Starz has long been the unfavorable cousin to HBO and Showtime for a while now, as far as premium cable channels go. Shows like Camelot only renewed that description in the minds of those who aren’t willing to give the channel a chance. Recently, however, shows like Boss and now Spartacus: Vengeance are quickly changing the perception of how programming is viewed on Starz.
Spartacus: Vengeance is the third season in the Spartacus series but it is met with subdued expectations after the passing of the show’s original star Andy Whitfield to cancer late last year. The show’s writers did a pretty bang-up job with the storyline after Whitfield was diagnosed after the show’s first season; Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The second season was really a prequel to the first as Whitfield was replaced by Dustin Clare as the show’s main star, playing the role of “Gannicus”, the prized fighter in House Batiatus. Starz had the plan to return to the show’s third season after Whitfield under went cancer treatment. Shortly thereafter Starz and Whitfield announced he would not be returning to the show. Casting went ahead for the third season, but instead of choosing a new character to lead the show the writers simply recast Whitfield’s character of “Spartacus” with the actor Liam McIntyre, a virtual unknown.
Don’t get me wrong, I love this show and all it’s flare…and trust me, there’s a lot of it. I just don’t understand the reasoning of recasting Whitfield’s character. You can use the same storyline but introduce a new lead role. Introduce a character that the audience could get behind, like Gannicus, and continue the same plot. Alas, I guess McIntyre will have to do. Lucy Lawless and Manu Bennett return to reprise their roles as “Lucretia” and “Crixus” respectively.
The show is not for the faint of heart as it is heavily filled with language, blood & gore, and nudity.
Starz has thrown us a bone allowing us to watch the season 3 premiere a day ahead of schedule, as the show airs on Fridays at 10pm EST.
Watch the first episode right here.