20 June 2013

TV Series: Spartacus War of the Damned

TV Series: Spartacus War of the Damned

Spartacus: War of the Damned (2013) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1442449/

Final season and epic conclusion of the Spartacus saga. It started with Spartacus: Blood and Sand, ran a brief prequel in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, returned with Spartacus: Vengeance, and finally wraps with Spartacus: War of the Damned.

After having watched the series both in chronological broadcast order and in event-chronological order, I think the best way to watch the series for the first time viewer is in event-chronological order. That would be:
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (S:GotA), then
Spartacus: Blood and Sand (S:BaS), followed by
Spartacus: Vengeance (S:V) then
Spartacus: War of the Damned (S:WotD).

As mentioned in my S:GotA and S:V reviews the original actor playing Spartacus in S:BaS, Andy Whitfield, had to bow out of production for cancer treatment, which, unfortunately, he did not survive. The replacement actor, Liam McIntyre,  did a great job stepping in the sandals and made the role his own, honoring his predecessor. The final credits sequence of the final episode should be watched as the images display all the major memorable characters through the series run, including a final parting shot honoring Whitfield.

So yes, for a series that seemed rather plodding during the first few episodes of S:BaS, it quickly grew legs and ran full-tilt to its historically known inevitable conclusion. The production grew as Spartacus' followers grew. We had villains, heroes, villain to hero transformations, amazing bloody and gory violence special effects. It outgrew its seeming "300 meets Gladiator and Rome" stereotype into its own show.

I'm not going to review the season so much as point out it was as big and at times bigger than I anticipated it would be and did not embarrass its preceding seasons.
Heck, I even grew to accept the new actress playing Naevia, something I had a problem accepting during S:V. By this season she makes that role her own. And, again, props to Manu Bennett (Crixus) for convincingly anchoring all seasons of the Spartacus series and playing the character relationships with cast replacements for Spartacus and Naevia in a convincing, authentic and seamless manner.  Bennett really had to be the cornerstone of the cast for the show to pull off major cast changes like that.

So yes, if you enjoy watching a bloody and violent series sprinkled with treachery and nudity this is a worthy-of-watching series.