fully invested in the heroes AND their foes. The cast is perfect, and it’s a small miracle that the tragedy of Andy Whitfield’s death did not stop the show, Liam McIntyre assumes the mantle and does a fantastic job
I am in love with the way characters talk, in this odd formal-English-with-latin-words. It really gives an identity to the show.
Visually it takes inspiration from the likes of Gladiator and 300, and it works well in the brutal gory fight scenes.
There is an abundance of violence and sex (and sometimes both at the same time), but that is aligned with the fundamental way the show presents itself: everything is on a sort of fragile overdrive. The fights, the sex, the speeches, the schemes, the betrayals, the friendship, the love. Every moment of the show is keeping that insane level of intensity, even in the more quiet moments, the actors go all in. It could have been a disaster if it was on and off, but because the makers stayed true to what makes the show great, it works perfectly.
You can tell how much the people who made it loved this show, I can feel the passion!
My opinion: I’m rarely objective when talking about stuff I enjoy, so I won’t even try to give objective reasons.
Spartacus is an epic tale of blood and sand, a raging fight for freedom and dignity.
I truly love the show, I’ll probably watch it again many many times.