Spartacus is about a Thracian who served in the Roman auxiliary and through circumstances is forced to fight as a gladiator. Without revealing too much, the series draws a lot of influences from 300’s cinematography though it isn’t as well executed (especially the first episode). The first episode was clumsy and looked like a poor rip off of 300 but endure it a bit, and the stylized gore is just replaced by pure gore which still makes my body tense up when I see it.
The story is not a bad one, its easy to follow if rather predictable but sets the story and setting for the gladiatorial battles. Treachery is abound and a rather unexpected twist happens with Solonius 3/4 through the first season but it is otherwise without too much surprises. The ending is quite satisfying if also a bit predictable but basically this is just Gladiator (the one with Russel Crowe) combined with 300 which isn’t really a bad thing.
Did I also mention that there’s a lot of sex scenes? Yes of those there are plenty and although there’s a warning before each show that the gore and the sex is to portray historical accuracy of Roman society, the sex at times does feel a bit tacked on but with the bevy of beauties in the cast, I can hardly complain.
Character wise, unlike my review of Pacific, you do get some character depth especially with Lucretia (played by Lucy Lawless of Xena Warrior Princess fame) where she plays a wife, eager to elevate her family’s standing, loving of her husband yet also lustful, deceitful and opportunistic. Crixus is also another favourite of mine, playing first a bully and then a former champion, honourable yet also full of pride. Doctore is also a particularly likeable character. The hero however does not fare as well with Spartacus (played by a relative newcomer Andy Whitfield) is your typical brooding hero fueled with vengeance and a limited expression set (look of pain and look of ‘I’m a mean shit’).
As a whole, I enjoyed Spartacus thoroughly by embracing it for what it is…a man flick filled with fighting, gore and sex which does a decent job in satiating the void which was left by Gladiator. Don’t watch it with children, don’t watch it with the ladies, this is the kind of series you watch with your guy friends over packs of beer. I eagerly wait for Season 2.