Not since The DaVinci Code came out has the world been so rattled by so much controversy. The book by Dan Brown challenged the status quo and shook many a believer, irrespective of faith or religion; all were scandalised. The uproar died after a while, but the author had gained international celebrity. The world moved on, then came Spartacus.
I remember back in school my friends, acquaintance and even strangers condemning the series as porn (and believe me, if you saw season 1, you wouldn’t be in doubt). Yet the series had a higher purpose. Bear with me a little, while I challenge your minds.
After months of hearing people condemn the series, I got the whole season 1, locked myself in my room and started seeing it. I remember the words of the dude who copied the file onto my laptop, ‘make sure it’s just you and your babe that are in the room before watching this.’ I understood his reason less than twenty minutes into the first episode.
One funny thing of note though was, beyond the orgy and sex scenes, the fight scenes captivated me. Spartacus’ flirtation with death intrigued me, and then he became a champion, I was hooked. How could I stop seeing a story of a man’s struggle that held so much inspiration?
Then came Ashur and his treachery oh boy, I thought, this series has all on the human nature. Varro’s Death made my eyes sting, yet I trudged on. Amidst all the chaos, lies, betrayal and sex, not forgetting the fights and the gory scenes Spartacus 1 ended. And then the lead actor died, the world held its breath.
For a series much maligned, it was the DPs and the messages that made me know the actor’s name. Everyone whether they had seen the show or not doffed their hearts for the passing of an actor who wasn’t in any A-list movie. Yup, the series – Spartacus – had made him a world celebrity.
That unfortunate incident brought the introduction of Gannicus, it was, I think a smart feint by the producers to bide time and deal with their lead actor’s passing.
Season 2 came out, and it took a while before the public took to the ‘new’ Spartacus, still the storyline did not deviate. It was all back in there, the sex, fights, treachery, betrayal, loyalty, lies, and of course secrets. The human character x-rayed.
Familiar foes defeated, beloved characters killed, both the storytellers and the viewers had become one on the journey of freedom Spartacus embarked upon. With pulsating hearts, Legatus got a sweet death. I jumped and danced.
Then season 3 came out with a powerful bang, it was all about the war tactics and intellect. Spartacus had shown himself to be a keen planner in Season 2, and continued getting better. The trek for freedom had started full blast, and none could be faint-hearted.
Scheme after scheme, the taking of a city and then losing it, spies sent into the mix and misdirection during battle the series did not fail to deliver. In the end Spartacus died, but his dream was achieved, his people attained freedom.
However, the producers of the series claimed they killed him and ended the series to stay true to history. Though they admitted that Legatus was not the Roman who banished Spartacus to slavery.
I think in exploring the best way for him to die, they (the producers) had to first separate Spartacus and Crixus. That weakened the fighting strength and cohesion. And when hot-headed Crixus got himself killed, Spartacus lost an ally and lots of fighting men.
The last two episodes of the series are really emotional; Crixus’ burial and Spartacus’ death. The series had it all, making Spartacus the realest series ever made.