A lifetime of blood.
The prequel mini-series to Blood and Sand takes what was great about that season and both expands and condenses it, specifically John Hannah and Lucy Lawless chewing the scenery along with bloody violence and Romans being deviant underhanded douche-bags.
Set some time before the arrival of Spartacus, Batiatus has yet to actually inherit the ludus from his father and is crushed under the weight of his ambition while Gannicus starts as a nice counter to Andy Whitfield's (RIP dude) Spartacus who was all honor and reluctance while Gannicus is all about fleeting pleasure inbetween arena matches. We get the tale of how Batiatus and Lucretia became the ambitious powermongers they are in season 1 and Gannicus' transformation from arrogance to the titular god of the arena. Littered about are backstory to other returning characters such as the sneaky Ashur, and young, naive Naevia.
The show doesn't have the growing pains season 1 did as the producers have more or less gotten the hang of making the show. A lot is squeezed into just 6 episodes which might make it feel a bit rushed, but it feels part and parcel to what is becoming quite a hit franchise for Starz and the writing has been punched up from what was lacking a bit in Blood and Sand. Everything that was indulgent from Blood and Sand plus a little extra.
Episodes to See:
Episode 6 is a great finale with great arena matches and also sets up plots for further seasons.
Available on DVD and Blu Ray
3½ Wine and Questionable Women out of 5