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Spartacus! (icon should read, "I watched, I squeed, I cried, I posted"... 
14th-Apr-2013 11:00 am
Becc_j Art
“Do not shed tear. There is no greater victory than to fall from this world a free man.”

(Post contains some visual spoilers for the finale episode (and NSFW). Take a peek if you are trying to decide if this series is for you. The first half is non spoilery - just reasons why I think it's amazing. I've tried to make a good case for it...;D)

And so ends one of the finest TV shows I've watched in a long time.

I started watching Spartacus with trepidation last year. I'd heard some murmurings that it was pretty good, but not exactly great. I started watching and got completely hooked. Over the seasons it has developed into an amazing story of revenge, courage, power, love, friendship, loyalty and hope. It explored the notions of freedom and what it means to be in charge of your own choices. It also examined what it is to be human - in a way that sees us at our most base (the violence and degradation that we are capable of) and at our best (the fight for our rights, humanity and freedom).

At its heart it's a love story. But it's so much more than that.

It's skilfully crafted and brings together a whole heap of elements that make it glorious television.

The scripts are always strong. The dialogue is poetic and the turns of phrase are often genius. It's not just the dialogue but the week to week story structure. There is NEVER a dull moment. It's also so tightly done. The story telling is interspersed with violence and sex that are served to enhance the story and characters rather than (just) be titillation. It's an adult show and it's rewarding to be treated as an adult. Kudus to Steven S DeKnight - creator and writer.

The cinematography is stunning. I can only imagine they had a pretty decent budget because the production values are extremely high. It's stylise and comes across as a graphic novel, but it doesn't lose any of it's emotional power for being like that.

The characters are fantastic! In fact, it's the very thing that kept me going back. The characters are richly drawn and not ever tokenistic. The women are incredibly strong and enduring. Characters are never painted as purely "evil" or the "baddies". It's an ensemble and there isn't one character that I didn't love (I mean, I "hated" Tiberius - but loved his journey). The performances are also incredibly strong and engaging. I particularly loved John Hannah and Lucy Lawless in the first season. And both Andy Whitfield and Liam McIntyre were perfectly cast as Spartacus.

I also loved the feeling that same sex couples are treated no differently to any other couple. Love is love, no matter who it's with. The fact that many variations of love are explored - including that of master and slave, also add the the richness of the series. Of course, Agron and Nasir won my heart completely.

Ok. Enough gushing! Time for some pretty...*guh* every frame is always so beautiful. I can't even.

These first three are from the previous episode:

Isn't it glorious?! The costumes are also fab ( and hey! It doesn't hurt that we get to see lots of flesh...)

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At times it feels like you're watching a film.

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These next caps are from the final ep. So SPOILERS!

Agron and Nasir. *swoon* They own my heart...

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I'm pretty fond of these two also. Gannicus might actually have been my absolute favourite character. Such fierce loyalty, bravery and inner strength. I adored his journey. His end made me bawl (after cowering behind my hands that is...). I thought Sybil and Gannicus might have had a future together. Alas...

I like that don't shy away from the sex (of course I spend most of the time thinking what the actors have to do for their craft sometimes...)

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Gannicus. Just 'cause.

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*guh* The scene on this hill between Spartacus and Grassus was stunning. I loved how layered Crassus is - his admiration for Spartacus shone through. But he's a man who must do as he must.

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Naevia - so fierce and full of vengeance. Another character that had a rich journey throughout the series. It's a shame that Crixus couldn't be there for the final battle.

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The battle scenes on the show are always amazing. The choreography and filming must take ages. I'd be curious how much "blood" they used during this show.

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Kick ass Saxa (*meep* also...)


Awesome CGI. That moment was such a surprise! It make me wonder when exactly they dug that trench...

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I loved the way they filmed Spartacus during the fight with Crassus. So fierce and frightening.

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*bawls* The violence is difficult to watch at times (nothing a pair of hands didn't fix), but I loved how it enhanced the reality of their situation. War is bloody and painful. Violence upon a human body is horrific. I can't say it didn't glorify violence because I think it did, but it was all in context so I think it worked in making the series as strong as it was.

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As close to a happy ending as we are going to get. Highly satisfying though.

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I will truly miss this show. I felt like I was going to the movies each time I watched an episode.
14th-Apr-2013 03:24 am (UTC)
Yes - such an extraordinary show in all aspects. The style and look of the show served the story so perfectly. And I thought they really set an example of how you can tell amazing stories with women and people of colour and queer characters. And the stories were so complex, and had such heart. I cant wait to watch it all on blu-ray!

And i loved that they finished with that shot of Andy.
14th-Apr-2013 09:42 am (UTC)
I loved the complexity of the story telling and the multi facets of the characters.

And Andy...<3 That bought another tear to my eye...
14th-Apr-2013 04:04 am (UTC)
You know, one of the things I think is interesting is that they really didn't seem to have a big budget for the show. But they managed to convey a sense of epic scale with just a few tricks, and they saved up for the ending. I think back to the ludus on the edge of the cliff, and how striking that is, there on the barren plane. It conveys the isolation of Capua, the distance the gladiators are from all they know, and the futility of their plight, all by simply using a location in a particular way. And I think that was all green/blue screen, except for the interiors. Which is pretty cool.

Gannicus was a favorite of mine, too, partly because Gods of the Arena was so unbelievably awesome. But Crixus really had my heart. And Nasir. And Mira. Awww, I miss Mira. AND VARRO. RIP VARRO. I was so glad he got a little shout-out in Spartacus' flashback.

I warmed up to Naevia in season 3. Season 2 didn't do much for me in terms of her character development, partly because they were trying to show how damaged she was. Which is understandable, but it made it hard to relate to her journey while she was flipping out. It was all necessary, tho, to get her to where she ended up.

In conclusion: LOVE!
14th-Apr-2013 09:53 am (UTC)
*nods and nods* It took me a while to warm to Naevia also, but I think that was due to the various stages of her journey. She wasn't always sympathetic I thought which makes for a more complex character.

Ah yes Varro! And I loved Illithya also. It took me a while to warm to her but I thought the actress found her feet with the character the more she developed.

I know a lot of green screen was used - I think the style allowed them to get away with it being unrealistic at times. So not a big budget? They did an amazing job of making it look like they did - I suppose the epic nature of the story telling and the special effects made it feel bigger than it actually was.

LOVE indeed!
14th-Apr-2013 11:01 am (UTC)
Wait, what? This is a television show?? What gorgeous imagery -- I may have to check this out. (Thanks for the warning about the violence, though. Me big chicken when it comes to that.)
14th-Apr-2013 01:36 pm (UTC)
I know! It's looks amazing right?

It is very violent though. There's usually plenty of warning (arena scenes etc) , but they dont shy away from showing the full thing. There's also a heap of blood. I had to turn a way a few times, but mostly I was ok with it. It won't be for everyone that's for sure.

14th-Apr-2013 12:31 pm (UTC)
Oh dear. Now I'm thinking maybe I should give this a third chance. That dialogue really bugged the hell out of me - I read what the author said about why he wrote it like that but I just found it incredibly annoying, so much so it was throwing me out of the story every time. But I did think Gannicus was lovely.
14th-Apr-2013 01:40 pm (UTC)
Ah yes. I think if you don't like the way it's written then it would be very hard to get into. For me, I loved the way the words conjured up images. I will say that I think it got easier to listen to the more I watched it. I found it harder in the beginning - and I found the variety of accents hard also.

And Gannicus is a sweetie - well, if you can consider a gladiator sweet I suppose...;)
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