Watching Spartacus

Finally got around to watching Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

It’s just as bloody and sexual as I’d been told… but what very few have mentioned to me is how fine the writing is. Great, revealing dialogue. These are very, very fine character arcs. Reversals, double-crosses, surprises, slow burns… it’s just really impressive stuff. The acting is likewise top-notch, sometimes amazing.

I tried watching a little bit of it with my wife at my side and, alas, she couldn’t see past the stylized violence — or all the swearing. There’s a lot of both. But just as I learned to look past some of the conventions of anime that struck me as peculiar, I just tune out some of the other stuff. Your mileage may vary. It’s pretty manly.

Highly recommended, with appropriate caveats.

4 Comments on “Watching Spartacus

  1. This is pretty much what I’ve been told to expect from the show. Great writing, but content that might not be for the whole family. Which creates problems as far as finding time to watch goes. My wife wouldn’t want to see this, so I would have to watch after she goes to bed (late). Still, this is one I’ve been wanting to see for a while.

  2. I agree, although for me it took the first three episodes before it really had me hooked. I had watched the first two once before, and easily sat it aside at that point. The next time I gave it a go many months later, after the 3rd, I plowed through the rest very quickly. It could be that it wasn’t so much an issue of momentum through those episodes, but of my mindset coming into it, that made the difference. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I gave it a second shot. I actually liked the prequel season, Gods of the Arena, a bit better. My wife was equally reluctant about trying it but, once she started, she got through it even more quickly than I.

    Jason Thummel

  3. Yeah, I watched this expecting a quick dose of disposable thrills and, while it delivered the expected skin and over-the-top combat, I was taken aback at how strong the storytelling was.

    And the sad fact is that the surface gloss of frequent nudity and arterial spray is so shiny that many viewers simply cannot see past it. I know a number of people who just couldn’t accept the show as anything but low-brow Grindhouse thrills, and thought little of it.
    Seems a shame.


    • I like it well enough I’ll probably be writing a fan letter to the writer. I’m super impressed. I’ll be curious to see if the quality carries through to the other seasons, but I have such faith in his storytelling skills now that I imagine that it will remain consistently good.

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