Spartacus: Blood and Sand is the first season of American television series Spartacus, which premiered on Starz on 22 January 2010.
The program is preceded by a warning that it purports to portray a “historical portrayal of ancient Roman society that contains graphic violence and adult content”. Incidental nudity and scenes of a sexual or of a violent nature are present throughout.
The series was inspired by the historical figure of Spartacus (played by Andy Whitfield), a Thracian gladiator who from 73 to 71 BC led a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic.
Executive producers Steven S. DeKnight and Robert Tapert focused on structuring the events of Spartacus’ obscure early life leading up to the beginning of historical records.
- Andy Whitfield as Spartacus – a Thracian warrior who is condemned to slavery as a gladiator.
- Manu Bennett as Crixus – a Gaul, he is Batiatus’ top gladiator; prior to Spartacus. Naevia’s lover and Lucretia’s unwilling lover.
- Peter Mensah as Oenomaus/Doctore – an African slave who serves as trainer of Batiatus’ gladiators.
- Nick E. Tarabay as Ashur – a former gladiator from Syria whose leg was crippled in the arena by Crixus; now serves Batiatus as a bookkeeper and henchman.
- Jai Courtney as Varro – a Roman citizen who sold himself to the ludus to support his family, and who soon becomes Spartacus’ confidant in the ludus.
- Antonio Te Maioha as Barca – nicknamed the “Beast of Carthage”, he is one of Batiatus’ most successful gladiators, serves as a bodyguard for his dominus.
- Eka Darville as Pietros – Barca’s younger gay lover and partner.
- Lesley-Ann Brandt as Naevia – Lucretia’s loyal body slave. She becomes Crixus’ lover.
- Jessica Grace Smith as Diona – a slave girl in the House of Batiatus.
- Erin Cummings as Sura – Spartacus’ wife.
- Katrina Law as Mira – a slave girl sent to seduce Spartacus and becomes his lover, under threat of death.
- Dan Feuerriegel as Agron – a new German gladiator recruit who helps Spartacus plot his uprising.
- John Hannah as Quintus Lentulus Batiatus – a lanista and Spartacus’ dominus.
- Lucy Lawless as Lucretia – Batiatus’ wife.
- Viva Bianca as Ilithyia – the daughter of Roman senator Albinius and wife of legatus Gaius Claudius Glaber.
- Craig Parker as Gaius Claudius Glaber – a legatus in the Roman Army who is responsible for Spartacus’ enslavement.
- Craig Walsh Wrightson as Solonius – a former close friend, but now the greatest rival to the House of Batiatus.
- Aaron Jakubenko as Sabinus.
- Brooke Williams as Aurelia – Varro’s wife.
On 22 December 2009, the show was renewed for a second season but its production was postponed after Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with early-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Starz announced in May 2010 that it would develop a six-episode prequel series, entitled Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, to allow star actor Whitfield to undergo medical treatment. The prequel featured both new and returning characters; it was headlined by John Hannah (as Batiatus) and Lucy Lawless (as Lucretia). Whitfield also provided a brief voice-over role. Filming began in New Zealand in the summer of 2010. The prequel aired beginning January 2011.
In June 2010, season two’s pre-production resumed after Starz announced Whitfield was cancer-free. But when his cancer recurred, Starz replaced Whitfield (with the actor’s consent) with Liam McIntyre as Spartacus for season two which is titled Spartacus: Vengeance. Andy Whitfield died on 11 September 2011.
- The season premiere was simulcast on both Starz and Encore.
- The premiere episode of the series set a record for Starz, with 553,000 viewers on their network, and another 460,000 on Encore, where the show was available only that weekend.
You can find out about the life of Spartacus and an overview of the Spartacus ‘franchise’ here.
You can find a full index and overview of the Spartacus 2010-2013 series here.
- Episode 01: The Red Serpent.
- Episode 02: Sacramentum Gladiatorum.
- Episode 03: Legends.
- Episode 04: The Thing in the Pit.
- Episode 05: Shadow Games.
- Episode 06: Delicate Things.
- Episode 07: Great and Unfortunate Things.
- Episode 08: Mark of the Brotherhood.
- Episode 09: Whore.
- Episode 10: Party Favours.
- Episode 11: Old Wounds.
- Episode 12: Revelations.
- Episode 13: Kill Them All.
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Rick Jacobson, Grady Hill, Jesse Warn, Michael Hurst, Rowan Woods, Chris Martin-Jones, and Glenn Standring.
- Writer(s): Steven S. DeKnight, Brent Fletcher, Dan Filie, Patricia Wells, Mirandea Kwok, Daniel Knauf, Aaron Helbing, Todd Helbing, Tracy Bellomo, and Andrew Chambliss.
- Release Date: 22 January 2010 to 23 Paril 2010.
- Running Time: 53-60 minutes (per episode).
- Rating: 18.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.