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September 3, 2015


'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' Prequel Season, Episode 4 Recap

by Maureen Ryan, posted Feb 12th 2011 1:40AM
['Spartacus' - 'Beneath the Mask']

Now that, my friends, was a toga party. They knew how to throw crazy bashes back in the day.

But for Lucretia and Batiatus (and their friend Gaia), as day turned to night, the buzz wore off and things went from bad to worse.

The effort to keep Titus in the dark failed miserably, that's for sure. Just when you thought he and his son were on the verge of a real reconciliation, the old man's disapproval returned with a vengeance when he discovered what had happened in his absence.

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'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' Prequel Season, Episode 3 Recap

by Maureen Ryan, posted Feb 5th 2011 2:20PM
['Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' - 'Paterfamilias']

The superficial reputation of 'Spartacus' among those who haven't paid close attention to the show is that it's merely a toga-era soap opera drenched in sex, blood and more sex.

Sure, it has all those elements, many of which can be counted on for good, unclean fun. But there are emotional stakes to most battles and bedroom encounters. And as 'Paterfamilias' showed, sometimes sex can be used as a weapon, and those encounters, when choice is removed, can be uglier than anything seen in the arena.

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'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' Prequel Season, Episode 2 Recap

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jan 28th 2011 11:01PM
['Spartacus' - 'Missio']

After receiving the beatdown of a lifetime last week, courtesy of his new rival Tullius, what would Batiatus' next move be? How could he possibly rebound from that setback?

With some typical Batiatus deviousness, of course. That's the good news. But not all of 'Missio' worked. Though Batiatus' clever plan to ensnare Titus had its merits, and though it was a pleasure to see him get some revenge on the sneering Tullius and Vettius, other aspects of the episode didn't didn't have the impact of Operation Titus.

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Q&A Time: John Hannah Talks About the Past and Future of His 'Spartacus' Character

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jan 27th 2011 4:00PM
If you think 'Spartacus' is all about muscle-bound guys hacking each other's limbs off in the gladiator arena, think again.

One of the most compelling things about the Starz drama, which returned Jan. 21 with a 6-episode prequel season, is John Hannah's fierce portrayal of Quintus Lentulus Batiatus, the owner of a ludus, or gladiator academy.

He is an ambitious, cunning, self-serving man, but thanks to Hannah's subtle performance, you end up rooting for Batiatus, who loves his wife dearly and just wants to succeed in a brutal, bloody world. I recently spoke to Hannah in Los Angeles about how the Scottish actor approached the version of the character seen in 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,' which takes place five years before the events of 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand.'

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'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' Prequel Season, Episode 1 Recap

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jan 21st 2011 11:01PM
['Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' - 'Past Transgressions']

We are back, ladies and gentlemen. The first few minutes of 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' gave us heaping helpings of things we've come to expect from this Starz series: spurting blood, naked bodies, violence, profanity, and, just for grins, Batiatus using a public toilet.

Remind me again, why isn't this airing on ABC Family?

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Lucy Lawless on Merkin Use in 'Spartacus' Sex Scenes (VIDEO)

by Nick Zaino, posted Jan 19th 2011 5:15PM
Lucy Lawless talks wigs on 'The Wendy Williams Show'Lucy Lawless' role of Lucretia on the Starz series 'Spartacus' requires a bit of immodesty.

The actress bares a lot of skin in explicit sex scenes, but the show uses merkins. Mer-what? Lawless explained the interesting wardrobe piece on 'The Wendy Williams Show' (weekdays, syndicated).

A merkin, or a pubic wig, covers Lawless' private body parts. So, how does one make a merkin?

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Australian Actor Chosen as Next 'Spartacus' Star

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jan 17th 2011 3:20PM
Australian actor Liam McIntyre will star in the second season of 'Spartacus,' which will be filmed this spring in New Zealand.

Starz issued a press release moments ago confirming McIntyre as the man who will replace Andy Whitfield in the title role of the gladiator series.

"Since no one can really replace Andy, we realized that we should instead find an actor who can truly lead 'Spartacus' forward," Starz president Chris Albrecht said in a statement from the network. "It was important to us to have Andy endorse the idea of recasting this part, which he did in the same heroic manner that he's dealt with his whole ordeal. And that, coupled with our fortune in finding a young actor with the gladiator credentials and the acting ability of Liam, makes it easier for us to keep this hit franchise going."

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What to Watch: January 17 - 23

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jan 16th 2011 11:50PM
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena - Sunday, January 23, 10PM ET/MT, The Movie Network/Movie Central

This is a prequel to 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand', dreamed up to give lead actor Andy Whitfield time to recover from cancer before reprising his role. But no worries -- fans can expect the same subtle blend of graphic bloody violence and graphic sweaty sex scenes they've come to count on the series to deliver.

Despite a potential for camp (Lucy Lawless does star, after all), the 'Spartacus' series should soothe those missing HBO's 'Rome' and please anyone who loves a good machete fight.

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'Spartacus' Creator Talks About Recasting the Title Role and What's to Come for the Gladiators

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jan 9th 2011 12:15PM
Though lead actor Andy Whitfield had to leave 'Spartacus' for health reasons last year and the drama's title role is being recast, the gladiator's journey is far from over.

On Friday, Starz president Chris Albrecht told journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour that the network had definitely decided to go forward with a second full season of 'Spartacus.' In an interview later that day, Albrecht said a new lead actor for the drama would be announced in "weeks" and the second season of 'Spartacus' would probably arrive in early 2012.

There are a "couple of very strong candidates" for the role of Spartacus, and season 2 should begin production in New Zealand in April, creator Steven S. DeKnight said in a Friday interview. But DeKnight added that the 'Spartacus' producers and Starz executives weren't always sure they'd go forward without Whitfield, who brought gravity and heart to the role of the famous warrior.

"It's unheard of to recast your titular character in a television show, and we did a lot of soul searching about whether we even wanted to try," DeKnight said. "And then Andy said, 'I really think the show should go forward without me. I give you the blessing. I want this story told.'"

Of course, fans won't have to wait a year to see the House of Batiatus gladiators again. 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,' a six-episode prequel season which does not feature Whitfield and which was filmed last year, debuts on Starz Jan. 21.

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Starz Launching 'Spartacus' Game on Facebook This Week

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jan 4th 2011 8:20AM
The execs over at Starz digital media unit are limbering up in advance of the January 21st TV debut of 'Gods of the Arena' by launching a 'Spartacus' social media game this week.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the free 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' game -- which works much like 'Mafia Wars' and other similar social games -- will launch in limited beta on Thursday to the first 10,000 fans who register on Facebook. The full public launch will then come on January 20th, making it one of the first major TV shows to get a social game.

Starz also plans to launch an iPad script app that will present 'Spartacus' episode scripts with video and commentary, director's notes, cast photos, historical background information and more.

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'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' Meet the New Gladiators (VIDEO)

by Chris Harnick, posted Dec 30th 2010 5:00PM
'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena'Now that 'The Walking Dead' is on hiatus, why not fill your blood and violence void with Starz's 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena'?

The prequel to 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' will feature Lucy Lawless as Lucretia, John Hannah as Batiatus before Spartacus (Andy Whitfield) joined the gladiator world. Dustin Clare also stars as Gannicus. Our own Maureen Ryan had an exclusive preview of the series earlier this month.

Before the mini-series premieres Jan. 21 at 10PM, get to know the hunks gladiators of the arena.

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EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: A Preview of 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' With Intel From the Show's Creator

by Maureen Ryan, posted Dec 8th 2010 9:00AM
Ever since 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' ended its run in the spring, fans of the franchise have been eagerly awaiting the next installment of the saga.

On Jan. 21, Starz will debut 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,' a six-episode prequel series starring John Hannah, Lucy Lawless, Jaime Murray and Australian actor Dustin Clare as Gannicus, the House of Batiatus' most feared gladiator.

In the exclusive clip below, 'Spartacus' creator Steven S. DeKnight talks about the prequel season, and the three-minute clip also reveals some tasty glimpses of the intrigue Batiatus and his wife Lucretia will be unleashing this season.

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The Best TV of 2010: The Top 10 Roster

by Maureen Ryan, posted Dec 2nd 2010 2:30PM
Narrowing down my yearly Top 10 list to only ten individual TV shows proved very difficult this year. There was just too much good TV, and thank goodness for that. None of the new shows that the broadcast networks debuted this fall made the cut, but no matter, there was still plenty of good drama and comedy to choose from.

So much, in fact, that I decided expand my list a bit. There are, as you can see below, ten entries in my Best of 2010 list, but a couple of entries mention multiple shows. I've got a new job and new editors, so why not try a new way of approaching the Top 10 list, right? All I can say is, it would have melted my brain and hurt my heart to leave any of the shows below off my list.

By the way, in the next week or so, I'll post a long list of runners up -- more than two dozen scripted shows that didn't quite make the cut here but which were nevertheless pleasing, compelling or noteworthy during the past year.

Without further ado, here's my list of the best television shows of 2010:

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New 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' Lead Almost Cast, 'Bones' Spinoff Postponed and More

by Jean Bentley, posted Nov 9th 2010 11:30AM
'Spartacus: Blood and Sand'According to a new report, Starz is not far from naming Andy Whitfield's replacement on its hit series 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand.'

Deadline reports that Stephen Amell, Aiden Turner and Liam McIntyre are the final three actors in the running from the role, which Whitfield bowed out of after his cancer returned in September. The three are flying to New Zealand for screen tests with the cast, and a new Spartacus could be named within the next week.

In other TV news ...

Former 'ER' star Goran Visnjic will appear on the two-part season finale of 'Leverage.' The actor will play Damian Moreau, the "ruthless" international businessman the team has been chasing all season long. [TV Guide]

Fox will air an extended promo of its new show, 'Bob's Burgers,' on Thanksgiving night. The series, about a diner owner and his family, will premiere in January. [Variety]

The planned 'Bones' spinoff/new series launching pad has been postponed until the spring due to "creative reasons." The episode would introduce a new character, an eccentric man who's good at finding things named Walter Sherman, who would then get a new show based on the 'Locator' book series by Richard Greener. [Movieline]

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'Spartacus' to Recast Lead Role

by Maureen Ryan, posted Oct 4th 2010 4:55PM
Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Starz is going to recast the title role of its hit gladiator drama, 'Spartacus.' A representative for the Starz network had no comment on the EW report.

It was heartbreaking to learn that 'Spartacus' star Andy Whitfield's cancer, which he'd battled earlier in the year, had recently returned, forcing him to drop out of production on the second season of the show.

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