The US pay-cable channel Starz is kicking off a 13-part series on Spartacus this Friday at 10 EST. The NY Times has a
puff piece informative review drawing the usual U.S. vs. Rome parallels–not to mention the series’ unsurprising focus on “stylized, even balletic” violence and “abundant nudity, both male and female.”
I will be watching because, well, I’m interested in ancient Rome and willing to give it a chance. And I can say that I went into HBO’s ROME with similar low expectations and came away modestly pleased; in that series, the device of following the action via Vorenus and Pullo (soldiers in Caesar’s army) allowed for a more complete picture of Roman life that didn’t rely exclusively on political intrigue, shocking violence or overblown sex. My fear is that the Starz series will spend far more time with those last two items–the presence of Sam Raimi doesn’t inspire much hope, and with the skimpy historical details what else can they do to fill the time. Exercises in style like the recent 300 and (to a lesser extent) the Oscar-winning Gladiator seemed to treat the ancient world as little more than an action-movie vehicle, and perhaps I’m too familiar with the source material to enjoy the one-dimensional caricature offered by the swords n’ sandals genre…
But that’s just my opinion…tune in for youself and explain my idiocy in comments.
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