It’s been two years since Spartacus: Blood and Sand left it’s indelible mark on cable television. The smartly written, blood and gore soaked series titillated audiences in a way probably not seen since the Roman times the series is set in. This adults-only drama is part comic-book gore and part-backstabbing-thriller/drama. But it’s been two long years for fans to see what happens to Spartacus next. Sure, we had the very amazing and tantelizing prequel, Gods of the Arena, but after the Blood and Sand blood-bath finale, it’s time to find out what happens next.
Lisa and I were invited to the red carpet screening of the first episode of Spartacus: Vengeance and mixed and mingled with fans and Hollywood alumns who all craved a little of the arena blood.
Of course, most fans know why the long wait. Lead, Andy Whitfield, whose performance as Spartacus was as legendary as the man himself, sadly was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and later succumb to the disease. Robert Tapert, one of the Executive Producers, explained before the screening that Andy made sure that the cast and crew knew how much he wanted the series to go on once he realized he could not perform. The touching part of the screening was the final part of the episode contains a tribute to Andy, which, I’ll admit, made me a bit teary eyed.
The event, held at the Archlight Theater on Sunset, was a lot of fun. Costumes from the series and props were on display and free popcorn/soda provided for guests. The red carpet was full of fans and photographers waiting to catch a glimpse of the stars (who film in New Zeland, so it was fun to see them in LA). Including our new Spartacus, Liam McIntyre.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t quite ready to let go of Andy as Spartacus. After all, he was the actor portraying the character that I held my breath for, that I cheered for, that I wanted to see get his vengeance. But, as we watched the first episode, my fears were quickly dispersed. Liam brings the quiet rage that we had come to love from Spartacus.
I won’t spoil the episode, you can watch it for yourself on Jan 27th on Starz, but I will say that Spartacus is back with all of it’s bloody glory. There were quite a few surprises and some very “ewwwww” turn your head moments. I have to give props to the writers making the story fit seamlessly with the first series. It’s like we never left.
If you need to catch up before the new series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand is available on Netflix Instant currently. Just remember it is as violent as ancient Rome was, with strong language and nudity.