After seeing the incredible job that was done with the story Spartacus Blood and Sand, it is hard to imagine a prequel being full of surprises. Just glancing over the slaves and guests in the house of Batiatus, we have a pretty good idea as to who is not going to make it through the end credits of Episode Six. We know that we'll find out how Crixus became champion, how Oenomaus went from married gladiator to widowed drill sergeant, and why Batiatus himself has such daddy issues.
Even knowing what we know about the characters, the story is full of surprises and nail-biting drama. The scenes in the arena are spectacular and Roman debauchery flows like the wine. The party grinds to a halt when Batiatus' father makes his entrance and family strife takes center stage.
We are also introduced to some extremely dislikable characters who add a good dose of venom into the mix and we cheer as Batiatus begins to learn the ways of Roman politics and develops a talent for scheming himself.
We also meet Gannicus, the charismatic champion in the house of Batiatus that is coveted by men of higher position in the games. I was a little concerned that this character would be played lightly, but it didn't take long for him to develop some depth and become a very sympathetic character despite his recklessness.
Finishing off the list of memorable characters is Gaia, who is Lucretia's best friend. While the first season of Spartacus reminded us that Roman women could be deadlier than the gladiators they lusted after, a warm, genuine friendship lent a very nice touch in a story full of back-biting and other treachery.
Overall, I am extremely impressed with the series and cannot wait for the second season of Spartacus to come out. The writing is exceptional and the characters well-balanced and very believable. However, this is definitely not a show for the kiddies.
Info on IMDB: Spartacus: Gods of the Arena