The first couple of episodes in this series are terrible. There is no way around it. It seemed the creators wanted to create a very emotional tone to the series, by having a slo-mo scene every two seconds. It comes off completely cheeseball, and really hurts the first impression you will probably have of this series. It's so melodramatic in these early episodes, that you'll cringe frequently, and question how such garbage has a fan base.
However, around episode four or so, something changed and the show became great. The dialogue is beefed up, the melodrama is taken away, and it starts to tell a really interesting story. The writing is really strong, and you will be wanting more and more as the series goes on. It's as good and addictive as anything on HBO and Showtime.
If you know absolutely nothing of the series though, I'd start with Gods Of The Arena. It doesn't get off to the rocky start of Blood and Sand, and is a great origin story, and proper beginning to this epic series.