An Honest Look At ‘Spartacus – Blood And Sex, Er Sand’

Spartacus –Blood and Sand tries to be a lot of things: Epic, violent, edgy, dramatic, sexy, and exciting. And, while it does meet some of those goals the one thing it miserably fails at is actually being a show that is currently worth watching.

Spartacus comes to your cable provided homes via the people at the Starz Network, who you might remember as the people that gave us their other, “original” series “Crash;” a program that was loosely based on the fantastic Academy Award winning film of the same name. In fact, the show was so loosely based that it actually featured none of the same production team, actors, or ideas that made the movie good.

It’s quite a surprise, knowing this, that the same people – who defiled a great movie’s namesake and used it to drive off and over the Unoriginal-Idea Cliff and into the Forgettable TV Abyss – have surfaced once again; only this time to serve us a Friday night helping of carbon-copied, gladiator action.

The show, which is doing a 13 week run that ends April 16th, is like watching a film school director take all of the good and awesome things out of movies like 300 and Gladiator and then smash them together until all of the things that made those movies great have been fractured and blown away right before your angry, bleeding eyes.

I’m not exaggerating, too much, I feel. After all, the show takes words like “freedom,” “slavery,” “justice,” “eternity,” “honor” and a dozen or so other clichéd words we’ve heard a billion times in other epic films; and instead of coming up with new and unique ways to fit those ideas and words into the plot and dialogue, the show’s producers just chuck them around like teenage boys throwing ninja stars at a bedroom wall – a wall that just happens to be covered with movie posters from Ridley Scott films. And so, whatever movie poster the producer’s shuriken hits is then copied, poorly, on screen, and the word written on the throwing star is then uttered by the supporting cast at least 12,000 times over the next 50 minutes.

These All Have Lines From Braveheart Written On Them. Just Cause.

Yes, this review has been a little harsh so far, but that’s only because I feel like it could be a fantastic show…if it only would do a few things differently – like try to do its own thing, for starters. Don’t get me wrong, for as many things that I don’t like about Spartacus there are an almost equal number of things that I actually do enjoy. The show has undeniable potential, and if I didn’t think so I wouldn’t even bother writing about it (see: my missing review of The Jersey Shore).

One of the things I see as a great benefit to the show is the acting talent that fills it to the brim. I mean, you have Lucy Lawless, aka Xena – Warrior freaking Princess on board, who actually can act quite well, surprisingly enough; and the show features her in a role that is just begging to be explored by her talent and a competent set of writers. As of yet, though, her character has been restrained by poorly written scripts as well as poorly paced episodes, and Xena has been kept under the proverbial porch without getting the chance to let out her warrior scream.

For instance, in the most recent episodes she has shown the viewers just how devious and manipulative her character, Lucretia, can be; but every time the episode starts to build up her momentum it cuts to a scene where she is used just for window dressing during, yet another, Roman party that her and her husband are hosting.

Not From The Show. Just Awesome Lucy.

(On that note: Starz. Listen to me. I don’t want to see Roman people having parties anymore. You’re done. That’s enough.)

Another one of the actors on the show who has real promise is Andy Whitfield, who plays the title role of Spartacus – though in this incarnation Spartacus is not his real name, but instead the name given to him by a Roman senator after his first win as a gladiator. Every time the show gives Whitfield a serious bit of dialogue to chew on –  a short monologue, for example, that undeniably wets his appetites for revenge just as much as our own – we, the viewers, can see the fire, compassion, and strength just behind his eyes. No, it’s not CGI (more on that below), and it’s not a camera trick…the guy can just really act. He is one of the only reasons I would even think about recommending this show to anyone, and I have a strong feeling that he’s going to be a huge star one day.

But, just like they do to Lucy “Xena” Lawless, the producers and writers seem to shorten all the scenes that would actually develop his character into one we could really care about, be interested in and sympathize with. Instead, every fifteen minutes or so, Starz execs order Spartacus’ character to stop being interesting, refuse to let Whitfield act his way out of a CGI coliseum nightmare, and then proceed with doing something completely stupid with their show. Like, most recently, the script called for Spartacus to get all dolled up (complete with a charade mask and covered head to foot in gold-colored paint), and then, to top it all off, they have him perform strange, uncomfortable-to-watch sex with a masked woman. For three straight minutes. Really, Starz?

Looking Blissfully To The Left

Stanley Kubrick might have loved to watch it, (he did direct the original Spartacus, after all), but personally, I became so frustrated just watching that particular episode, because once again I was forced by the show to just sit back and watch naked human bodies collide for no reason. In slow motion, nonetheless. If the execs want to throw in sex that’s fine by me (honestly); but how about instead of devoting so much time to saying and filming the “F word” every four seconds you let us viewers watch characters interact with one other in ways that would make us actually care if their bodies were grinding pelvises.

Which brings us to the sex element of the show. Yes, I’m sure some of you just got really excited when I mentioned the show contains sexual material, as well as almost endless nudity; and even I’ll admit that I got excited the first time I saw the Starz “AC, N, V, L” content rating pop up on my TV; however, by the end of episode four I was honestly sick of seeing anything sexual in nature on the show.

Now, I have to quickly say, in a very gentle manner, that I am not a prude in any way, shape or form. I enjoy on screen sex and nudity as much as the next guy in my demographic will admit (when not around females or family members); but Spartacus just takes it to a level where I find myself saying, repeatedly, “why?!”

In any given episode there will be at least four sex scenes, each one taking up about 2-5 minutes of screen time; on top of numerous female frontal nudity shots; then some male frontal nudity shots; then some see-through female garments; then some male see-through garments (what, why?!); and then, as I mentioned above, some strange puppet-master-like sex scene intended to shock and awe.

The first episode, for example, featured Xena, and her husband, Batiatus, played by The Mummy’s funnyman John Hannah, getting “warmed up” and “stimulated” by their slaves before ditching their individual slave “helpers” and consummating their marriage for the 4,405th time that hour (I’m guessing). Is it true that Roman’s did things like that, and is the show just trying to be edgy, while also historically accurate? I don’t know. I haven’t had the courage to Google it yet; but I do know that if you want more than just sexually frustrated males turning into your show you’re going to have to tone the nudity and sex thing down just a little bit. Honestly, right now Starz producers have the sex on Spartacus turned up to eleven. And, while I personally don’t care about the adult content, I do care if it starts taking away from the actual content.

At Least They're Clothed In This One

This brings me to the next issue I have with the show which is the violence – specifically the gore and blood. Once again, I have to assure you that I love both violence and gore in my movies and TV shows. Planet Terror, for example is one of my favorite films of the last three years, and it had some amazingly graphic violence and gore – stuff that was just so over the top you couldn’t believe they got away with it. But, what Planet Terror and other movies like it have done is establish that the violence is meant to be over the top, tongue in cheek and ultimately just for laughs. Even the film 300, from which Spartacus – Blood and Sand “borrows” its cinematography style and largely CGI’d set designs, got away with excessive blood and gore because it was based on a comic book and the director, Zack Snyder, treated the film as such.

Blood and Sand, however, throws in all of this CGI blood, sex and violence while trying to keep a straight face and remain a “serious” drama. Maybe that’s not what the producers and creator initially wanted, but a serious drama is what they now have. They’ve already thrown in too many plot twists, backstabbings, and under-the-table deals to make the show anything but a serious, hour-long gore fest.

The violence, in case you’re confused, is not like the gore or guts seen in the realistic opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, but instead the gore in Spartacus appears cartoon-ish and is very much out of place. It’s violence you’d expect to see in a comic book or anime, but without any of the fun and wit those two mediums are notorious for. Spartacus just has an over the top, ludicrous amount of blood and flying limbs (and male genitalia in one episode), and it doesn’t work well for the serious tone the producers have chosen to give the show as a whole.

In regard to the action scenes overall, every time there is any violence or fighting the editors cut to slow motion sequences at least twelve or fifteen times. I guess they do it so we don’t have to use our TiVo sets to rewind and figure out that two guys in a gladiator themed show are actually fighting for once. But the slow motion gets so ridiculous at times that the action scenes actually become some of the most boring scenes in a whole episode. I’m sorry, Starz, but there is nothing exciting about a man jumping at another man for five minutes. Speed it up – heck, borrow from Gladiator if you have to – but do something to make the fight scenes fun and make your audience get on the edge-of-their-seats.

I Could Be Epic

Overall, my main complaint is that the show just doesn’t know where it wants to go or what it wants to be. It has already been renewed for a second season (in fact, it was renewed before the pilot even first hit the air), and it’s my hope that the people over there at Starz will try to fix this bleeding program before it’s lost into the files of time with the likes of “Every Good Show Fox Has Ever Canceled.”

It really does have some promise, and it’s my hope that the execs can figure out a good way to stay “edgy” and “adult” while still allowing for some other demographics to not immediately get turned off by the sex and violence- at least before they even have a chance to discover the characters and great acting abilities of Lucy “Xena” Lawless and Andy Whitfield.

Spartacus, the actual person and legend from Roman myth, was a gladiator that led a rebellion that stood up to the mighty Roman armies, and it’s that kind of bad-assery that I want to see conveyed on a week by week basis on my TV set. I don’t want to see yet another, pointless gladiator fight (Tip: We already know the outcome…it’s a TV show with the lead character’s name in the freaking title, remember?); or have to sit through watching another Roman nobility party (Starz, seriously. Don’t. That’s enough.); or have to watch pointless sex scenes that, while admittedly hot, don’t progress or add to the overall story in any way.

What I want to see in season 2 are the producers actually using the acting and writing talent that’s available out there and wield those tools to push the show into a realm of good TV that is comparable to dramas on HBO and Showtime. Spartacus – Blood and Sand could become one of the better shows on television – it really could; but for right now I’d warn anyone to be careful about choosing to watch it if they’re in the mood for finding something good on TV. In my opinion, the show is currently too much of a work in progress, and it needs a lot of polish before it’s ready for my recommendation.

You can check out some of the episodes at, and they show reruns all. the. freaking. time. on Starz’ cornucopia of cable channels. Spartacus airs new episodes every Friday at 10pm ET/PT and ends April 16th until season 2.

Comments? Opinions? Leave them below, guys and gals!

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  • great write up!
    though I could not disagree with you more… I have found that the show is excellent, and builds to some pretty intense moments. The plot takes it’s time, and try’s to smack you in the face at just the right moment. I’m really enjoying it right now, looking forward to tonights ep. Though I will say at times the acting could be a bit better, sex scenes do feel forced and pointless half the time, but despite that and a few other minor complaints I have– This show frakin rocks, it’s 300 meets Gladiator wrapped in a soft porn! whats not to like? Take it for what it is and you will enjoy

    • versapak

      I have to agree with Jeremiah, and disagree with Jonathan.

      So far I have loved the show, and look forward to watching it every Friday. I wouldn’t care if they toned down the sexual content, but it doesn’t bother me at all being there, and I actually love the over the top slow-mo violence.

    • Adam

      I believe the show is one of the few “good” shows on television. I read your review as if I read it from a pastor of a southern baptist church. I believe the “over the top violence” and sex scenes are key points into character development. Spartacus was dressed in gold and ravaged a woman for 4 minutes to discover it was who he hated most. Two episodes ago I have never seen a show with such intensity, I was stuck glued to my screen to see what happened (avoiding spoilers).

      I feel the show has great promise, and I will admit, episode 1 was garbage, but it quickly got better.

  • Leo

    Hmmm, I find it humerous how many people are uncomfortable with their sexuality. Must be an American thing. Some people can’t enjoy long character development, and want everything crammed into a 2 hour movie instead of a 12+ week program. I personally enjoy watching relationships develop and see how they affect the outcome of everyone’s life.

  • MrKLM

    This is quite a poor review, every point made is made on extreme personal distaste that almost sounds like a middle aged mother complaining about The Sinpsons in the 1990’s. The only real set back & downside to the show is the slowed down fight scenes and blood splats that were also terrible in 300 other then that the show is good. Most of your complaints are against the loosly historical aspects of the era which is for the most part true.

  • tanvir

    seriously man, i think you got the complete opposite opinion of the viewers. everybody loves this show and are talking about it all the time. yes it does mix gladiator and 300 but that’s what makes it so appealing. and i personally feel that it has done a great job building the story up. i think eventually spartacus and the rest will start a revolution. probably like prison break season 1 prison riots, can’t wait for that!

    • Jonathan Weeston

      I may accept that for this website I may be speaking against the grain, but among other publications that have given the show mediocre or bad reviews are: Variety, TV Guide, Hollywood Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Boston Globe, New York Daily News, etc.

      Currently the website metacritic shows that the program holds a critical rating of 54 (out of 100) and an average user rating or 72 (out of 100).
      I think I got the opinion right among some people 😉
      I’m glad you like it though, and thanks for the feedback.

  • I hate to say it but the comments here nailed what I was trying to say. @Adam your point about that sex scene was great, because that was one of the few sex scenes I felt really belonged. Also the violence is just right never to much or to little. For instance the build up to the fight when Spartacus and Crixus were paired was amazing, once the fight happened it was so satisfying to see them work as a team and cut the giant down.

  • Anot6her thing Johnathan. You asked “Whyy?” of the sex scenes. In this era it would not have been un-common to see the “frontal nudity” you were talking about, especially the way it is depicted here-slaves, and at the games. Frankly it probably would have been more.

    • Jonathan Weeston

      Well, let’s not forget that pederasty was a legal form of sex in Roman times too, and when young boys were indentured to their masters to learn a useful skill they were legally required to submit to sexual intercourse with their male masters as often as it was asked of them (even though they were usually only 10-13 years old).

      Point being, just because it is realistic, doesn’t mean we should include it in a TV show – especially if you’re not doing a documentary about Roman sexual habits 😉

  • Jonathan Weeston

    Hey guys and gals, thanks for all the comments.

    I’d really like to say only one thing, specifically in regards to the sexual content (as it has been addressed a few times by several of you).

    I made the point in the article that I am in no way a prude (in regards to sexual content and violence), but perhaps railing on the sexual content and nudity seemed to contradict that.

    My problem overall with the sex and nudity isn’t that they’re there or that they exist (a point I guess that was lost, and the original version of my article did include a line about surfing for web porn, but I’ve only written here a couple months and don’t have an accurate grasp yet on what is and isn’t acceptable for front page material), but the question I have, as Jeremiah pointed out, was, “why?!” What purpose do they have other than to titillate the audience and draw in the “oh-so-attractive” 18-24 year old male demographic?

    I don’t care about nudity in film or TV, and I don’t care about violence or profanity on Television as well. In fact one of my other writing jobs is for a freedom of speech webiste.

    In other words, I’m not upset or offended by the sex and violence; I just think they are out of place, in a purely ascetic point of view. I just don’t see those things as adding anything to the plot, or the show in general.

    Anyways, thanks for the feedback folks, it is appreciated, always.

    P.s. if you’re interested in the topic of sex in pop culture some of you might enjoy an editorial I am submitting this month, here at P*N about just that – specifically in video games, and how they are unfairly discriminated against by their ratings board for including sexual content.

    It should be up April the 7th.

    Again, thanks for the feedback!

  • Susan

    Just to be annoying, guys, learn the art of grammer and spelling to be taken seriously. We elders like that.

    As for your review, very on point. Too much silly sex and blood. I dismissed the series after episode 1 for these reasons. It was like Playboy channel. Then I watched episode 2 and was hooked but the excellent characters Lucretia and Batiatus, well acted and scary both!!! So I am still watching and intersted in Season 2. Just read the history and Spartacus was a real guy! Looking forward to he and Crixius teaming up which will be cool.

    • Jonathan Weeston

      Actually, I believe the Stanley Kubrick version of “Spartacus” is available for free right now to watch on Hulu (at least it was a few days ago). If you haven’t seen it I’d highly recommend it.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Brad Pitt

    You obviously have an axe to grind against STARZ.
    Couldn’t be bothered reading the rest of your biased diatribe.

    • Jonathan Weeston


      Nothing but <3

  • Great Response John. Still disagree about the show overall.
    Yet your right, the sex scenes are out of place at least half the time as I said earlier.
    Still, I think the show is coming along great(and I think it has the potential to be even better).

    • Jonathan Weeston

      Hey, I’d rather have people disagree with me and have a reason rather than blindly accept anything I say.

      I, too, think the show has potential, and haven’t abandoned all hope just yet.

      Thanks, Jeremiah 🙂

  • Also Stanley Kubrik is a genius of the rarest kind; As a film maker and a story-teller…

  • sassy


  • TVJunkie


    This is a fantastic review. I agree with your evaluation of the sex scenes.

  • Bill

    You think Lucy can act.Is this a late April fool?The writing is horrible ,the acting is all bad-very wooden. The only person that can act is John Hannah.Lucy acting chops are very weak but she is not the worse that honor belongs to Viva and Manu.Definitely not hired for acting skills.Lucy would not have a career if not for her husband Rob and his associates or friends in the business hiring her.

    • Jonathan Weeston

      I do feel Lucy Lawless can act quite well, but as I mentioned in the article, the writing in many of the episodes reduce her to window dressing and fail to use her talents to their full extent. The writing in general is shody, at best.

      I love John Hannah, but just not in this show. I feel, more times than not, that he phones his performance in and is just interested in a paycheck rather than the actual acting gig in front of him. He just seems bored and to be going through the motions. Out of all the talent currently on board the show he is my favorite, by far…but just not his character and the way he doesn’t seem to be enjoying playing it.

      Thanks for the feedback, though.

  • persongee

    this show is awsome yes ur right they should do there own things instead of rewriting stuff that has shortley passed our eyes,

    and i thinks its time they throw in some animals maybe a anaconda !!! and that snake woman hee hee

  • The Slag


    Good review and well expressed, eventhough I don’t agree with some of it.

    The gratuitous sex and nude scenes? Yeah way over the top…it appears that each new premium channel series tries to shock the audience more an more. I expect the level to be that of a xxx porno in a few years. Enough cock shots aleady…the gays must be going wild. By the way, in a real Roman society, not everyone looked like a pretty model with a great body…so if we’re trying to depict realism…

    Also extremely gorry. Not just killing, but ripping flesh, exploding heads and leaking intestines. Episode 111 had Crixus finish off the Primus with a heel smash to his opponents face. No wonder people get desensitized and act out some of this gore in real life.

    Is it the most realistic show? Of course not; especially scenes like episode one where Sparticus arrives just in time to save Sura from the Getae. Too much cussing? Yeah…but I have to admit, Batiatus keeps me laughing. Reminds me of Sweringen on Deadwood. (Also because every time you start to like the guy, he does something really evil).

    Now I am a guy that hates 98% of the crap on TV today; especially so-called reality TV. I usually rip shows apart like The Unit, Grey’s Anatomy and CSI…can’t stand the crap that’s produced.

    But even though Sparticus has some flaws…I FREAKIN LOVE THIS SHOW!!! I think the writing has been great for the most part; far better than shows like the Sopranos. The acting is fantastic, especially enjoyable from a mostly unknown cast. I would like to get into the mind of some of these guys more but I guess there’s only so much time and the pace is really kept moving…not like tiresome dragged out episodes of Lost.

    I’m fascinated by Roman society and I think the politics and environments are well portrayed but outside the usual mainstream senate arena, so common in other Roman depections. This show is never slow and the characters never boring. Doctore needs some more screen time because I think there’s a lot behind this guy. Varro was my favorite character and I was horrified when he was not just killed but cruely trapped in a plot from Ilithyia. I feel like every episode I watch has a rewarding cliff hanger. I’ve come to the point where I’m trying to download the last two episodes from bit torrent just so I can see the end (haven’t found it).

    Bottom line, I wouldn’t recommend this show to anyone under 30, but I’ll definately be buying the series on DVD for my collection and gifting. Can’t wait for the 2nd season…I’m hoping they’ll go all the way up through the historical slave revolt. I hope its not going to be a year or more between seasons. Bravo STARZ!!


    • Jonathan Weeston

      Excellent comment. Thanks for taking the time to reply 🙂

  • Holy Goalie

    I love this show.

  • Besim

    I don’t mind the silly dialogue and acting as much as I mind the unnecessary frontal nudity.

    My roommate is fascinated with the show. Any time that I have come out and watched part of the show with him, it seriously has always been awkward.

    Scene doesn’t go by without a dick being flashed in my face. I am no prude by no means, but I despise nudity whether it be man or woman’s at such levels. It just degrades the show.

  • Crosby Austin

    I think that the reviewer may be used to seeing nudity and sex in only one capacity. If you can get past the naked human figure you can see in a scene with no dialog great character relationships. If you revisit every sex scene in the show you will see how different the characters engage based on their relationships. Not to mention that we only see sex scenes if that relationship is going to come into play in that episode.

    I wont dissect all of the sex and nudity in the show but I could. It is interesting and never done to this shows extent before.

    I would not see the amount of sex, or nudity removed from the show, rather the viewers that are uncomfortable with it. Starz is clearly not trying to please everyone with this show.

    And for the blood spatters… Bring it on. It was a violent time and the manner in which they depict it allows me to see how gruesome it was yet not have to look away from my TV. Great choice.

    • Jonathan Weeston

      Thanks for writing this. I posted a rather length comment below that I feel addresses your comment in some areas.

      Most importantly, thanks for voicing your disaproval of my article in a civil and constructive way. It is very much appreciated.

      Hope I write something you more strongly agree with in the future, but if not I’ll be glad to hear your feedback and opinion.


  • Sasha

    The show has gotten a lot better since the first episode. I think Americans are definitely more prudish about sex and nudity.

    In regards to not depicting children being raped and abused sexually, depicting the sexual use of children would be crossing the line because we try to protect child actors, for one. But in an accurate novel about those times, would it be included? Yes.

    I always have discussions about Spartacus with friends. It definitely elicits an emotional reaction, opinions, and really gets you thinking about how Roman society operated, and the differences and similarities with our society today.

    I think the violence and sex do show how human beings were considered property at the time. Because they are being honest to the times, it really does bring that point home. Often past movies about Rome have depicted sexual slavery in ways that really didn’t get across the dehuminazation of those slaves. As you continually see the slaves used as objects,both sexually and in gladiator games you really come to understand what it is that was endured by these people.

    • Jonathan Weeston

      Thanks for your comment, first of all.

      You mentioned literature about Rome being an ok place to mention sex with children (as was practiced in anciet Rome, for anyone that missed the above comment I made). I agree, and would add that novels and literature often have the luxury of doing and saying things that mainstream TV and film just can’t.

      Chuck Palahnuik, for instance, has written several novels that have included either scenes (Haunted and Lullaby) or entire premises (Snuff) that wouldn’t easily translate into a cinema or cable television show…simply because of how strange, perverse or horrifying they are.

      Another example is Requiem for a Dream – which did make it to cinemas, albeit through independent financing, and even though it’s one of my favorite movies of all time, it’s still one of the hardest movies to just sit down and watch. There’s sex and nudity in that film…but none of it is stimulating. That film, in my opinion, succeeds at showing sex in a demeaning and “slave-like” manner. It doesn’t glorify it and it doesn’t pointlessly include it, either. It’s there to serve a point, to develop the story and characters and show how horribly far they’ve all fallen. It’s graphic, it’s almost pornographic…but it has a point. And I love the movie and wouldn’t take those scenes out for anything in the whole world.

      A more recent example is “Push” which was translated onto screen as Precious this last year. The subject matter was so intense and dark that the director literally had to rely on personal, monetary support (and later Oprah and Tyler Perry) because studios wouldn’t touch the issues contained in the story with a ten foot pole. But the film worked, and the scenes worked because of the careful, delicate attention that was used to film scenes that depicted horrible sexual acts occurring.

      The way they use sex in Spartacus is not done in the same way as films like Requiem and Precious. Those films didn’t glorify their sex scenes and “Hollywood” them up. I feel Spartacus – Blood and Sand constantly does this, though.

      For instance, I criticized the scene where he was covered in paint and was banging away at the masked woman. We, as the audience, are meant, in my opinion, to feel sympathy for the character. We’re meant to see just how hard the act is for him, rather than using slow motion tricks and camera work that are often found in romanticized scenes of other shows and films.

      Spartacus is separated from his wife, who we are led to believe is his entire motivation for fighting and remaining loyal to his master in earlier episodes; and yet in that scene we saw no devotion to his wife. No hesitation for his act. We saw carnal love making that one would expect from someone who was actually enjoying it.

      Yes, you could argue that Spartacus had to do things in an aggressive and sexually experienced way because his satisfying of the woman was vital to his survival; but why not show his wife in flashbacks while his body goes through the motions? Why not cut away to something in between the thrusting (like, the moment he first met his wife, the last time they made love, the moment she was taken from him) that let us know he was generally apologetic to his unseeing wife? There are literally a hundred different ways in which the producers could have had a sex scene that was moving and painful to watch, rather than included as an excuse to show T&A.

      Last thing I want to address from your comment is in regard to your statement about American’s being more prudish to sex and nudity.

      For me, personally, I once again stress that I am not a prude, nor do I have any “concern” or quarrel with a TV show airing scenes of sex, nudity and violence. And I don’t hate pointless sex…just pointless sex scenes. There’s a reason I don’t rank porn on the same level as other shows and movies, ya know?

      Last thing I’ll mention is that I worked in Hollywood for a few years after my sophomore year of college, and while I lived there I worked as a low level sound designer’s assistant, production assistant and assistant production coordinator for several studies like Sony Pictures, Revolution Studios, Disney and Miramax (Note: Sadly, though, on IMDB I’m only currently credited for three of the seven films I worked on; and as a cruel joke my film credits are separated on two different pages – one under Johnny Weeston, and the other under Jonathan Weeston. IMDB just doesn’t care about updating your page(s) if you’re not famous or in a union hehe).

      The point is that I worked on movies that featured sex and nudity (Aviator and Alexander), as well as violence (XXX 2: State of the Union, Savage Harvest 2: October Blood, and Resident Evil: Apocalypse).

      While I wasn’t involved in those movies in a creative capacity I had no problem earning a paycheck from productions that featured hetero and homo sex scenes, nudity, violence, profanity, drug use, etc, etc. I literally don’t care about those things appearing in movies and TV shows. At. All.

      In fact, I wrote a play that was produced a few years back in the city I live in, and the entire subject matter was about sex, and included half naked men and women appearing on stage to discuss what acts they had just performed on one another.

      Point is, I have no fear of sex and nudity in my own works, either (except for the night my parents showed up and I saw my mother’s face grow white with shock, then red with embarrassment, hehe).

      In the shows I watch, though, I want sex, violence and nudity to have a point…or at least be shot and edited in a way that depecits them as tragic, romantic, or intimate – not purely to arouse and shock.

      This is all just an opinion, though. It’s not a statement of fact, and I don’t expect you, or anyone else to agree with it.

      Thanks again for the comment and taking the time to respond. Hope I’ll write something you more easily agree with in the future 🙂

  • Mike

    Wow, I really disagree with this review- I think Spartacus is one of the best written and acted shows on TV right now. I guess if I had only watched the pilot, I might have agreed…but I feel like we have’t been watching the same show for the last 7 weeks.

    You cite the poor reviews on metacritic, but almost all of the reviews were written before the series premiere- meaning that they only had a few episodes to review. (And the pilot wasn’t very good) I’d be interested to see what the reviews of the season as a whole look like.

    And Susan, if you’re going to sit on your high horse and criticize grammar…maybe you should learn how to spell it.

    • Jonathan Weeston

      The press review kit for Spartacus was the first four episodes. Has the show improved since then? Yes, but I feel that basing a review of a show based on its first month of programing is a fair thing.

      Will their reviews change? That’s a different story. I’m willing to renounce my initial comments if the show drastically improves in season 2, but right now news from the Hollywood Reporter says that the show is on an indefinite hiatus while Andy Whitfield deals with his cancer.

  • Konstantine

    This is one of the few shows I truly look forward to on a weekly basis. You prefer apples and others prefer oranges… With all due respect Jonathan, who cares about your opinion, really.

    • Jonathan Weeston

      I’m sorry you didn’t like this particular article.
      It’s true this is an opinion piece, as is the case with all of my non-fiction, professional writings. It’s the case with all critical reviews of anything in the art and media…regardless of the author.
      I’m sorry you don’t care about my opinion on the issue, but I do care about yours. Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  • Ronald L.

    I believe that the show is excellent, although it is a shame to see some of the character’s lives end – yes, even the antagonists. Just me even mentioning that shows that I have grown a deeper and intimate connection with the show than I have with many others. Sure, I may speak favorably of this series because of my partiality towards the beauty, power, and extravagance of the Roman era, but it still is an effectively climactic journey.

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  • Austin McCoy

    “Instead of coming up with new and unique ways to fit those ideas and words into the plot and dialogue, the show’s producers just chuck them around like teenage boys throwing ninja stars at a bedroom wall” I’m sorry John, but it sounds like you’re doing your best Dennis Miller impression.