hradzka: Crixus, from SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND, labeled "Hello, my name is Crixus. I'm your woobie." (crixus woobie)
And that's the season.

Episode thirteen of SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND is called "Kill Them All," and what you see is absolutely what you get. The twelve hours of mayhem that went before culminate in a whale of a bloodbath, with lots of strong moments and gore aplenty. It's not quite as strong in conceptual WTFery than some of the other episodes this season (I think "Whore" and "Thing in the Pit" still reign as the champions of "OH GOD DID THEY REALLY JUST DO THAT?!"), but "Kill Them All" has some good WTF moments and catharsis aplenty, with a number of intriguing character hooks for next year.

Disclaimer: SPARTACUS contains blood, boobs, dicks, and creative swearing. This review contains spoilers. )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Twelve episodes down, one to go. SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND is almost done for the year, and it's *amazing* to think that I am seriously looking forward to the season finale of this bizarre TV show. I started watching it because Maurissa Tancharoen was plugging it on Twitter, which *she* was doing because she and the hubby had just gotten hired to write for it. Then I kept watching it because it was terrible, and I enjoy terrible TV. Then I realized that fandom would probably enjoy this hunk of crap. Then I realized that *I* enjoy this hunk of crap.

And y'know what? It's not just a hunk of crap. It is an interesting, weird, ridiculous, thoroughly entertaining show, with occasional bits strong, compelling melodrama packaged in Grand Guignol. It's like nothing else on TV, and goddammit, it's official: I'm a fan of SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND.

Episode 12 is called 'Revelations,' and if you feel that the show's plotlines have been treading water with all the secrets that have been kept over the course of the past twelve weeks, boy-howdy, watch this one, because this is the episode where they just clear the freakin' decks.  )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
hey, remember back in the NSFW SPARTACUS primer, when I said that my bet was on Crixus to become the fan-favorite character on the show?

I WIN. On the official SPARTACUS forum, fan 4thHorseman complains:

He treats all around him like they are dirt excluding Naevia. He's basically a foul mouthed bully to anyone he can possibly be. He's loyal to the Gladiator code only the most primitive of ways (Death in the Arena). He demeans anyone elses feelings/thoughts when given a chance. He purposely injured a fellow gladiator on the arena because his need for glory overcame any brotherhood. Yet, all of this is totally irrelevant to him as a person because of how he cares for Naevia?

This isn't an attack on Crixus, I personally love his character but I don't understand the distorted outlook I see from his fanbase. Why is critism of him so blindly dismissed? Why isn't it possible for him to be a bad person yet care for someone? I am honestly and truly confused., it reminds me of Usenet flamewars I was in about Spike, back in my BTVS days. Not entirely, because the guy likes watching Crixus; it's Crixus's fans who drive him nuts. Wait until TPTB actually start listening to them and building up Crixus like he's the Second Coming, dude. (Sorry. Still bitter.) )
hradzka: (pointy teeth)
And heeeeeeere we go. Episode 11, "Old Wounds," begins SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND's descent leading into episode 13's finale. This means we're in for an episode of the series shuffling a bunch of ducks back into a row,while hoping the audience forgets some other ducks that we're not going to have time to get back to because Crixus and Naevia need to make out again.

It's not a bad bit of duck-herding. "Old Wounds" isn't one of the best episodes to date, but it does what it has to do well, and it has a couple of really strong moments and unsettling images. There's too much padding, but it ends in a really terrific place, even if how it gets there doesn't make a huge amount of sense.

Quick recap and spoilery live-Tweets below the cut. )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
"Party Favors," SPARTACUS's tenth episode, is perhaps the most predictable episode yet. It's not terrible -- not any more than the series is in general, anyway -- but as a follow-up to the glorious WTFery of "Whore" it's a little disappointing. I called some of the climactic events of "Whore" relatively early in the episode, but I had this episode called… er, several episodes ago. It's pretty clear at this point that Spartacus is a show that has horrible things happen to likeable characters, so it shouldn't be too surprising when they do happen; the approach the show has taken is to have so many horrible things happen to so many likeable characters that you don't know when you're being paranoid and when the show is actually going to pull the trigger. This episode, Spartacus gives an enthusiastic fifteen-year-old fan of gladiators a tour of the ludus, and there were a couple of people on the #Spartacus hashtag who were expecting something terrible to happen to the kid. It's a pretty clever way to go, when you think about it, and helps make the series more surprising, but as this episode shows, sometimes it just means you can't guess the exact way in which something terrible is going to happen, even if you know that somebody has a huge target on his back.

Gory details here. )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
The two shows I am actually into at the moment are SPARTACUS and I DREAM OF JEANNIE.

Now you know the depths of my shame.
hradzka: (wtf)
Tonight, I will beta test the SPARTACUS drinking game. I thought about this *very hard,* people. For *more than five minutes.*

What's the problem with most drinking games? Too many rules to remember. So I tried to create as few rules and make them as memorable as possible. Feel free to beta-test with me, if you like. I am thinking that the rule should be that each item can only be checked off once per person per scene. Example: "Bare Ass" is one drink. If Spartacus has a long scene where you see his Bare Ass about twenty times, you only drink once. However, if Spartacus and Crixus and three other gladiators are all bare-assed, you would drink once for each of them.

Yes, this game will probably kill you. That's why it's in beta.

It is probably wisest played with beer. Tonight, however, I will be playing with Maker's Mark on the rocks. What's the Latin for "We who are about to get shitfaced salute you!"?


One Drink: Slow-motion, Bare Ass, "Jupiter's Cock!"
Two Drinks: Somebody Dies, Boobies, Baby Oil Wrestling
Three Drinks: Somebody's Fuckin', Oh Look a Penis
Chug: Gladiator Training Sequence, Actual Spartacus Dialogue, OMGWTF

I trust these rules are pretty self-explanatory. Actual Spartacus Dialogue is a little subjective, but you'll probably know it when you hear it.

If you play, let me know how it goes.
hradzka: "Trust me, I know what I'm doing." (sledge hammer!)
Today on the internet I was retweeted by two SPARTACUS actresses and had a brief exchange with the interim host of THIS WEEK. Not bad for a guy with 62 Twitter followers, a third of them spam. Tomorrow, back to obscurity!

One of these was political and not that interesting, but the SPARTACUS thing was funny. The show's publicity account tweeted that showrunner Steven DeKnight would be taking questions via the Starz Forum, and he'd answer the questions he considered to be the ten best. This seemed to me like a wise moment to start goofing around with possible questions.

Read more... )
hradzka: (wtf)
Episode 9 of SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND is called "Whore."

It's like SNAKES ON A PLANE, folks; as Samuel L. Jackson famously observed, either you want to see it, or you don't. You could be pardoned for wondering if Frank Miller had something to do with this one, from the title; he didn't, probably because this series is getting too batshit for him. In this episode, for example, the title refers to the hero, who is advised that he's getting pimped out as a male prostitute. He takes it well. Spoilers: )
hradzka: "Trust me, I know what I'm doing." (sledge hammer!)
It's funny, but my SPARTACUS office AU, which I wrote pretty deliberately as badfic, reminds me just how much I really dislike fanfic AUs. Part of this is because it turned out worse than I intended, looking at it, but part of it has to do with the nature of fanfic AUs in general.

I don't like AUs for a lot of reasons, but I think the chief one has to do with one of the reasons I don't like porn fic. About ten years ago, I was of the theory that fans wrote porn when the actual material didn't sufficiently capture their interest -- ie, if you really liked THE X-FILES, you wouldn't be writing dumb porn about Scully doing Mulder, you'd be writing casefic in an attempt to emulate the actual show. I don't know if that was true then, but it certainly isn't true now; for a lot of people, porn is the entire point of fandom. But AUs often give me that feeling: if you like these characters so much, why are you putting them in weird scenarios where they're so far removed from what made you fond of them in the first place?

And putting existing characters and dynamics into an AU often is clumsy as hell. Consider mine. )
hradzka: (facepalm)
In my last post, I mentioned the concept of a SPARTACUS office AU. A couple of people wanted somebody to write it. AND YOU GOT ME THINKING ABOUT IT. ARGH.

I kind of hate myself for writing this.

Read more... )
hradzka: (wtf)
Tomorrow night's episode of SPARTACUS is called "Whore." No, it is not written by Frank Miller. (That I know of.) The logline: Batiatus starts pimping Spartacus out, and our hero's new career gets off with a bang when he is ordered to service the richest woman in Rome.


I mean, it is *exactly* like all those fanfic AUs where the male hero is forced into prostitution, except for the minor detail that THIS IS NOT A FANFIC AU BUT THE ACTUAL SHOW. I am starting to think the fanfic AUs of SPARTACUS will involve all the gladiators working very peacefully in a present-day office somewhere, or something. (Pietros is the intern who makes coffee for everybody! And he has a hot relationship with Mr. Barca, but then Mr. Barca gets downsized and Pietros is very sad and quits. And Mr. Batiatus takes a project away from Crixus and gives it to Spartacus, and Crixus is worries he's going to be fired, and basically it's like GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, but with slo-mo and orgy scenes in the break room or something.)
hradzka: (rex the wonder dog on skis)
Well, that was a relatively toned-down episode of SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND. Okay, yeah, it opened and closed with scenes involving men being gruesomely castrated, but look, whaddya want? Oiled-up gladiators playing patty-cake?

(SPOILER: they do not play patty-cake. NOT SAFE FOR WORK.) )
hradzka: (303 british)
That SPARTACUS is on tonight, right? OKAY GOOD.

Barca and Pietros are still dead, and that still sucks. On the good news front, this episode promises to be heavy on the Ilythia. C'mon, everybody, say it with me: mmmmmmm, *Ilythia.*
hradzka: (jason)
Hey, remember when I said that this show featured male-male sex "as part of a devoted relationship?"


The thing is, I don't really feel like laughing.

This is an odd place for me to be in, because the kind of activist so many of you guys are, I'm not. Politically, if we're not on the opposite side of the fence one of us is at least halfway over it, and a lot of the stuff that you (and a lot of fandom) take as a given, I disagree with, sometimes deeply. I am a straight white cisgendered guy whose politics are fairly conservative, which makes me a little unusual in a female-dominated, pretty heavily leftist, pretty heavily queer section of modern fandom.

Which means, of course, that I have to write a review of SPARTACUS that talks about the show's gay guys getting fridged one-two-three. Spoilers for 'Great and Unfortunate Things.' )
hradzka: (303 british)
Hey, guys, don't forget -- new Spartacus tonight, at 10 PM! I will, as always, live-tweet.

I know everybody's a little down after last week. Hopefully there will be some good, batshit insane stuff to keep us cheerful. I'm hoping for a solid revenge plot with Pietros, but I expect he's going to go through some even more horrible things first. If you recall, in episode 4 he told Barca that he was afraid whenever Barca left the ludus. It could have been a statement of his fear for Barca's safety, but there was a Meaningful Shot of another leering gladiator, which makes me think Pietros needed protection for himself.
hradzka: (unfair to batgirl)
Hey, remember what I said about how Barca was the gladiator Batiatus unquestionably trusted?


Spoilers for 'Delicate Things.' )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
NEW SPARTACUS TONIGHT AT 10 PM EST. If you have Netflix streaming, you will be able to watch it earlier -- but don't! Let's watch it together, at the same time as everybody watching it on TV. Right now, fandom is not really represented in the #Spartacus hashtag over on Twitter. So if you liked the primer, and want to check SPARTACUS out, tonight's a great night to do it. I'm hradzka on Twitter, and I live-Tweet my reactions, but you don't need to follow me or anything. Just be sure to put #Spartacus in your tweet if you have something to say.

It is a little ridiculous how much I am enjoying this lousy show.

If you haven't caught up yet, [personal profile] franzeska made a compilation of representative moments of episodes 1-5. Which I have not watched yet, but having seen the actual episodes I am sure it is completely nuts.
hradzka: (facepalm)
Apparently I cheered myself up this evening by making Spartacus lols. Your lol may vary, of course. I took great care to make them as juvenile, lowbrow, and 4channy as possible, so consider this your content warning.

God help us all. )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Marina/Sabrina did a SPARTACUS vid, so now those who have yet to watch an episode can get a sense of the visual insanity on offer. Be mindful that this focuses on the naughty stuff more than the hacking and slashing, so not only is this not safe for work but it demonstrates only a portion of the absolute insanity that this show has to offer. Even so, there is violence. There is also sex, oiled men in loincloths, full frontal nudity out the wazoo, and Lady Gaga.

Here on Dreamwidth, or here on LJ.

God, I'm going to have to get a SPARTACUS icon.


hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)

November 2014



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The collected poems from my descent into madness year spent writing daily poems are now available from Lulu as the cheapest 330-page book they would let me make ($16.20). If that's too pricey, you can also get it from Lulu as a free download, or just click on the "a poem every day" tag to read them here. But if you did buy one, that'd be awesome.

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