Spartacus: Blood and Sand - Season 1
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Betrayed by the Romans. Forced into slavery. Reborn as a Gladiator. The classic tale of the Republic’s most infamous rebel comes alive in the graphic and visceral new series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Torn from his homeland and the woman he loves, Spartacus is condemned to the brutal world of the arena where blood and death are primetime entertainment. But not all battles are fought upon the sands. Treachery, corruption, and the allure of sensual pleasures will constantly test Spartacus. To survive, he must become more than a man. More than a gladiator. He must become a legend.
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It is such a Roman Tragedy, encompassing the moral, ethical, and human traits that led to the downfall of Roman society. The class system, utilization of slaves for all manner of degrading acts, and the prideful antics of a chosen few are all the ingredients that make
up the drama that is Spartacus.
The battle scenes on the sands of the arena are incredible, the battle scenes in the lutes' and the among the gladiators are even more incredible. There is a lot of blood and guts but no worse than 300 or Walking Dead at time.
I loved it, it has something for everyone, and Andy Whitfield is or was Spartacus
There are too many tidbits of historical accuracy to mention, but I will point out a few. In the arena sequences, the gladiators are shown with their sword arms being padded. This is true to form as the Romans loathed a quick bout. The last thing they wanted to see was a gladiator with his sword arm disabled as he would not be able to fight back against his adversary.
Also, the gladiators did collect their sweat, mostly for wealthy Roman matrons who wanted to use it to remove wrinkles & improve their health. One of the gladiators is a freeman instead of a slave. This has historical veracity as well as occasionally people in dire financial straits would voluntarily become gladiators and bet on themselves to get out of debt.
Not a whole lot is known about the historical Spartacus, other than the fact that he was a Thracian slave who was trained to be a gladiator at a gladiatorial school (known as a ludus) in the Roman city of Capua. This allows the writers a great deal of leeway to ad-lib on history. The result is a remarkable series which takes its time to slowly unfurl the storyline.
For a series that stars a bunch of buffed up dudes, the acting is pretty darn good. As a matter of fact, it's downright exceptional. Andy Whitfield has a fabulous screen presence and none of the actors portraying gladiators come across as big dumb oafs (thankfully they didn't cast the bland John Cena for the series!). As was the case for 300 (Widescreen Edition), the actors go through a month long boot camp to become ripped.
SPARTACUS scores very high on the skin-o-meter, which is always a good thing. Also, the gladiator bouts are not for the squeamish. It's good to see that Lucy Lawless has no qualms about nudity, now that her XENA days are over. The series does a terrific job of really taking us inside the ludus with all of its brutality & debauchery.
This is a series that is bound to be appealing to both men & women. Men will love it due to all of the action & nudity, while women will be drawn to all of the muscle-bound jocks. For those who are interested in a fictional account of a female gladiator ludus, I would highly recommend Gladiatrix. If Roman history is your gig, then this series is most assuredly for you!
I am a huge fan of Rome. HBO has always prided themselves on attention to details for all their series and the expense of that detail killed Rome. Had HBO trusted in the power of good story telling Rome would still be airing on Sunday nights.
The gods will not allow the same fate for Spartacus. I hope the gods favor Andy Whitfield as well. His emotional connection to the character had me pressing play well into the wee hours of the morning and I cannot imagine the series continuing without him. Spartacus the character could have easily been written to dominate this story but that is not the case. The ensemble cast shines in all the dark corners of the Villa and the ludus due to strong story telling and character development. Anyone who isn't moved by "legends" to watch "the thing in the pit" immediately after wards just doesn't know a good story when one is being shown to them.
While the characters are based on true people the events are mostly fictitious so a history lesson this is not. However it is grand story telling in the form of film and if you watch the entire first season you will be rewarded with a unapologetic tale of freedom. I highly recommend this series to any adult that enjoys a journey of the heart, mind and soul.