9 February 2010 | petarpeychinov
An imperfect pilot, but an epic show so far, if you manage look past the blood and nudity.
For me the pilot was something of a mix between the graphic violence of 300(it even includes somewhat similar battle sequences), the sex of 300, the idea of Gladiator and a bit of Rome. I almost stopped watching it and I'm glad I didn't do it. People would see the first episode and dismiss it as "gore and sex" time-wasting perversity. And they would be mistaken. The plot, filled with at first glance one-dimensional characters, is so varied, so deep, full of plot twists and unpredictable outcomes that you may find yourself glued to the screen.The sex is still there, the sexy images as well(muscular men and beautiful women), but the characters have gained so much depth and perspective, that you can't say someone is just white or black(with two exceptions). There are so many shades of gray in between, that most of the times even if you want to hate a character for plotting against the protagonist, you find yourself siding with him on another level. The protagonist is not a saint, the "bad guys" show they can love and cherish, and you see the other side of mighty Rome, the one not shown in "Rome". This show, even after the less than spectacular pilot, can be and for the moment is great and it's not the gore or sex that make it so.
In 300, Rome and even Gladiator, to which Spartacus: Blood and Sand is usually compared, the main characters are free men and women, people who act on their generally free will(yes, even in Gladiator). This show is different. Spartacus: Blood and Sand displays the Roman world through the eyes of the downtrodden, the helpless and the people without rights - the enslaved, THE underdogs, who eventually tried to defy the might of Rome, who lost and lost in an epic and tragic way and in their fall still achieved greatness and immortality. Among the nudity, spilling blood and duel sequences, Spartacus: Blood and Sand shows the viewer why freedom is such a cherished thing, what happens when we lose it and why people throughout time have risen to regain it and died pursuing it or defending it.
Some people mock the characters for being "one-dimensional" and demand more complexity. Others have voiced their contempt of the less than accurate representation of "the complex social system of Rome". Spartacus: Blood and Sand does not seek to represent the social system. For the people at the bottom of the ladder it was irrelevant whether Sulla was killing senators or Pompeus was gaining power. As for the one-dimensional characters, let me pound the obvious and say this - when you have to kill a friend at the command of your master, or be killed as well, there's no possibility for inner struggle or soul searching. You can't really disobey your master when humiliation, rape, torture and death lie just a whim away.
It's early to say definitely whether Spartacus: Blood and Sand will be a great TV show. It certainly is for now and gets better and better. Unless the creators manage to screw up gigantically, which they have avoided so far, this child of Starz can become epic.