January 31, 2011

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena laughs at your high culture TV

"Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" is a show of glorious contradictions. It is jam packed of geysers of blood and insane violence but on the other hand it shows the toll that violence does on a persons psyche. It's full of graphic nudity and borderline pornographic sex but has some of the most developed romantic relationships on TV. It's plot-lines, while rooted in something borderline campy like "gladiators" are rich with deception, intrigue, and mystery. The characters, who are certainly act larger than life (see above) all have strong motivations and plot-lines both in each episode and the greater season. And finally all these things combine to create something that while you may feel slightly guilty you enjoy it, you cannot wait for each episode air.

"Gods of the Arena" is the prequel to "Blood and Sand" and yes, I know those titles sound bananas but hey it's about Gladiators, so relax huh? Tragically, "Gods of the Arena"  was originally to provide time for "Blood and Sand" star Andy Whitfield to recover from cancer. Unfortunately he hasn't recovered and has since been replaced by Liam McIntyre. It still isn't clear if any version of the titular character will appear in "Gods of the Arena," but I expect him to make a cameo.

Besides everything I mentioned in the first paragraph, the Spartacus shows on Starz (and streaming on netflix) represent a new kind of entertainment. It's bold entertainment that wears no disguise as it appeals to people's lust for violence, sex, and mayhem. It's the kind of entertainment that doesn't care if you think it's trashy, it knows that you'll love it either way.