Thursday, November 4, 2010
My pick for Show Of The Year ~
Spartacus: Blood and Sand hopes to appeal to your bloodlust and the other, more common lust. Anyone who has a problem with violence, nudity, sex, profanity or anything else Rated R-worthy should tune out.
This series is loosely based on what little is known about the warrior Spartacus before his role in the Gladiator War against the Roman Republic. It's a superhero origin story set in Ancient Rome, if you will.
Spartacus (Andy Whitfield) is a free man who crosses the wrong Roman army leader, is parted from his wife Sura and condemned to die by the hand of gladiators. When he defeats all four of his foes, however, an ambitious owner of a ludus (gladiatorial school) purchases him in hopes of turning Spartacus into a successful and profitable fighter.
The series initially feels like an homage to "300." Besides using green screen technology, "Spartacus" embraces the most primal behaviors: violence and sex.The violence, not your average choreographed hack-fest, is a larger-than-life character in itself. In fact, even more technology is used to glamorize the sprays, spurts, fountains, and pools of blood. Although there's enough realism to elicit an occasional wince, the violence is overblown enough to allow for some desensitization. Perhaps this isn't a good thing in real life, but this is supposed to be escapist TV.
Cut to the second reason for capitol Rated R : sex. Bare breasts are as common as bared shoulders, and apparently double-stick tape had not yet been invented. Whether it's a beautiful, almost balletic loving union between man and wife or earthy, less sentimental encounters between a socially superior Roman and a slave. There are plenty of public displays as well, sometimes for deliberate, voyeuristic purposes. You've been warned ... or enticed as the case may be.
Don't worry - the series makes way for enough plot to give our poor, overstimulated eyes a rest. There's a bit of political maneuvering, fierce rivalries, the examination of slavery vs. free will, ludus-yard hazing and even romance. In fact, the heart of the show is Spartacus' desire to reclaim his wife, and for this he must become a legendary gladiator to gain leverage with his owner.
There are some great moments between the characters and some major tension building throughout the show, that seems to be close to exploding at any moment. The manipulation between two of Spartacus' leading ladies: Lucretia and Ilithyia is enticing and the competition between Spartacus and Capua's former champion, Crixus, is just plain entertainment.
Mike and I couldn't resist a Lucy Lawless (Xena) comeback or a passionate fight to the death (for mike) and a few toned, loincloth wearing warriors (for me).
You may not be into this type of show...some aren't. BUT for us, it's pure indulgent premium cable bliss.
P.S. We are very worried for the Spartacus star, Andy Whitfield, as he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and may not be able to return for a second season of the show. I can't picture anyone else in this role...SUCK!
This leads me to give a "shout-out" to my other favorite (Showtime) series DEXTER. Michael C. Hall was also diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and is now in remission. Thank you God! What is going on with the stars of my favorite shows?!