Spartacus: Blood and Sand is not just violence and porn

24 Apr

A werewolf, ghost and vampire are flatmates in BBC's Being Human

The 2009-2010 TV season has been a mixed bag for me. Some new shows blew chunks from the very beginning, Jay Leno went from being a late night embarrassment to a prime time embarrassment only to go back to being a late night embarrassment, 24 decided to call it a day, Alex O’Loughlin still can’t catch a break despite being drop-dead gorgeous, I cut my losses with Lost and decided to wait for the DVD box set of all the seasons, and Kate Gosselin went from mildly annoying on a little show on TLC to the 50-foot  uber-bitch that just would not get off of my TV screen even after I changed the channel and unplugged the power chord. Still, my heart has been captured by the eleventh Doctor and his companion, a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost turned out to be better housemates than any of the idiots on Big Brother ever, I finally get Olivia Dunham and her penchant for monochromatic outfits and limp hair, Castle took on Firefly and Generation Kill in one episode, South Park took on Facebook, and a gladiator from Capua captured my loins and his name isn’t Spartacus.

Three new shows that surprised me:

1. Spartacus: Blood and Sand

As the title to this post says, Spartacus is not just violence and porn, even though there is plenty of that to be had. The first 2 episodes of the show were heavy with exposition and introductions but then the show took off at break neck speed and thrilled me in ways that no man (or woman) ever has. The acting, the writing, the direction, the casting, the set design, the nudity … everything just combined to bring the story of Spartacus to a boil. During all of this, the supposedly single-minded Crixus emerged as my favorite character. He evolved over the season from a one-dimensional, jealous, blood-thirsty, arrogant bully into an honorable, thoughtful, loyal and courageous hero. Say what you will about Sparty, Crixus is the true champion of my heart.

Manu Bennett as Crixus

2. The Vampire Diaries

I was so sure this was going to be the TV version of Twilight or True Blood-lite. Instead, this teen vampire drama turned out to be something completely different and awesome. These vampires can walk out in the sun but they do not sparkle and the humans are not complete idiots or rednecks either. It helps that the relatively young cast can actually … you know … act! It also helps that the source material was written by someone who can actually … you know … write! Also, Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley both look like they are familiar with soap and shampoo.

3. FlashForward

If your going to build a series around an actor who was arguably the weakest link in Shakespeare in Love and Enemy at the Gates, you had better surround him with a talented cast and good writers.  The producers of FlashForward have done just that with Joseph “I’d rather F**k his brother” Fiennes. The premise of this show is pretty convoluted but I love the way that no matter what the characters do, they just seem to be headed ever onwards to their predetermined fate. Also Courtney B. Vance is on my TV. YES! Jack Davenport is on my TV. YES! Dominic Monaghan is on my TV. YES! Joseph Fiennes is on my TV. Okay, I’ll live.

4. Human Target

Mark Valley is on my TV. YES! It’s like The Equalizer had a baby with MacGyver. This show would have done well in the 80’s but does well now because it doesn’t try to be more than pure escapism. Sometimes you just want to see the bad guys get taken down in the space of 42 minutes by someone other than a cop, a crime scene investigator, a district attorney, a FBI agent, etc. Imagine if Michael on Burn Notice was blond, had a sense of humor and didn’t look awkward when smiling. Oh, and imagine if Fiona got blown to oblivion. The only thing missing from Human Target is a regular female cast member, but right now the trio of Valley, Jackie Earle Harley and Chi McBride are more than up to the task.

The biggest disappointment for me has been “V”. So far, I couldn’t give a rats ass about any of the characters and I’m not sure I want to stick around to find out what the Visitors are actually up to. They had better hurry up and make this show entertaining.

Advertisements

One Response to “Spartacus: Blood and Sand is not just violence and porn”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Spartacus Blood And Sand Episode 10 Links | Broadcasting News - April 24, 2010

    […] Spartacus: Blood and Sand is not just violence and porn …… Olivia Dunham and her penchant for monochromatic outfits and limp hair, Castle took on Firefly and Generation Kill in one episode, South Park took on Facebook, and a gladiator from Capua captured my loins and his name isn’t Spartacus. … Spartacus: Blood and Sand. As the title to this post says, Spartacus is not just violence and porn, even though there is plenty of that to be had. The first 2 episodes of the show were heavy with exposition and introductions but then … Read more […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: