spartacus: Blood and Sand Season 1 DVD Boxset
I watched this series with great reluctance, having been urged to do so by my 20 year old son. Episode 1 actually does it a disservice, being overly influenced by 300.Gratuitous, slo-mo violence and gore and a stunning palette of colours. I declined to watch it again.
As luck would have it, I walked into the room when episode 5 was on weeks later. Mocked, sat for a few mintues intending to depart. And was hooked. By the incredible dialogue, brilliant acting and excellent casting. I have watched every episode since. Last night, I saw the finale- we were actually clutching each other and shouting at the tv at times.
I would URGE people to see ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’. Take a deep breath as regards the violence and nudity. Because plot,dialogue and character-wise? This was redolent of the best of the Royal Shakespeare Company, or the National Theatre.
John Hannah- an actor I have never rated- was magnificent as Battiatus, the owner of the Ludus (gladiator camp).Cunning, ambitious,humourous, vicious. Villainous, yet at times getting the audience’s sympathy.Lucy Lawless was a revelation as his wife, Lucretia. I loved her in Xena, but would have pegged her as a light comedy actress. But here? She showed a range and power that made me long for some theatre producer to grab both her and Hannah and get them to do ‘MacBeth’.Yes, Lucy Lawless would make a phenomenal Lady Macbeth, based on her performance over this series.
Lawless and Hannah are playing complex,three dimensional characters. As are the rest of the cast. Ordinarily, in a show like this,you get a great lead character, then one or two good ones and the supporting characters are two dimensional. Not here. The writers-led by Stephen deKnight, fleshed out a good 15-20 characters. The casting directors then did an incredible job in finding the actors to portray them. Characters like Crixus, Barca, Varro, Ithylia, Doctore, Solonius, Naevia,Ashur, Mira, and of course Spartcus (Andy Whitfield) make this a powerful ensemble.
Experienced character actors who usually dont get to have the story focussed on them, took the opportunity and ran with it. The level of talent is on par with HBO’s ‘Rome’, and at times exceeds it.I grew up on ‘I,Claudius’ and would have said there would never be a series about historical events in ancient Rome that could match it.
‘Spartacus:Blood and Sand’ is ‘I,Claudius’ on steroids. Its ‘Rome’ on crack. Watching it as a viewer became addictive.
If the main actors are not nominated for Emmys,it will be a travesty. If I hear an episode got a Peabody Award, I would not be surprised.
About the Author
Rome: Women In Rome (HBO)