Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (2011) – By Brian Morton

If you watched the original Starz series, Spartacus: Blood And Sand, then you know how good these ‘sand and sandals’ shows can be. But, after actor Andy Whitfield left the series for health reasons, I sort of wondered what might happen to this great show. Well, Starz is giving us a prequel to the series, and, I’m happy to report that it meets (if not exceeds) the standards set by the original! It’s called Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (from Anchor Bay, September 13th) and it gives us a look at the beginnings of the story we know from Blood And Sand.

This story also takes place in the House of Batiatus, but it’s before the events of the first series, all the recognized players are here (with a few exceptions) and a few new (to us) characters. There’s the current House champion, Gannicus, (who’s sort of the Sean Michaels of the ludus) and we discover the beginnings of Quintus’ rise to power, how Lucretia cements her power behind her husband and we get to see the beginnings of many of the gladiators from the first series. The real fun of these Spartacus series is the political intrigue behind the battles. Don’t get me wrong, the battles are many and brutal and wildly entertaining, but the real story is the manipulations and plottings going on to gain more and more power.

I’m giving Spartacus: Gods of the Arena 4 out of 4 cigars, the writing is amazing, the acting is great and it’s an all together great show. If you love ‘sword and sorcery’ movies, then you’ll love this! Join the ludus yourself by heading over to