Spartacus: Blood and Sand - The Complete First Season
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SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND
A new 13 episode series
Betrayed by his country. Beaten into slavery. Reborn as a warrior. Spartacus: Blood and Sand is a graphic and visceral account of Rome’s most famous gladiator. When he’s separated from the love of his life, Spartacus is forced into the gruesome and bloodthirsty arena, where a grisly death is primetime entertainment. Spartacus must fight for survival, befriend his enemies and play politics in this new world of corruption, violence, sex and fame. He’ll be seduced by power and tormented by vengeance. But his passion will give him the strength to prevail over every obstacle, in this modern and uninhibited tale of death, honor and endurance.
Starring: Andy Whitfield (MCLEOD’S DAUGHTERS) as Spartacus, John Hannah (THE MUMMY) as Batiatus, Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess) as Lucretia, Peter Mensah (300, THE INCREDIBLE HULK) as Doctore, From Executive Producers Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi (Spider-Man Â®, Evil Dead), Steven S. DeKnight and Joshua Donen 4-Disc Set contains tons of bonus features including ALL NEW featurettes, behind-the-scenes footage, bloopers and more! Blu-ray to include 4 Director’s Extended Cut episodes! The series premiere was the highest rated show in the history of the TMN next to the Sopranos series finale, currently remains in the top 3 programs.
The "sword and sandals" genre isn't exactly known for its subtlety and restraint, but even by those standards, Spartacus: Blood and Sand is deliriously, delightfully over the top. Viewers familiar with the 1960 film starring Kirk Douglas and directed by Stanley Kubrick, the best-known version of the Spartacus tale, will recognize the basic outline of the story: a Thracian warrior with a beautiful, loving wife is betrayed by his Roman "allies" and forced into slavery, whereupon he distinguishes himself as a gladiator nonpareil and, after enduring countless indignities, leads his brethren and others in a rebellion against their oppressors. But there's a lot more Caligula than Kubrick in the 13 first-season episodes (each a bit less than an hour long) of this Starz television series, which stars Andy Whitfield in the title role and also features Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess) as the wicked wife of Spartacus's owner. The fight scenes are highly stylized (the entire production seems to have taken a cue from the surreal, painterly look of 300) but extraordinarily brutal, featuring multiple dismemberments and decapitations amidst seas of slow-motion, CGI-generated blood; a gladiatorial battle in episode 5 pitting Spartacus and his rival-turned-ally Crixus (Manu Bennett) against a monster named Theokoles is definitely not for the squeamish, but that's only one of many such scenes. There's also ample sex and nudity, as the couplings involving various studly gladiators and lustful Roman noblewomen are like salacious combat between Chippendales dancers and Victoria's Secret models. Meanwhile, the personal relationships are the stuff of soap operas, with the Romans in particular depicted as relentlessly decadent, duplicitous, and power-hungry.
If this all sounds outrageously entertaining, it is, though perhaps not for everyone. And although the future of the show (which was executive produced by Spider-Man director Sam Raimi) is in doubt due to Whitfield's ongoing battle with cancer, we'll always have this season to revel in. Bonus material in the four-disc set includes audio commentary on a variety of episodes and a batch of featurettes, most prominently a 15-minute "making of" documentary. --Sam GrahamSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The problem is that one of the disks had a flaw in it that makes one of the episodes unplayable. The problem is that unless you watch a series you buy from Amazon straight through in a massive viewing marathon, you might not discover such a flaw until you have passed Amazon's return/exchange period. When I pointed this out to Amazon, they basically said tough luck.
So, I now have an incomplete collection of this excellent series.
This experience prompted me to:
- Visually check all my disks on arrival for single disk purchases
- Never buy another boxed set series from Amazon again
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.
I have found the characters to be very compelling, especially Andy Whitfield that gives an amazing, magnetic performance, in the likes of Russell Crowe in "Gladiator". His presence is strong and it is incredibly sad to have lost such a promising, talented actor. It is worth watching just to see this.
But the best classification for it is pulp. Lurid and exploitative but very far from stupid. What starts as a riff on 300 becomes an intricately plotted, incredibly well-realized and intelligently written modern pulp masterpiece. You may tune in for the boobs, butts and blood, but you will stay for the fantastic characters and compelling narrative. More than once throughout the season I actually gasped, out loud, startling nearby cats.
There is no show on television right now that compares. Bringer of rain, indeed.
Most recent customer reviews
product was in v.g. condition but did not like all the blood and gore...a little over the top
will not view the other seasons...
Both my wife and I luv this series! Lots of really good fighting scenes and more or less "soft porn"!Published 8 months ago by Dennis Rothenburger
Have really enjoyed the series, full of gore and nudity. Beware and read reviews before purchasing if you are not into this style of entertainment.Published 15 months ago by Moe1979
Uber violent but in a very cartoon-y way. Excellent writing and compelling story with some very luscious and lascivious soft core pr0n pretty well makes this miniseries complete. Read morePublished 20 months ago by InaraSerra
Awesome series. The Spartacus in this, the first of the series was so incredibly perfect in every way for this role. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Pen Name
Great cast, story, production design, sound , picture quality, all very well done.Published 21 months ago by MIke