Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spartacus: Blood and Sand Now Available For Netflix Instant Download

Periodically, I check to see if there are any new movies and television series added to the free (for members) Netflix instant streaming service that I might be interested in and today I could hardly believe my eyes - Spartacus: Blood and Sand showed up in the list before the series has even finished airing on STARZ!  Go STARZ!!

[Image: Andy Whitfield as Spartacus in Spartacus Blood and Sand.  Courtesy of STARZ Entertainment.]

Although I don't agree with the opening disclaimer of the series that it is an accurate depiction of the Roman culture for the time period, I have found the characters increasingly more interesting and the series has drawn me in more and more each week.  I wrote a full review (through episode 10) for Heritage Key.

I know it contains extremely violent graphics and sexual situations but as a technologist I tend to overlook the special effects as just so much CGI and focus on the story.  Star Andy Whitfield as Spartacus does a good job in a very physically demanding role and John Hannah really surprised me as the central villain.  I had only seen him in comedic roles in The Mummy movies with the exception of his performance as a treacherous Roman senator in The Last Legion.  But his performance in that film was almost edited out of existence and what remained barely qualified as a cameo so I didn't really see just how forceful and duplicitous he could be!

Lucy Lawless goes after her role as Batiatus' wife with unreserved gusto as well and I've been introduced to some good performances by several actors I had not seen before too - Manu Bennett as Crixus gets more intense every week and Viva Bianca as Lucretia's friend (and Spartacus' enemy) is absolutely vile!

I read that STARZ had planned to begin shooting season 2 before season 1 even finished up but Andy Whitfield is undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma in New Zealand so the network is waiting for him to recover first.  I do hope they don't change their mind and bail out like HBO did after we have started to care what happens to the characters.  I'm really sick and tired of so-called reality programming and would prefer a little fantasy for a change - even if it is a bit over the top!!

Spartacus: Blood and Sand   Spartacus    The Spartacus War
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