Cast: Andy Whitfield, Liam McIntyre, Lucy Lawless
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 10/10
The inspiration behind this series is the Thracian Gladiator Spartacus, who led a slave uprising against the Roman Republic. The Thracians had been persuaded by Claudius Glaber to serve as auxiliaries in the Roman legions in a campaign against the Getae, who had often plundered Thracian lands. However after Glaber reneges on the deal and switches his attentions from the Getae to attack Mithridates in Asia Minor, the Thracians feel betrayed and mutiny. Captured by Glaber, Spartacus is condemned to death as a Gladiator, whilst his wife Sura is condemned to slavery. Spartacus, however, proves to be a formidable gladiator, and defeats the four gladiators tasked with executing him. He becomes a favorite of the crowd, leading Senator Albinius to commute his death sentence to a life of slavery. Spartacus is purchased by Batiatus for gladiator training, who promises to help him find Sura if he proves himself in training. As the series develops, the story follows the betrayals and machinations of Roman life and a tale of one man’s heroic quest for vengeance.
‘Spartacus’ is one of those few shows that maintained a strong fan base, didn’t push itself until it was too tired to find its way back and additionally managed to only build on the level of insanity and excitement throughout its years on the air. It faced some tough complications and managed to stay strong, true to its nature and (perhaps most importantly) continue to keep its dedicated fan base pleased throughout the course of the series; a statement which can’t be said for too many shows these days. The most challenging complication the show faced would surely have to be that of the show’s title character, portrayed initially by Andy Whitfield becoming ill and inevitably passing away. To play it safe (or so one would assume) it followed its first season with a limited series ‘Gods of the Arena’ and when the show was finally signed for a third (or second depending on how you look at it) standard season, the role of Spartacus was recast with Liam McIntyre taking over the role for the final two seasons. While no one ever matches up to the original which fans will always know and come to love, McIntyre did a solid job taking up the reins and I believe most of the fans agree that he was a well chosen replacement for the part considering the circumstances.
Fans of the hit Starz Original Series will definitely want to make sure to pick up a copy of The Complete Series Blu-Ray to add to their collections, at least the fans not already owning the previous individual season releases will want to for absolute certain. The discs included within the complete set appear to be the same discs released for each of the individual season releases of each season while the show was still airing and a lot of the special features will likely already be included in those. Unlike many complete sets, this collection features unique packaging, with a nice solid box and a booklet type case well placed and well supported within, featuring digipack packaging. It’s quite refreshing to see this sort of packaging and not merely each of the separate Blu-Ray sets from the initial season releases inside a new box as is so often the case unfortunately.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Spartacus: The Complete Series’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the show’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on every episode of all four seasons. The video presentation on the entire series looks pretty spot on overall, perfectly capturing the fast paced and frenetic action, gore and flesh that is so prominent on this series, with no notable faults to be found within on my end. Fans of the series should be more than satisfied with these high definition video presentations for the series’ episodes.
The Blu-Ray release features an uncompressed English 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack on every episode in all four seasons and the lossless multichannel soundtracks definitely compliment this series in a huge way. The score, action and even the more lust-oriented moments all quite frequently take advantage of all five of the allotted channels and this hard hitting and action packed series is just that much more enjoyable with these Dolby TrueHD tracks surrounding you; everyone will definitely want to make sure to watch with them fully utilized if possible.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Spartacus: The Complete Series’ is also completely jam-packed with extra goodies. Included on the release are a number of special features included with each of the separate seasons, spread throughout those discs. These include Audio Commentaries for episodes on most seasons, as well as Extended Episodes for select episodes on all four of the seasons, behind the scenes and making of featurette’s and a whole lot more. In addition to all of those goodies (a large majority of which I didn’t even list due to the sheer overwhelming quantity of them) there is a thirteenth disc in the set dedicated solely to even more special features. This bonus disc includes: ‘Spartacus Fan Favorites with Liam Mcintyre’; ‘Scoring a Hit: Composer Joseph Loduca’; An Eye Full: Roger Murray’; ‘Spartacus: Paul Grinder’; and ‘The Last Word: John Hannah’. As you can see this set is overflowing with bonus content sure to keep folks busy long after watching (or re-watching) the series.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.