Friday, May 07, 2010


PHS Editor Donna Alward is very excited to bring SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND to the PHS for Must Watch Friday - with a post that really demanded visual aids...

I can't believe Sparty hasn't been done yet as a must watch!  When I did a search to be sure, I got so excited.  Because a show I began to watch and was just Meh about turned out to be one of my favourite shows of the year!

Spartacus takes the historical story of the slave/gladiator and creatively expands on the seeds of truth.  I started watching because I had watched ROME and loved it.  REALLY loved it.  But after the first episode or so of Sparty, I was just so-so about it. 

In the show, Spartacus the Thracian joins forces with the Romans only to be betrayed. When he deserts and returns to his wife, he is caught by Claudius Glaber (Craig Parker, LOTR).  Spartacus's wife is taken and sold into slavery and Spartacus finds himself at the House of Batiatus - with a kill or be killed future as a gladiator.

I was initially turned off by cheesy effects - blood spatter in slow-mo type things that are better suited to something with the name Tarantino attached to it (and I've never truly gotten the lure of Tarantino's work).  It seemed more campy and soap opera like in contrast to HBO's ROME, relying on special effects rather than tight storytelling.  But I was kind of taken by Spartacus himself, and that's all down to Andy Whitfield.

There is something about his eyes that I can't resist.  And there were times - before he was "molded" into the brotherhood of gladiators (read: when his hair was still long) - that I thought if they ever made another movie about Jesus, he could play the starring role.  So I kept watching.

And it got better.

Spartacus, Crixus and Varro

Drama.  Storylines.  Sex, betrayal, friendships and swords.  More twists and turns and fewer slow motion cheesy effects.  Batiatus, played by John Hannah, who you almost respect as head of the ludus except that he is a power hungry liar - and woe to him once Spartacus finds out exactly what he's done!  Batiatus's wife, played by Lucy Lawless, is gorgeous and yet just as devious.  Then there's the friendship between Spartacus and Varro (and OMG OMG if you've watched you know what I mean) and the competition - even hatred - between Spartacus and Crixus (Manu Bennett).  There's a whole storyline with Crixus that is wonderful and the whole lot of them are trained - and contained - by the force that is Doctore. 
Lucretia, Ilythia and Sura

And the women!  Well, let's not get started on Ilythia and her treachery.

By the last episode - and knowing the basics about Spartacus in history, I knew what SHOULD happen - I was on the edge of my seat.  And let me just say...the final epi of season 1 BLEW ME AWAY. I live in hope for Season 2.  And on that note - I wish a speedy and full recovery to Andy Whitfield.  Production has halted while he has treatment for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  A shocking development when you see someone so young and healthy.  Hopefully he's back to fighting form soon - and we get more Spartacus.  Because I can't wait to see what happens next!

If I haven't convinced you, maybe you'd like a peek at the trailer???

Andy Whitfield just HAPPENS to be Donna's casting for her current WIP.  In the meantime, HER LONE COWBOY is finishing up its run in Australia and New Zealand and her next release is a reprint of HIRED: THE ITALIAN'S BRIDE in the anthology, Mediterranean Men and Marriage in July.  You can check out all her releases at her website at


  1. I am looking forward to seeing this when it comes to the UK.

  2. Missed this, Donna. But now I'll be looking for it. Great description!

  3. I'm soooo looking forward to this airing in the UK. It's been touted as "coming soon" on the Bravo channel. Can't wait! Caroline x

  4. He's my hero too, Donna! Great minds. I feel the same way. My hubby was watching it and I sat in the same room with headphones on. When the Crixus's storyline started taking off was really when it hooked me. And the season finale...OMgsh!! Agh!! I couldn't even sit and watch it. I had to pace. And hide.