***Spoiler Alert: Season Finalé discussed***
The subtitle of the Starz series Spartacus is: Blood and Sand. Forget the sand part. It’s all about the blood.
Retelling the legend of the rebellious gladiator, the 13-part series, released on DVD on 21 September, depicts so much blood that it should get an acting credit and a SAG card. Fountains of blood erupt when heads are severed from bodies. Streams of blood spurt wildly out of sliced throats, slashed torsos, and eviscerated abdomens. In my favorite shot, a fallen gladiator’s blood splashes across the entire screen, bringing a clever postmodern nod to the presence of the camera. There’s also lots of sex (gay and straight), topless women, full-frontal nudity (male and female) and did I mention blood?
With all the slicing and cutting and loss of bodily fluids, Spartacus would seem to be a prime candidate for criticism about its excessive violence. Yet the reviews I’ve read, while mentioning the gore, focus more on assessing the show’s characters and story arc. Does this mean that we’ve finally moved past the media effects argument?