I'll let that sink in.
It is, possibly, one of the most derided shows of recent years. It comes from the same stable that gave us Xena and Hercules, but with more curse-words.
I consider myself to be a fan of both Xena and Hercules. I've huge respect for Raimi, no matter what he does. Well.. you know what I mean. THAT was bad. But apart from THAT he's been righteous.
What's wrong with Spartacus:
1. Too many curse words.
2. Too much violence.
But what's RIGHT about Spartacus?
1. Curse Words
3. Cursing violently - describing a god as a bloody cock-sucking shit with cocks for eyes and a bloody, vomiting ass, full of twisted, diseased whores with bloody eyes for cocks.
I LOVE the dialogue. As I've said before, I'm a huge fan of the HBO/BBC co-production Rome. I have it in my Amazon Wishlist in case the blu-ray becomes ridiculously cheap. Or under twenty quid. Spartacus doesn't QUITE match the dialogue in ROME, which features local star Ray Stevenson.
To be fair, nothing about Spartacus matches Rome. I recall a post about the budget for the show on imdb.com, but I can't go back there to check out what was said, because when I saw it, I was curious about the show but had no intention of watching it. Now I've started to watch it, I love it and do not want to absorb spoilers by accident.
To summarize, the post about budgets claimed that Spartacus had roughly a tenth of the budget of Rome. Whoever the guy was making the post, he said a lot of smart stuff about budgets.Seriously, someone has to go back and find that budget post... Long story short, Rome destroyed itself.
Rome was an incredible show, but you all know that already. Ray Stevenson's Titus is EXACTLY the best friend we want, worst enemy we don't want.
Rome? Naked Polly Walker.
I'm throwing that out there.
But Rome was supposed to have three seasons. Unfortunately the budget got eaten after two seasons. They could have made more shows, but it would have taken TOO long to earn the money back.
So, Spartacus made me go check out Wikipedia for gladiators.
There were, basically, two types of gladiators.
Good gladiators. And...
Effeminate gay gladiators.
Those, appear to be my findings.
The more armour a gladiator wore, the manlier they were. The less armour, the less.
So retiarii, with naked chests and tridents for weapons, were considered to be squealing gay boys. Seriously. This isn't my prejudice, this is ancient Rome at work.
Yeah, I know. Logic. You'd think that the guy with no armour would be given at least SOME credence!
Nope. Apparently, the hardest fought battles were between heavily-armoured secutors and almost naked retiarii. And the retiarii were the, often derided, favourites. Wearing armour, and wielding a deadly gladius was the equivalent of being the fall guy. Stepping onto the arena sand against a man armed with a pitchfork and a net, with nothing but heavy body armour, a massive shield and one of the most efficient killing devices ever created made you the probable loser.
Give a man a fish and he'll eat fish for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll slay gladiators until he gets bored. Apparently.
It's quite fascinating.
What's worse than an almost naked fisher-guy? One that wears a tunic.
Yup. Apparently retiarii tunicati were the worst of the worst.
Instead of facing an armoured gladiator, with net and bare chest, as retiarii tradition demanded, they wore a leather tunic.The bastards!
It gets even better.
The retiarii tunicati might be dressed up to look like women.
Often this wasn't a fate for some poor soul condemned to a gladiatorial life, instead it was a punishment for a criminal who had, clearly, pissed off some big wig.
Honestly, like a woman!
From what I can tell, Spartacus is an accurate depiction of gladiatorial life in ancient Rome.
It is violent, profane, and funny.
No-one has been killed while wearing a tunic, having been derided for their effeminate gladiatorial skills.
At least one of the Spartacus gladiators is fond of cock. He doesn't make a big deal of it.