Spartacus is far from Rome

Clearly, HBO/BBC masterpiece Rome wasn't made in a day. Spartacus: Blood and Sand, on the other hand, looks like it was nail-gunned together in a few hours. Where there should be clever, funny dialogue there’s swearing and the pilot is saturated with slow motion sword swishing and blood spatter. Plus they’ve hired a cast who deliver lines like am-drams reading off an autocue. What a shambles.

Our first clue that Spartacus would be pure, not even ironically enjoyable, piffle was the channel that bought it. Acquisition by a cable station isn’t the death stamp it used to be, but still, only the most tubercular of nags turns up on Bravo.

In this deadly first episode we learn how Spartacus (Andy Whitfield) ends up as muscle for the Romans. And we look on, not really caring, as his wife (Erin Cummings) is kidnapped after some alfresco, glad-you’re-back-from-war sex with her unwashed hunk. Scenes with the pair provide most of the show’s unforgettably awful moments. “Keep me close to your thighs” heaves our warrior as he ties some purple chord round her drumstick, then gallops off to battle. “I’d have preferred something by Tiffany!” she might have yelled after him, but didn’t.

The slow motion fight scenes are, we assume, supposed to make you shrink back and feel nauseous. But their stylised sluggishness is so ludicrous the horror diffuses. Slowing down footage of blood exiting a barbarian makes it look like ketchup leaving a gladiator Ken doll. In no way does it amplify the gore. Clearly, the people in charge of CGI on Spartacus disagree, because this is how it is all the way through. If you intend to keep watching, perhaps record it and fast-forward the fight scenes.

Now, let’s talk about sex. There’s lots of it, and this has titillated critics and viewers in the US. Perhaps we’re desensitised over here but, hand on naughty bits, there’s nothing in Spartacus, episode one that could be categorised as anything more than squidgy, soft porn. There are some bare bosom shots, a bit of light, nude missionary and an obligatory background orgy that looks like a music video. From the coverage, we were at least expecting to see midgets pleasuring emperors and some frenzied, filthy rutting between slave girls. Maybe we need to keep watching. Though, frankly, this critic would rather spend a fortnight in the gladiatorial ring than witness another micro-snatch of this hopelessly puffed up twaddle.

But it’s not all bad: the costumes look nice. And there’s some lovely scenery.

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What dumb fucking cunts you and all these naysayers turned out to be.
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It was wriggn on the pilot episode because it was written for a UK audience, and that's all we'd seen.
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So May was when you wrote this and the entire series was complete before this. But you write an article about the pilot episode that wasnt really all that great? Watch the rest of the season than write another article. Rome is a great show, but i dont feel as connected with the characters like I did with Spartacus. Let me put it like this. Rome is playing in a sandbox. Spartacus is playing in the mud.
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ye, it was pretty bad, I would have to agree with this assessment, noting that when I saw the credits say Lucy Lawless, I couldn't work out where on earth she was in this pilot! Or maybe her character went awol after seeing how bad it was!
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Even though I count myself as a Spartacus fan, I'll be the first to admit that the Pilot is, Craig Parker's delightfully despicable turn as Glaber aside, a massive let down and no indication of the show that is to follow. Few of the actors seem to have their roles down pat in this first episode; the slow motion is overdone; the gore & obscenities are almost sickening, yet something made me pursue with the series. I'd advise anyone to do the same for the cast, most notably Any Whitfield, really grow into their roles, making the characters increasingly compelling. Additionally the violence/ sex begins to better serve the plot and one becomes almost desensitised to it eventually- all the better to enjoy the other more important elements of the show. I agree with StevieGstar, give Spartacus a chance because you will not be disappointed.
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I don't see how anybody can review a show purely based on one episode, I really can't. Now I didn't particularly like the first episode and probably shared a lot of the opinions in this review but I gave Spartacus a chance, and after episode 4, I was hooked. It continually gets better episode by episode, resulting in one of the best season finales I have ever seen. The dramatic increase in quality in Spartacus is quite amazing actually so I would urge everyone who'll watch on Bravo tonight to give it a chance beyond the first few episodes...it'll be worth it.
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So I have to agree with maoricrixus. I , like our esteemed critic here, was convinced by the first few episodes that Sparticus was the worst pile of drivel ever to be made. The blod was fake and silly, the line were bad, the actors wooden...



And yet, having just finished watching the entire first season, I came to...love? no...but I was definatly involved with the characters and interested in their fates. It's a question of context. Fresh from the fantastic drama which is Rome, Sparticus could not hpe to compair. As a historical Drama, Sparticus is a hopeless failure. So I reset my sights and try to view Sparticus through un-"Rome"-anized eyes. And what we get is a show with a poor begining which gets steadiy better until by the end you are fully invested. Or at least I was. The last episode of the season is...quite well done in my opinion, horrifying and liberating at the same time. As long as one realises that one is watching a bloody soap opera and not high drama and as long as one is willing to suffer the first three or four episodes, Sparticuse becomes worthy.
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As a matter of interest, I would ask you Ruth to please continue watching & give a report following each episode. I predict that your interest, like so many others who are now hooked on this show, will pique around Ep 5, then build with each episode beyond.
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This critic, like most before, will learn to eat humble pie. Spartacus is a series that just keeps on getting better and better & for those who are patient, becomes one of the best tv series you will have ever experienced. A series is an ongoing concern & surely there are concerns about episode one, but like a date that starts off badly, the romance you will inevitably share with this show, will sate & shock your senses.
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Spartacus Rules!!
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Watch the rest of the season, you can't judge a whole show by the pilot episode only. I didn't think much of the show when it began but it only got better and better. Don't be so quick to judge.
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Compared to reality shows it might be acceptable. Compared to Rome it is simply cheap.
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Gee, so don't watch it. If it is so bad then explain why it has proved to be so popular? It certainly isn't as bad as the reality TV dribble that comes out of America.
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