Posts Tagged ‘spartacus’

Where’s my Queer Positive Hero?

I miss Torchwood!!

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You know what I miss this show more and more for one major reason, a queer positive relationship in a show that didn’t ever go into the awkward coming out storyline, where being gay or bi didn’t define the characters or their actions it was just part of who they were. Being LGBT in Torchwood didn’t have any effect on the ability to fight aliens or save the world! Torchwood may have started with a small fan base but by the time it got to BBC one it was pretty mainstream, I mean I watched Children of Earth with my Dad! No one complained about the relationship between Jack and Ianto, there was no backlash at having two characters in an open and comfortable gay relationship in lead roles saving the day. No one ever had a problem with Captain Jack Harkness and his omnisexual presence, even in doctor who no one was upset with him flirting with everything.
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Doctor Who is a family show and it happily showed Jack flirt with boys, girls, robots and aliens. He was open, out and proud and most of all loved by all. He was a true hero for queer positive media and his sexuality and behaviour never overshadowed the fact that he was a hero. He didn’t angst over his sexuality, who he dated or slept with had no effect on his ability to save the day and I miss him and everything he represented so much. TV lost a great queer icon and hero.

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Where has queer positive TV gone? I’m a rabid slash fangirl so I do love my fandoms and bromance pairings like Mcdanno from H5.0 and the enormous slash potential of Destiel from Supernatural but they are beginning to feel more like teasing slash fans and us audience members that don’t identify as straight. As someone who identifies as Bi and enjoys non heteronormative story telling I am feeling a void. I slash a lot of shows, White Collar, Suits, Flash, Merlin, Sherlock, True Blood, Castle and Angel/Buffy but as much as I love them and reading my fanfiction I want something more!

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I’m tired of being teased I want some real honest gay heroes and I’m starting to see the reality of queer baiting in TV shows. I loved Spartacus especially when they didn’t kill of the gay characters and a show that had gay gladiators every bit as capable as the rest of the cast was amazing.
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I love Sense8, Brothers and Sisters and Six Feet Under but again these cater shows all have the “trial of gay character”. Where are my Captain Jack Harkness’s? I love that some shows are fleshing out gay characters more, making them confident in their sexuality. Shows like How to get away with Murder and the character of Conner are very positive but still I want a hero!
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I won’t even get started on movies. Thank god for Star Wars and the stormpilot phenomenon as it has opened the eyes of creators to the fact that there is a huge cry for LGBT in movies and we want to see more diversification.

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The evolution of the star wars fandom is amazing and I’m so glad to be part of it and whiteness Hollywood and its directors and actors see how popular queer fandom is and how in demand it is. SWFA went from the behemoth that is the stormpilot fandom taking over online, the lovefest for Poe Dameron to now Poe having his own spinoff comic and actual talk of changing the script to include LGBT in the mainstream movie canon verse. What started as a slash pairing, went to Oscar saying he was playing a romance, to reports that such a romance was just in Oscars head and they denied any Poe/Finn romance, to JJ Abrams saying it’s about time SW got LGBT characters, to it will definitely get LGBT characters to now discussions on Luke Skywalkers sexuality.

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So media needs to stop with the queer baiting and just give us some positive LGBT characters, characters confident in their sexuality so other aspects of their personality and their place in the world they inhabit can be explored. So we can have depictions of non-heteronormative relationships like the ones you get in Sense8 (which really is a break through show). Arrow is setting up its first gay hero, Agents of Shield has a new gay member of the team, Jessica Jones has a great Lesbian character (even if she is a horrible person and villainous she is a solid character and being lesbian has nothing to do with the fact that she is power hungry and ambitious), Gotham too so come on movies catch up.

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As for the rest of TV give us some fresh takes on LGBT characters where their sexuality isn’t their personality and what defines their actions, it’s just part of what makes them who they are.

For more TV shows with Slash potential and gay characters check out my fangirly list here: http://www.lzsy.co.uk/2012/12/my-slash-bromance-and-gay-tv-and-movie-list/

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My Slash, Bromance and Gay Tv and Movie List

I am trying to compile a list of all the Tv shows and movies I slash as well as some good shows with canon gay couples that I enjoy. If like me you are trying to find new shows to watch that have that slash element then I hope this list helps you.

1. Hawaii 5.0 – Steve/Danno
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2. Supernatural – Dean/Castiel
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3. Angel - Angel/Spike
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4. Torchwood – Jack/Ianto, Jack/John, Jack/Captain Harkness
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5. Doctor Who – Doctor/Master, Doctor/Jack
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6. Merlin – Arthur/Merlin
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7. Oz – Keller/Beecher
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8. Brothers and Sisters – Scotty/Kevin
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9. Heroes – Nathan/Peter
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10. Six Feet Under – Keith/David
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11. Star Trek – Kirk/Spock
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12. Nip/Tuck – Christian/Sean
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13. Lord of the Rings – Aragorn/Legolas
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14. White Collar – Peter/Neil
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15. Suits – Harvey/Mike
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16. The Eagle – Marcus/Esca
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17. Spartacus: Blood and Sand – Barca/Pietros
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18. Spartacus: Vengence – Agron/Nasir
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19. Spartacus: Gods of the Arena – Barca/Auctus
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20. Glee – Blaine/Kurt
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21. Sherlock – Sherlock/Watson
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22. Sherlock Holmes – Sherlock/Watson
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23. Stargate SG1 – O’niel/Jackson
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24. The Lair – Damian/Thom
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25. Dantes Cove – Toby/Adam, kevin/Bro
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26. Vampire Diaries – Damon/Alaric
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27. Alexander – Alexander/Hephistian
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28. Troy – Hector/Paris
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29. Kingdon of Heaven – Bailin/Imad ad-Din
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30. Pirates of the Carribean – Jack/Will
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31. LA Confidential – Bud/Exley
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32. Matrix – The Twins
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33. Boston legal – Danny/Alan
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34. Common Law – Travis/Wes
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35. Night at the Museum – Jedediah/Octavious
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36. I love you Phillip Morris – Steven/Phillip
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37. Kiss kiss Bang Bang – Perry/Harry
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38. Starsky and Hutch – Starsky/Hutch
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39. Boondock Saints – Connor/Murphy McManus
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40. Interview with the Vampire – Lestat/Louis
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41. Harry Potter – Sirius/Lupin
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42. Queer as Folk – Vince/Stuart
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43. Partners – Wyatt/Louis
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44. The New Normal – David/Brian
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45. Gangster Number 1 – Freddy/Gangster
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46. Donald Strachey Mysteries – Don/Tim
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47. Yasha –Moichi/Sei, Sei/Rin, Takeru/Rin
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48. Master and Commander - Aubery/Maturin
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49. Grimm – Monroe/Nick
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50. Castle – Esposito/Ryan
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51. The Krays – Kray twins
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52. True Blood – Eric/Bill
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53. Community -Troy/Abed
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54. Sense8 – Lito/Hernando
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55. How to Get Away With Muder – Connor/Oliver
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56. Flash Harry (earth 2)/Cisco
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57. Flash – Captain Singh/Rob
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58. Arrow Curtis/Paul
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59. Star Wars Force Awakens Poe/Finn aka StormPilot
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60. ShadowHunters Magnus/Alec
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61 – The Flash Captain Cold/Flash
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62. Legeds of Tomorrow Coldwave
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63. Legends of Tomorrow ColdAtom
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64. Legends of Tomorrow AtomWave (my fav LOT pairing)
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65. Rogue One Baze/Chirrut
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66. Due South Fraser/Kowalski
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66. The Men From U.N.C.L.E Solo/Kuryakin
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67. Jeeves and Wooster Jeeves/Wooster
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Dont forget to follow me @lonedreameryaoi and the Let Zoe Spoil You facebook page.

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Torchwood Miracle Day – an early review because I can’t help myself it’s my biggest fandom and I love John Barrowman!!!!

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Now I know that I usual wait to the end of a show to review it as then I can rant about everything plus spoil it rotten but I just have to give me first impressions of the new torchwood. It will be interesting to see what kind of review I’ll give at the end of the series. So before Miracle Day I listened to the radio plays, first 2 were ok was nice to have some old school stories but god did it make me sad about Ianto. Now I loved Ianto so I was excited at first to have some more episodes even just audio ones with him in it now that I was out of Torchwood books to read. When it came down to it having Ianto back just made me realise how much I missed him and wished he hadn’t died reminding me what the fandom had lost. Now the 3rd radio play, my god did it break my heart. At first it was all yay Jack and Ianto together solving a case until that mega twist of doom!!!!! House of Ghosts was so brilliant for that and heart breaking. What can you say as a Janto fangirl when confronted with the wonderful plot of Jack missing Ianto so much he goes to see his ghost? Ianto as a ghost, the one person in all of Jacks life, with all his loves and loss he wants to see again. That alone spoke volumes to us of how much Ianto meant to Jack.
The whole thing was torturous; they fought beautifully, the combination of Jack’s own selfishness combined with desperation to see Ianto again. Ianto so in love with Jack but appalled by Jacks actions while also coming to terms with what that means and how strongly jack does love him and that they have to be separated again. Even just as voices the pain of finding and losing each other came across through fantastic acting. Jack willing to give up life rather than be without Ianto, his world being empty and just not willing to continue, Ianto convincing him to give up the fight let someone else deal with it so they could have a chance just for it to be a rouse because he doesn’t want Jack to die. How many times can I say heart-breaking but it was and then Janto fangirls around the world rejoiced for Jack told Ianto “I Love You”? There’s no implications, no doubt no room for denial Jack loves Ianto and it’s Ianto he wants to see at the end of it all!!! I like to believe that when Jack does finally die it will be Ianto he meets again in the afterlife and Ianto will be waiting for him probably with a strong cup of coffee in hand.
This finale radio play gave me a lot of closure because I finally got the confession they never gave us in COE and it allowed me to go into Miracle Day knowing that no matter what Jack does his love for Ianto was real and when it’s said and done they will find each other in the afterlife. So I was very happy to accept Jack in Miracle day understanding that he may be depressed and isolated but Ianto gave him a chance to live again and he has a duty not to waist his life but live to protect and be Captain Jack Harkness in all his glory saving the human race and making a difference, his journey isn’t over and if we believe in Doctor Who he has to become the Face of Boe and live a very long life as Earths observer, saviour, protector and make the great sacrifice before he can die.

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So Miracle day, I was rather excited I was so ready for the return of Captain Jack Harkness to my screen and the trailers looked good and the reviews had been good. I have decided to be good and watch it on the BBC rather than get it from the states as I want to make sure it gets the ratings to prove how well it’s doing. So here’s where I stand on TMD and the TW fandom. Its kinda like 2 different series really you could almost say there set in two different realities. TW series 1 and 2 was cheesy, fun and silly, it had its darkness and angst but it wasn’t too harsh in my opinion plus it followed the weekly formula so wasn’t as epic. Now I loved TW that way, I mean all it needed was jack running around and I would love it as John Barrowman can do no wrong. Though I also loved Ianto and it was his and Jacks relationship that interested me the most. I wanted more than the plot and storylines to see the two of them interact and for Ianto to deliver his brilliant one liners. There were brilliant episodes that could carry themselves based on the great writing then there were episodes I liked less for the plot and more for the amount Janto scenes in them.
Now there are two types of shows I like, shows that aren’t the best dramatically but have an awesome slash pairing that blinds me to any of the shows weaknesses and then there are shows so good dramatically that I don’t care that there isn’t a slash paring in them for me to focus on. Good examples of these are Merlin, Hawaii 5.0 and Vampire Diaries for slash though I have to admit I love the first 2, VD even I have given up on. Then there are shows like Fringe, Xfiles and SGU which are just so good I don’t care that nobody is gay. Of course you get shows that fulfil both these criteria like Oz, Glee and Nip/Tuck but series 1 and 2 of TW was for me more about the slash than the plot a lot of the time. Don’t get me wrong TW is my top fandom and I would never let anyone say a bad thing about it because it was brilliant and great fun but lacked the intelligence of great sci-fi like Fringe or the gritty harsh reality of Oz and the extreme dramatic tension and killer style of SGU. But then things shifted in COE which I did a review on back when it came out so I won’t go on about it again.

http://www.lzsy.co.uk/2009/10/torchwood-children-of-the-earth-a-critic-and-a-fans-review/
Now back then I had no intentions of re-joining the fandom but I couldn’t help myself!!! You see COE was a turning point making a new show out of the ashes of the old. Miracle Day has all the epic qualities of COE with the one on-going and intense plot line. With this new style of an epic plot comes far more dramatic tension and the writing has become another level. From the first ep we have a new Torchwood a show where the intelligence of the plot, dramatics and harsh reality become such a driving force that I’m hooked. I’m so intrigued and invested that I don’t miss the slash. TW has become a show like Fringe where my interest isn’t just focused on gay storylines and moments of slashability but truly interested in what’s gonna happen to these characters. Now being TW and having read spoilers and JB interviews I also know that we will still be getting the gay and I am very much looking forward to a bit of naked Jack and sexy times. Though I do wish Ianto had lived to this point but I have my knowledge of that no matter how much sex and boyfriends Jack has in life its Ianto he will return to and is waiting to see after his death. After all it’s not fair to ask Captain Jack Harkness, immortal 51st century omisexual time traveller to stay celibate for the next 6million years.

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As for all the other concerns I had about the show from ep one it doesn’t feel too American and it never can with brilliant lines from Kai Owen, how much love do I have for Rhys and “Captain Jack Bollocks”. Also Gwen has matured so much and with her love for Rhys and their child she is no longer the character I felt was a threat to my Janto pairing but honestly a strong women who is very close to Jack and they make a strong team. I loved Gwen in the first episode, baby ear muff shooting down helicopters was just awesome and I very much hope we see more of the kick arse side of Gwen. Yes I know a lot more of the show will be in America but you can take Gwen out of Wales but you can’t take the Welsh out of Gwen. Jack has always been timeless and impossible to place so he will just always be Jack wherever he is so I don’t fear for him apart from the not being immortal anymore. It’s a very interesting place to go dramatically and I hope they use it well but I will miss the ha ha I’m not dead even though you blew me up moments. I think a lot of the faith I have in this series comes from the fact it was co-produced with Starz and they gave me Spartacus: Blood and Sand which is one of the best shows on TV.
So I know they won’t dumb down the actions, violence or sex they now have the freedom to do. As for the other characters so far Rex seems interesting so concerned with his own goals and advancements he doesn’t mind who gets hurt because of his ambition. He’s going to be a disliked character at first but I think he has a journey to go on so not going to paint him as a bad guy yet just a guy whose priorities need work and is going to make some bad decisions even though he thinks he is doing the right thing. Ester is our other main character who is just the American answer to Gwen series 1, she’s the character that comes in and introduces the American audience to TW. She seems nice and because she is clearly in love with Rex she’s not a threat as a potential Jack love interest but she will also probably grow and have a similar journey to early Gwen. The other character I’m intrigued by is Bill Pullmans paedophile murderer, a brave and bold choice for a character who looks like he has some major weight in the overall plot. I do love a villain that is charming and ruthless and you don’t know exactly where you stand with him so I’m very interested to see his journey as I’m sure nothing in this series is going to be black and white.

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That’s its so far the series has dramatic weight, tension, epicness, global appeal as well as that home grown feeling, interesting characters, great action and one liners and I for one can’t wait to see where this series is going to go.

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @lonedreameryaoi and on the Let Zoe Spoil You Facebook group.

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Spartacus: Blood and Sand/ God of the Arena – the violent aesthetic perfectly poured onto our TV sets!!

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This is television at its best, this is being allowed to view what would normally be made for the big screen and giving us the ultimate visual experience. Spartacus is a true television spectacle not only for its aesthetics and use of modern filming techniques but also because it’s brave enough to go where so many shows don’t. It treats its audience like the adults we are not backing down and pandering to ratings, its brilliant and brutal, beautiful and excessive, not playing safe but exploiting our thirst for aesthetic violence and adult sensuality. No this is not TV for those under 18 it deserves it certificate and it makes sure it rewards its audience with all visuals we could ever want. As you can tell I loved this series, I have always been a fan of the violent aesthetic; I appreciate the line between brutality and beauty and love the use of a harsher sensuality, of glorifying the powerful beast that is man’s desire. Spartacus is a first on television for using techniques normally used for big screen adaptation of comic books, it has a unique style using the cg created world and populating it with some very well defined and imposing characters. This series is a must for fans of films such as 300, both visually and narratively.
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The plot for Blood and Sand follows the rise of Spartacus through his imprisonment as a slave and gladiator. As he grows to become champion and wins the hearts of the people while searching for his wife and seeking revenge against those that put him into this life of servitude. Into this world are thrown the other gladiators he must train with and fight, his new master and his wife and those drawn into the web of lie’s and deceit as a clash between and search for vengeance and the greed for power becomes more entangled. All characters are very well fleshed out with equal opportunity for growth and development and you share a great deal of interesting and intense journeys. But be warned not to get to attached to anyone this series has a high death toll and no character is safe for the brutality and the dangers of the world they live in. Spartacus has to rise to fame through battles of the heart, mind and body being manipulated by the Lanista Batiatus, who will go to any length to gain fame, fortune and status, along with his equally cunning and seductive wife Lucrecia. Thrown in this mix of gladiators such as Crixsus (the current champion of the arena) are plots of betrayal and mistrust, of rivalry and hate. But also of love and companionship, of relationships between men that stand as brothers, lovers, husbands, warriors, slaves and friends. Everything about this series is steeped in blood and sacrifice the pure harshness of their lives and the burden of position in this society. The driving force of this show is one man rising up through blood and carnage to make a better place, to become the Spartacus we know of from legend the man that freed slaves and caused Rome to tremble.
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God of the Arena came about because the actor who plays Spartacus himself was diagnosed with cancer so to give him time to recover they made a mini-series prequel. This prequel is every bit if not more violent and sensational in its depiction of sex and brutality. The mini-series features the bloody history of the House of Batiatus and the city of Capua before the arrival of Spartacus. Quintus Lentulus Batiatus becomes a Lanista (manager) when he takes over his father’s ludus of gladiators. He has ambitions of stepping out of his father’s shadow by seeking recognition for his own name and achieving greatness for his house. By his side stands his beautiful wife Lucrecia who will help her husband achieve his goal no matter what the cost. Batiatus puts all his fortunes on the man who will gain him fame and glory, his best gladiator, the Celt, Genius; a skilled warrior who wields his swords in the arena as if it were his last day alive. However, there are those who oppose Batiatus and his future champion(s) of Capua, plotting against him only to fail. Purchased as an undisciplined and dishevelled recruit in the first episode, the Gaul Crixsus endures mockery and threats of death to become the greatest gladiator in the house after Gannicus. As Batiatus fends off repeated attempts by his professional rival Tullius to obtain Gannicus, his relationships with his father Titus and friend Solonius begin to suffer the strain of Quintus’ relentless ambition. Former champion gladiator Oenomaus reluctantly retires from combat to become Doctore, while Syrian recruits Ashur and Dagan become fierce enemies as Ashur tries to prove himself worthy of being a gladiator. Veteran gladiators Barca and Gannicus accept the rising star of Crixsus but fear that their own careers will suffer, as the machinations of Batiatus and Lucrecia to court Capua’s elite end in tragedy for several members of the household. Against all of this, the city’s splendid new arena nears completion and with it the opening games that will make men into gods.
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Both series are amazing in their visual style and use of colours, everything from the colours in the sky that reflect the emotional turmoil of the characters and pre warnings of doom and blood shed to the tones of the land to shown this harsh and unforgiving land. The sets are amazing while much is rendered, the Ludus is very much a real and gritty place nothing is beautiful and safe in the walls that imprison these ferocious men. The home of Batiatus looks like it is beautiful and with the glorification of base pleasures and the enticing luxury of desire you may think this looks like a beautiful home if not for the amount of blood that needs to washes away from its floors each day. The characters always speak with purpose there are no pointless and uninteresting dialogues every word said has meaning and impact. The music is perfect mixing great orchestral choirs and orchestras to fan fair our battles in the arena as well as give more depth to scenes of a much more gentle nature. The costumes are beautiful, fully depicting the fashion of this period of time; in fact the Misc-en-scen is very well done truly given both the upper class richness of Rome as well as the squalor and depravity of lower roman classes. The whole series works dualities with magical precision. Gladiator may be brutal and violent in the arena but also can be full of love, compassion and tenderness outside. A good and very brave example of this is in Barca, The Beast of Carthage. He is one of the top gladiators and as you guessed from his name he is fierce, deadly and not one to mess with but he is also a man that greatly loves and is in fact gay. He has a beautiful and tender relationship with his younger lover and their story is touching and gently in so much contradiction to the man that stands in the arena with so much blood on his hands. I respect any series that shows a gay relationship that isn’t about coming out or just a walking gay cliché, to show love between 2 men standing as equals in the world is a far rarer thing on TV, so much respect to Starz for backing this series and this particular plot.
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All in all this series is just great entertainment with more complications than some soaps, amazingly well fleshed out characters, beautiful settings and visuals, great scoring and acting it has everything. It shows us all kinds of desires and sensualities, lets us indulge in the glorification of the flesh and exhilarating rush of violence. The battles are wonderfully played out with both skill and ample blood letting, you are at the edge of your seat awaiting their outcomes. Yet it also keeps you well aware how dangerous such pleasurable and corruptible pursuits can be and that beauty may be only skin deep and perfection can cut all the way to the bone.
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