TV – “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” Is Shameless, Awesome

There was a time, namely the 1980s, when an R rating crossed with a pre-birth of Christ setting meant something very specific. Namely, that you were going to get nudity by the eyeful and gore by the bucket. Swords would be clumsily wielded, limbs would be hacked off, courtesans would get naked, in short, it was glorious.

And then, just as abruptly as it arrived, the ’80s barbarian movie vanished, overwhelmed by a combination of kickboxing, porn hitting more cable systems, and just a general shift in tastes. Aside from the occasional return from other countries, such as Russia’s “Wolfhound”, they literally just do not make them like they used to. Don’t even get me started about “300”, which was fun, but a little sterile and overly arty to really work.

Leave it to Sam Raimi to produce a series that brings all that glorious cheese back.

Now, granted, the price is we have to see John Hannah get a blowjob right before he humps Lucy Lawless against a wall in front of an audience, but if that’s the price we have to pay for Lucy Lawless lesbian scenes (which the show keeps hinting at, and I think I just heard half the Xena fanbase go “YEEEEESSSSS!!!”), goddamn it I pay it willingly.

Everything about “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is pitch-perfect cheese. The “300: The Series” intent is obvious but somebody, I’m assuming show creator Steven S. DeKnight, realized that it’s more fun to give a bunch of actors purple dialogue, make them get naked, and then act badly. One actor, playing Crixus, delivers an entire monologue about being a gladiator that is utterly devoid of (intentional) gay subtext, until you realize he’s delivering it buck naked. Why half my LJ friends (most of whom are gay or female) aren’t all over this show is beyond me.

Is it classic? No. Is it idiotic? Yes, but in a good way. This is can’t-miss television, especially if you have Netflix. Go check it out, and glory in the cheese.


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