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on December 13, 2012
LOVED the hell out of "Blood and Sand" and "Gods of the Arena". But the second season of the Spartacus saga (or unofficial THIRD season, depending how you look at it), called "Vengeance," well, not so much. This season, the bad outweighs the good.
1) Liam Mcintyre, the actor picked as the "replacement" Spartacus, pales in comparison to the original Spartacus played by the wonderful Andy Whitfield. Liam has none of the charisma, presence, personality, physical prowess or acting skills that Andy had. And consequently, the character Spartacus is now a total bore to watch.
2) Worse yet in the actor department, the wonderful actress Lesley-Ann Brandt (who played the character Naevia in "Blood" and "Gods") left the show and was replaced by the horrendously awful actress Cynthia Addai-Robinson. Whenever Cynthia Addai-Robinson is on-screen the show is unwatchable. Her acting is cringeworthy and she seems so out-of-place in comparison to every other actor on the show. The producers of the show just could not have cast a worse actress to replace Lesley-Ann Brandt as Naevia.
3) The action "style" of the show has gotten WORSE. Instead of toning down the stupid "300" style action scenes, in this season the producers dramatically increased the irritating super slow-motion action and ridiculous looking gushing geysers of fake looking blood. At this point the show might as well just become a cartoon or video game, because the action is just that goofy looking. There's just ZERO imagination or creativity going into the fights and violence of this show now.
4) The writing was very weak this season. Seems like the writers really struggled this time out to come up with decent story lines, and the stories they did come up with mostly felt either rushed, underdeveloped, overcooked or nonsensical. For example, the Seppius and Seppia characters seemed like great new additions to the show, but both were killed off, making their additions to the show seemingly pointless. Likewise, the storyline involving hot new blonde Chadara went NOWHERE (again she was killed off before her story could develop). And Lucy Lawless' character Lucretia really felt like she had little place in the season; her character turned into a mess and really served no purpose. Also, Spartacus's tiny "army" of rebellious slaves started off strong, planning attacks and pulling off miraculous rescues of other slaves, but then mid-season they just sort of bog down at a temple and just sort of sit there waiting to get attacked for a very long period. It became boring.
5) The expected "love story" between Spartacus and Mira also seemed to be a non-starter. It never developed into anything close to a love story, and then, spoiler alert, Mira dies, killing of any chance of a love story to bloom in the next (last) season. Similarly, the relationship between Crixus and Naevia went nowhere. The roller coaster relationship between Ilithyia and Glaber was the best "relationship" in the season, especially earlier on when Ilithyia was trying to leave Glaber.
Overall, a huge disappointment. But then the standards set were SO high. "Blood and Sand" and "Gods of the Arena" are just so awesome. It's hard for any show to maintain that level of greatness.