Spartacus 1.01 "The Red Serpent"
#1
I had a chance to catch the first episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand on Thursday night, they aired it as a preview on Direct TV's 101 channel.

Unfortunately I can't say much of anything positive about it. Relentlessly vulgar, comical amounts of blood, and gratuitous nudity add up to a product that feels forced and phony. It's as though the creative team is screaming "hey, we've got serious adult stuff going on here!"

The use of modern profanity in a period piece set in the ancient world is extremely distracting, even more so when it's used every chance they can possibly shoehorn it in. I mean, seriously, a battle cry of "I'LL **** ALL YOUR WOMEN, I'LL **** THEM ALL!!!" Who in their right mind wrote that line?

The CGI blood is rather silly, any time a sword would strike anywhere, a couple pints would go flying. Then there's the nudity, inserted just about everywhere when there's not blood flying, so that the viewer doesn't loose interest in the show, which doesn't have much going on. Spartacus the slave wants his freedom and wife back, and the nincompoop Roman commander is ambitious and wants to impress his wife's father.

I never got the impression of a real world, either. The only shot that really tried to establish a "world" was an air shot of the Roman town and coliseum, and it looked absolutely terrible, like something out of a video game ten years ago.

I enjoyed seeing John Hannah and Lucy Lawless, although Lucy's wig didn't accomplish much other than making her look old, somehow. I think the Roman commander guy is played by the same guy that portrays Darken Rhal on Legend of the Seeker.

Teenage boys might love the show, but I have a hard time believing that any other audience would tolerate this kind of low-brow stupidity for more than a few episodes.
Reply
#2
Boomstick Wrote:Who in their right mind wrote that line?

:laugh: That would appear to be Smallville/Buffy/Angel writer Stephen DeKnight. (Although the IMDB listing is somewhat confusing, w/ three other people credited as "staff writer," but since this show is DeKnight's baby as the main producer too, assuming he wrote the first ep. Smile )

It was directed by long time Ren Pics collaborator Rick Jacobson, who did many Xena, Cleo and Herc episodes.

Quote: I think the Roman commander guy is played by the same guy that portrays Darken Rhal on Legend of the Seeker.

Yep, Craig Parker. The character seems to be named Claudius Glaber. We've also seen him as Young Herc's half-brother Lucius, the elf Haldir in LotR, the evil Bellerophon (and other roles) on XWP, and we've heard him as the voice of Motodrone in Power Rangers Ninja Storm.
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
Reply
#3
august Wrote::laugh: That would appear to be Smallville/Buffy/Angel writer Stephen DeKnight.

Well...heh, he should tone it back at little. Most the heated dialogue was just awful.
Reply
#4
Was that a wig BTW? I think Lucy actually dyed her hair red for the part....

From the PR photos, John Hannah does look like his age, although just 47, is catching up with him.
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
Reply
#5
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
Reply
#6
Haven't seen it, because it's on a channel I don't get. But it sounds like it would make a fan of 'Rome' giggle in disbelief, much as fans of 'Underworld' would scoff at 'Twilight'.
Reply
#7
august Wrote:Was that a wig BTW? I think Lucy actually dyed her hair red for the part....
.

It was a wig, and supposed to look like one. At other times in the series, she wears a blond wig. Wigs were fashionable in that time.
Reply
#8
EDSEL_PK Wrote:Haven't seen it, because it's on a channel I don't get. But it sounds like it would make a fan of 'Rome' giggle in disbelief, much as fans of 'Underworld' would scoff at 'Twilight'.

Well . . . how about a fan of movies, scoffing at Underworld AND Twilight? Heart

aerips Wrote:It was a wig, and supposed to look like one. At other times in the series, she wears a blond wig. Wigs were fashionable in that time.

Ahh, good to know. I haven't seen the blond one. Wigs have apparently been fashionable at most times. :wow:
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
Reply
#9
BTW, for what it's worth, it seems Lucy Lawless herself is getting in on the nudity in upcoming episodes. So...yeah...there you go.
Reply
#10
Boomstick Wrote:BTW, for what it's worth, it seems Lucy Lawless herself is getting in on the nudity in upcoming episodes. So...yeah...there you go.

Wouldn't have thought it of her. Not that it's a bad thing, if the context is appropriate. I keep coming back to "Rome" on this one, but it is a standard by which such shows should be measured. Sure, plenty of nudity, but it was always, if you'll pardon the pun, organic. It was part of the script, and not shoe-horned in to titillate the audience.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
Reply
#11
RobRoy Wrote:Wouldn't have thought it of her.

I was surprised too, just in general, and given the apparent quality of the series. You'd think that reading the scripts she'd be able to identify that the nudity in the series was basically for the viewer to go "hey, boobs!" As such, I'm a little surprised that she'd go ahead with it.

But hey, it's her life, and I'm not going to look the other way, mind you. Wink I just found it bizarre.
Reply
#12
Boomstick Wrote:I was surprised too, just in general, and given the apparent quality of the series. You'd think that reading the scripts she'd be able to identify that the nudity in the series was basically for the viewer to go "hey, boobs!" As such, I'm a little surprised that she'd go ahead with it.

But hey, it's her life, and I'm not going to look the other way, mind you. Wink I just found it bizarre.

Agreed. Perhaps she thought it was going to be more like "Rome" than soft-porn in a swords-and-sandals piece.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
Reply
#13
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
Reply
#14
august Wrote:But given that she's married to the guy who co-created, developed, and now produces the show, and who gets to approve every single word of every single script, as well as the final cut of each episode post-production long before it airs, I think she was pretty aware of what the show was going to be like. Especially given this description by her husband from a year ago, long before she accepted the role:

I don't think anyone was questioning that she did or didn't know about the nudity. Rather her choice to do it.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
Reply
#15
Boomstick Wrote:BTW, for what it's worth, it seems Lucy Lawless herself is getting in on the nudity in upcoming episodes. So...yeah...there you go.

Hmmm....this might require further study.Rolleyes
Reply
#16
Lucy actually commented on this in an article originally from the Los Angeles Times:

Quote:Lawless, who became a feminist icon with her portrayal of Xena in the 1990s, said she'd never done a nude scene before. But as shooting on the first season's 13 episodes progressed, the actress - who plays Lucretia, the Lady Macbeth-type wife of the owner of the school where Spartacus trains - became blase about the show's rampant sexuality.

"You just get incredibly comfortable with it," she said on the phone from New Zealand. "You're like a tribe in a far-flung corner of the world."

Even so, it's likely most viewers won't be quite as nonchalant - and Starz executives are praying that many will be shocked into watching.

Rob added this:

Quote:The producers are hoping to strike the right balance by offering something not seen anywhere else on TV, without possibly scaring away the less adventurous.

"We tried to do the Western, operatic version of violence and bloodshed," said Rob Tapert.....

"We wanted to make it so it'd appeal to the widest audience possible, so we didn't have the female audience being absolutely repulsed by bloodshed," he added.
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
Reply
#17
Quote:"We wanted to make it so it'd appeal to the widest audience possible, so we didn't have the female audience being absolutely repulsed by bloodshed," he added."

Funny that he should think it's the gore that would repulse female viewers, not the endless objectification of women. :laugh: :bounce:
Reply
#18
A bit more along those lines from Lucy at Digital Spy:

Quote:"I think a lot of people are going to be shocked and they are going to shut off their televisions," she told the Boston Herald. "And I absolutely encourage that because if they're shocked by the first few episodes, it ain't going to let up.

"But for the people who have the stomach for it, this is a bloody good yarn."

Lawless added that she didn't mind appearing topless or in sex scenes when filming for the show.

"Really, I just feel like as long as it's germane to the scene, it's not offensive to me," she explained. "If it is relevant and historically accurate, then artistically it makes sense. People in ancient Rome had completely different relationships to people and their bodies and sexuality and the law and religion."
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
Reply
#19
Boomstick Wrote:Relentlessly vulgar, comical amounts of blood, and gratuitous nudity
I didn't think Spartacus sounded interestng, but now does! :bg:

Boomstick Wrote:The use of modern profanity in a period piece set in the ancient world is extremely distracting, even more so when it's used every chance they can possibly shoehorn it in. I mean, seriously, a battle cry of "I'LL **** ALL YOUR WOMEN, I'LL **** THEM ALL!!!" Who in their right mind wrote that line?
:laugh: Actually, that sounds like a realistic battle cry from that time and culture. In a culture where women are viewed as the property of men, raping women in war is a common practice to demoralise the male enemy.
A taunt like that means "you're weak; you're not real men".

Boomstick Wrote:I enjoyed seeing John Hannah and Lucy Lawless, although Lucy's wig didn't accomplish much other than making her look old, somehow. I think the Roman commander guy is played by the same guy that portrays Darken Rhal on Legend of the Seeker.
Lucy Lawless and Craig Parker! Now i definitely have to give this series a try!
Reply
#20
Boomstick Wrote:Relentlessly vulgar, comical amounts of blood, and gratuitous nudity

Darkamber Wrote:I didn't think Spartacus sounded interestng, but now does! !

:lol: :trio: :hat: :goodjob: :clap: :bounce: :thumbsup: :laugh: :hellohands:

[SIZE="3"]She's back!!!![/SIZE]
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
Reply

MYCode Guide

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Spartacus: War of the "Darned" (3rd + final season) recap leading to return on 1/25 august 0 569 January 3rd, 2013, 01:32 PM
Last Post: august
  Spartacus: Vengeance returns 1/27/12 @ 10 PM on Starz; renewed for season 3 august 0 739 November 14th, 2011, 02:58 AM
Last Post: august
  Spartacus: Gods of the Arena on Blu-ray, + rerunning on Starz august 1 564 November 2nd, 2011, 03:40 AM
Last Post: august
  Lucy Lawless on NPR, discussing Xena and Spartacus august 0 772 September 26th, 2011, 10:02 PM
Last Post: august
  Spartacus star Andy Whitfield succumbs to lymphoma august 2 606 September 14th, 2011, 12:51 PM
Last Post: Michael
  Brief Rob Tapert interview on Spartacus august 0 669 July 26th, 2010, 06:26 PM
Last Post: august
  Lesley-Ann Brandt from Spartacus to guest star Boomstick 0 790 March 12th, 2010, 07:23 PM
Last Post: Boomstick
  Spartacus 1.02 "Sacramentum Gladiatorum" Boomstick 1 761 January 31st, 2010, 02:51 PM
Last Post: august
  premiere of Spartacus: Blood and Sand sets viewership record for Starz august 3 1,494 January 27th, 2010, 02:07 AM
Last Post: aerips
  Ren Pics' latest series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand debuts Fr. 1/22 @ 10 PM on STARZ august 54 3,715 January 20th, 2010, 07:26 AM
Last Post: aerips

Forum Jump: