In 2010 Starz channel gave viewers an intense, action packed drama called Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Now they deliver to those hungry for more Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. Gods of the Arena starts off with a bang, a bloody fight in a small arena, showcasing the gladiators, and it keeps up the speed and momentum, never letting up until the credits roll. As this show, like it’s predecessor, pulls no punches in regards to language, blood, gore, violence, nudity, or sex, it is definitely not for younger audiences or the squeamish. However it is a show definitely deserving of your time if you do not fall into those aforementioned categories.
For those who watched the original Spartacus, many of the characters here are familiar. Batiatus and Lucretia (the legendary John Hannah and luminous Lucy Lawless) run the ludus, but as this show is set five years prior to the events of the first season, they do so under the ominous shadow of Batiatus’ still living father. Ashur (the devilish Nick Tarabay) is not yet Batiatus’ attendant, but is in training to be a gladiator. And Crixus (the imposing Manu Bennett) is a newly purchased slave.
It is indeed refreshing not only to be reacquainted with characters we became so familiar with in the first show, but to also learn more about them. Oenomaus (whom we only knew as Doctore in Blood and Sand) now has a name, as well a wife. He is just recovered from his legendary fight with Theocalese. He is the only one to fight the Shadow of Death, as Theocalese is known, and live. Now he yearns to be back on the sands of the arena, fighting for the glory of the ludus once more. But Batiatus has other plans.
Along with the beloved (or sometimes despised) familiar faces, there are also some welcome new addtions. Australian actor Dustin Clare joins the ancient city of Capua as Gannicus, Batiatus’ newest house champion. Gannicus comes across as something of a rock star in that he lives to the fullest every moment he can, every way he can. Whether it is women, drink, or stunts while fighting, he seems to pull out all the stops.
Another new face is Dexter alum Jaime Murray. She joins the show as an old friend of Lucretia’s, in town after the passing of her most recent husband. She is a beautiful instigator who will be staying with her friend for a time. Soap Opera veteran Marisa Ramirez also joins the group as Melitta, Oenomaus’ wife and Lucretia’s chief attendant.
The writing on this show is exceptional, and the actors are just as skilled at bringing the words and actions to life. The intricacies of the various plots weave together, forming a tapestry of story you cannot look away from, even at it’s most brutal. And though the writers are good, often times the actors can speak volumes with a simple look than any words could convey. This show is definitely a must see!