Monday nights just aren’t going to feel the same after this week. The Cheesecake household will certainly be suffering from a collective case of the sads after 11.15pm has come and gone. Why the boo-hoo fest? Well, Spartacus: War of the Damned will be done and with it the story of Spartacus and his cheery band of gladiator nut-jobs will be complete. Once it’s finished there will be no more.
Damn but I’m gonna miss this show.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that the show is *sniffle*, sorry, was spectacularly violent. Borrowing heavily from the visual style of 300 there were BUCKETS of blood in every single episode. I don’t think I have ever watched anything else that reveled in the violence quite so much. If you don’t like depictions of violence then this show would definitely not have been for you. That said, you have to give the producers and directors a little credit, when it comes to inflicting brutal death on people they’re an inventive bunch. I distinctly remember an episode where some poor sucker got his entire face sliced off…HIS ENTIRE FACE! I’m sure we can all agree that falls into the category of “fucking bonkers“. It became a bit of a running joke in our house. What will win the prize for outrageous slaying of the week?
It’s also pretty heavy on the swears. There are some truly EPIC insults. I found this clip on You Tube. This is all the swearing from just the very 1st episode.
John Hannah doing some sterling work there.
There’s also enough nudity to make Lady Godiva blush. Lets be honest, there were acres of naked flesh as far as the eye could see at some points. In fairness though it always seemed like it was equal opportunity nudiness. Spartacus actually had quite a refreshing take on gender as well, it just didn’t matter. There were same sex relationships, strong female characters and I always rather like that. (They never did manage to top James Purefoy’s 1st scene in Rome though did they? If you haven’t seen it you should seek it out. Full on starkers while getting oiled up by a slave. Mrs Cheesecake still talks fondly about that to this day. She met “the Purejoy” once you know. I could have been on fire at that moment and I doubt she would have noticed. He does do a mean Blue Steel it has to be said…Just to clarify he was fully clothed when they met. He was only naked on the TV).
The cast have been just brilliant. Andy Whitfield and then Liam McIntyre have each brought their own unique interpretation to Spartacus. I admit that I was more than a little sceptical that the show could survive the loss of it’s main star. Whitfield was great to watch and I saw masses of potential there. McIntyre did the most sensible thing he could do when he stepped in. He let the writing guide him and over the course of two seasons he added his own dimension to the solid groundwork of Whitfield.
All the other actors and actresses have been great as well. Early on Lucy Lawless and John Hannah were magnificently decadent as Batiatus and Lucretia. Nick Tarabay was supremely sleazy as Ashur and Peter Mensah brought a quiet dignity to Oenomaus. In more recent series Pana Hema Taylor and Cythina Addia-Robinson were great as Nasir and Naevia respectively.
It has to be Daniel Feuerriegel, Dustin Clare, Liam McIntyre and Manu Bennett as Agron, Gannicus, Spartacus and Crixus that made the show for me though. I mean c’mon. How can you not love this? I ask you.
Here’s the interesting/surprising thing from my perspective. Setting aside all the violence, swearing and nudity, (much as I enjoy it all), this did actually make me want to learn more about history surrounding the real people that the characters are based on. I know that the show has glorified a brutal time for the sake of entertainment but the flip side of that is that I now have burning curiosity to separate the fact from the fiction.
So where do we go now? Who will fill the void now that Spartacus is no more. I’ve thought about this long and hard and I reckon that this fella shows a certain amount of potential.
Are you listening Raimi, Tapert, DeKnight??? (they’re the producers before you ask) Gannicus the celt was one of the most popular characters on the show. I’ve heard talk of a spin off for Julius Ceasar. Don’t waste your time bothering with that. Check out Slaine and bring him, Ukko the dwarf and the glories of the warp-spasm to the small screen. (Yes, yes. I know this is never going to happen. Don’t spoil the lovely daydream I’m having. I’m clutching at straws here people).
If you’ve never seen Spartacus I advise you check it out in all of its raw, base glory. I loved it and I’m going to miss its mixture of slo-mo beheadings and fruity language.
Mad, bad and dangerous to know Spartacus has been one hell of a ride.
Till next time
Live Free and Die Well!
* Oh come on, I couldn’t not use that particular insult as the title for the blog post. The first time I heard a character exclaim using this particular epithet my reaction was similar to this!