Spartacus: Blood & Sand is a crappy show. I had hopes that it would be good, but it just really isn’t. I knew the channel Starz was trying to capitalize on a Gladiator/300 feel or Rome from HBO. But sorry Spartacus, you are definitely no Rome. Rome was raw and superbly acted. Kevin McKidd and my lovely Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) were wonderful as Roman soldiers finding their way again as citizens. And Gladiator had heart – Spartacus has – well it just has naked men and extreme fighting. I am actually okay with the visual effect they chose for the blood – that actually works for me. But after the gratuitous “The Thing in the Pit” (with the obvious 300 references), I left the show and am not looking back. And how disappointing for John Hannah. I loved him in Sliding Doors and he is probably the best actor on Spartacus, but for all his trying, the show still fails.
Southland on the other hand is soaring. I needed a fix after The Shield left and The Shield had filled the void from Homicide: Life on the Streets. Southland is proving to be a nice replacement. I didn’t watch it when it first premiered on NBC, simply because I couldn’t handle another program and was worried it might fizzle like K-Ville. But I picked Southland up when TNT did and watched their re-airing. I like the odd understated narrator that occasionally joins us (he reminds me of the narrator from Little Children in his matter of fact observations). He’s less a narrator and more the objective commentator. And although I haven’t warmed to all the characters yet, Regina King is shinning along with Ben McKenzie and Michael Cudlitz. Regina King rocked the final episode of the first season in a beautifully purposed and quiet shoot-out scene. I hope it continues to thrive now that it’s on a new network and has a fan base that fought for it.