[info]aldiara wrote
on September 6th, 2015 at 08:36 pm

New Fandom, Let's Try This Again: Spartacus

*dusts off IJ* Time for that semi-annual HELLO I'M ALIVE LEMME PIMP A SHOW!! post! :p


I may have mentioned (read: endlessly spammed Twitter until everyone was thoroughly fed up) that I recently got into Spartacus. In a major way. In a "whoa, I don't think any other show grabbed me this way since AWZ" kinda way. Obviously, I've had fandom flings since then, like with Teen Wolf and Doctor Who and Hunger Games and Revenge and Vikings, but nothing has quite had me in this state of constant FEELS and major withdrawal after watching (and tbh, between original watch, insta-rewatch with the ever obliging [info]alsha, commentary rewatch, and random fic research rewatches, I've probably hit some episodes about 6 times by now, and each one at least 3 - have I mentioned it's only been 2 months since I started?)... well, it's The Thing. The obsession thing. The one that drags me in and puts me through the emotional grinder and makes me love every second and steals my sleep and makes me spend ~3 hours in one go researching Roman baths and the chronology of the Third Servile War, and has me sobbing in ridic woe that I don't have $3000 handy to go to Spartacon at a week's notice.

You know, the stuff of life :p

In a way it feels silly to do a pimping post, because I'm years late to the party and I even remember people flailing at the time, but EKP was still going when Spartacus was airing, so there was just no way I could have got into it at the time. Which sucks in some ways (where is the fandom now? How do I join? Wait, is it all on Tumblr because I STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW TUMBLR WORKS, ARGH!) and is nice in some other ways (I can't even imagine the torture of watching week-to-week!).

I started watching more or less on a whim, because I was craving something history-adjacent and lots-of-combat and slashy. Boy does it ever meet those criteria! I'd also been warned that the fist few eps are a bit ridic. I mean, yeah, there's so much nudity and gore, you can't help but laugh, right? I did do the amused mockery thing for... ~maybe 2 eps? Then I was INVESTED, man. I mean, I was still mocking for maybe another 2 episodes, but by that point I had realised that nothing here is gratuitous and visual style is deliberate (they shot it like a graphic novel, how cool is that?) and the story-telling and character development is actually really really ridiculously good, and UGH SHOW, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME.


So without further to-do, Why Spartacus Is Awesome And You Should Absolutely Watch It If You Haven't Already:


The Story:
There are four seasons, including a prequel. All are fantastically paced and incredibly well-written. (I initially blinked at the dialogue a bit because it is half-Shakespearean and half-something-else and it wasn't until I cottoned on that they're approximating spoken Latin in English that I realised what was going on. It takes maybe some getting used to? I honestly don't even remember how long because soon it becomes so natural and addictive.) It's semi-historically based on the real Spartacus and the slave uprising he instigated, but you know, lots of artistic licence.


Characters/Relationships:
You guys.

We have delightful evil Scottish/Australian Romans who cuss a lot:


Image credit: FY Lucretia @ Tumblr


Image credit: Ilvalentinos @ Tumblr


Image credit: A Lifetime of Blood & Victory @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


We have ridiculously hunky mostly-naked gladiators with thoughts and feels and story arcs:


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


Image credit: Spartacus GIFs @ Tumblr


Image credit: A Lifetime of Blood & Victory @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


Image credit: Hannibaling @ Tumblr


Image credit: Babyara @ Tumblr


Image credit: Saltycrow @ Tumblr


Image credit: BjornStark @ Tumblr


We have utterly fantastic women of all ilks:


Image credit: Spartacus GIFs @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


Image credit: Spartacus GIFs @ Tumblr


Image credit: Spartacus GIFs @ Tumblr


Image credit: Spartacus GIFs @ Tumblr


Image credit: Spartacus GIFs @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


Image credit: Moiradearden @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


We have unreasonably hot pirates:


Image credit: mjrcusanagi @ Tumblr


Image credit: uhm, Pinterest somehow, but IDG how Pinterest works, everyone just seems to nab from everyone!


And we have a plethora of wonderful relationships both friendship- and romance-based:


Image credit: Allisson McCall @ Tumblr


Image credit: Storm Queen @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Crixus @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Crixus @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Lucretia @ Tumblr


Image credit: Give Me Your Virgin Blood @ Tumblr


Image credit: Kill Them All @ Tumblr


Image credit: Fate Begins Fiction @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Crixus @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


Image credit: Blainey Days and Bowties @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


Image credit: Shioricz @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


Image credit: FY Spartacus @ Tumblr


Image credit: Lucatrixx @ Tumblr



The Cast/Creators:
Creator Steven S. DeKnight used to write for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and has clearly retained and further developed his awesome since then. He's one of those super-obsessive people who puts an insane amount of thought and detail and research into everything and also seems to read (and often respond to!) literally every single thing that's ever been written about Spartacus on the internet, which... maybe he shouldn't, lol, but everything he has to say is so on point and smart and awesome that... yeah, actually, he can keep doing that. In short, dude clearly knew what he was doing and did his homework. And it shows. The writing is smart and poignant, the pacing is tight, and the character development is magnificent. (Also I was prepared to cut them all sorts of slack for historical inaccuracy, but actually? A lot of the time they're on the mark with that too.)

Then we have the cast. You guys, I have not fangirled a cast as a whole in such an embarrassingly fangirly way since Show-That-Was. It's a New Zealand-produced show, so naturally I was delighted to see a lot of Kiwi and Aussie actors, but there are also some utter gems from overseas, like John Hannah, Katrina Law, and Simon Merrels. It's one of those ensemble cast things where everybody is just ridiculously delightful! It's a highly physical show, what with gladiators and such, and everyone put a truly intimidating amount of commitment into making it work. With the result that everyone's mostly naked a lot, and it's hot as fuck :p BUT then the dialogue and plot and acting is really good too, so you need to focus on that over all the hotness, and maybe that's why one needs to watch it several times. It's also one of those casts that grew really close as a group while working together and that also makes the show even better.

There's a huge amount of poignancy attached to the fact that Andy Whitfield, who played Spartacus on season one, unexpectedly died of cancer, necessitating a recast, which could have gone all sorts of wrong. However, his successor Liam McIntyre, after a brief period of awkwardness, rose admirably to the challenge and came to make the role his own, to the point where I honestly love them both to utter bits. Liam was a complete class act about the whole thing too, showering Andy in praise and promoting tributes to his legacy wherever he could, and he was a fan of the show before he ever joined the cast, which really shows in his utter devotion to the role, IMHO.

In short, it helps that they're all really shiny people. Dammit.


The Closure:
Look, it's Spartacus. You only need the most passing familiarity with Roman history to know it's... not gonna end well for most of these characters. So...

The sad thing: (Almost) Everybody Dies, Because History. Prepare to have your heart shattered into a thousand pieces. Over and over and over again.
The good thing: (Almost) Everybody Dies, Because History. There are no dodgy executive or creators' decisions as to how to end it or when to kill someone off for completely ludicrous infuriating reasons (yeah, Vikings, looking right atcha), or that it really should be dragged out for another 12 seasons for the money even though you have no story left to tell. Nobody ever dies in a less than awesome way, and none of these deaths will leave you angry or unsatisfied. Heartbroken, yes. Flailing in tearstained agonised woe, absolutely. But not unsatisfied.

After that, we have all the fic/fanart/vids, and fandom lore that became canon (goat farm, need I say more). And feels. All the feels.

What can I say? Watch! It will shatter you and you will love it.

As further incentive, the lovely [info]amo_amas_amat wrote fic and then some more fic and it is gorgeous.

And I wrote fic too, because obsession :p

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