It’s not often that a show really surprises me, but I’m always pleased when it does, especially when I go into a show expecting something entirely different than how it ends up. Probably the biggest example of this for me is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My first impressions were the Valley Girl annoyances of the movie, and I assumed the TV show would be more of the same. I gave it a chance only because I was bored, and I fell in love with it.
That’s somewhat how I feel with Spartacus. I haven’t fallen in love with the show, but it defied expectations and the first season ended wonderfully.
I confess that I began watching the show for two reasons: blood and boobs. Yeah, they got me with that. And the pilot was so laughable. The amount of blood spilled is Tarantino-esque in its portrayal, and the obvious CGI used in spouting neck wounds or decapitations really takes you away from the story. But if you stick with it, as the story progresses it draws you in more, and the gallons of blood spilled each episode don’t distract you as much.
I think the show ends up being about staying true to yourself regardless of what is going on around you. That, and the more obvious theme of revenge. Both go hand-in-hand in this series. And these aren’t shown just in Spartacus’ story, but also in the stories of most of the other gladiators and slaves around him who get a moment or two to shine.
The entire season built up for the craziness that happened in the last half of the last episode of the season. I want to talk about the battle, the deaths, the shared moments between brothers (both of blood and gladiators), and the treachery, but then I’d give stuff away, and I don’t want to do that. Much of it comes as no surprise when it happens, but the WAY it happens is what makes it so strong and memorable.
If you’re at all interested in watching the show, first heed this quick disclaimer. There’s tons of blood and nudity (including full frontal female AND male) and cussing. It is not a show for the squeamish or the faint of heart, but if you don’t mind that stuff, then have at it, I say.