Take the SPARTACUS series...go back a little in time...experience the turmoil that set the stage for the greatest revolt in history. There you have "Gods of the Arena". It suffers no loss in writing, acting, set/staging or any other factor. This series stands alone in all its glory.
So many revelations come to us while watching this series. Batiatus and Lucretia, while still rather despicable characters, display the human struggle to which we all fall prey. There are family squabbles Roman-style, inlaw situations, fertility issues, family business problems. Here we are enticed to feel some of the angst Batiatus has trying to be "the good son", to equal if not outdo his father's success. His marriage to Lucretia against his father's wishes is a thorn in his side. However, it is not his wife who causes him this pain. Lucretia while scheming, arrogant and sometimes cruel will support her man to the very end....and she does! Watching this family's dynamic is like watching a reality show today...mesmerising!
Perhaps, some wonder if the lack of the character of Spartacus himself would not weaken this series...absolutely not! In the footsteps of all those gladiators before and after him, Gannicus too takes up the sword. Excellently played by Dustin Clare, Gannicus gives us everything we hope for in a hero. He is physically awesome, easy on the eye and an in-depth, fully-rounded character in his own right. Gannicus is perhaps a conglomerate of all gladiators and in his plight we can follow that track on which they are proplelled by fate. To train, to fight, to live for the glory and blood and agony of the arena, that was the life of a gladiator. Few were given their freedom at the end of a glorious career. For most, it was a gift just to see another sunrise, to touch the soft skin of an erstwhile lover one more time, to take one more breath before the roar of the ravenous crowds engulfed them.
They are all here, Naevia, Oenomanus, Barca, the beloved Crixus etc. to draw us back into the thick air of the ludus, to lure us into the orgies and outright sinful fun of the house of Batiatus. New characters too, all insatiable in their own ways, rivet us to the screen, leave us longing to walk the rowdy streets of Capua beside them, to peek into their windows and out from under their beds....longing to be a part of the scene that was the Roman Empire.
Watch it....if you loved Spartacus, chances are you will get lost in this series too. Fantastic fun!