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September 11, 2012

TV On Blu-ray: Spartacus: Vengeance - Complete Second Season (2012, Blu-ray)

It was only a couple of years ago that the cable channel Starz unleashed the amazingly violent, super sexy goodness that is Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The series took off and went on for another season with its prequel Spartacus: God’s of the Arena. Sadly, the star of Spartacus, Andy Whitfield, succumbed to cancer; which he so very bravely fought. Replacing him as Spartacus would be the similar looking but slender Liam McIntyre. Changing actors is so incredibly tough for a series but in my opinion the younger Aussie born actor holds his own.

Anchor Bay in association with Starz have put together yet another box set on Blu-ray and DVD that will no doubt delight admirers of the Steven S. DeKnight creation. In Spartacus: Vengeance we begin right where season one left off, following the aftermath of the massacre at The House of Batiatis. Spartacus leads his group of muscle-bound gladiators on a journey to build a new life for themselves. On their tail though are Claudius Glaber (Craig Parker) and his Roman soldiers. Glaber will simply stop at nothing. Spartacus has no love loss either as Glaber murdered his wife.

As Glaber starts his hunt of Spartacus his first stop is first the blood-covered floors of The House of Batiatis where he finds a big surprise, a survivor, none other than Batiatis’ main squeeze Lucretia (Lucy Lawless). Another scrap from the massacre that soon becomes an ally to Glaber, is the super slimy, Ashur (Nick Tarabay). Tarabay along with Parker do an excellent job of bringing the inner bastard out of these evil characters.

One thing you will notice as the season goes on, is that there is very little gladiator battle in the arena. Much of the first two seasons were filled with fights to the death. Don’t let that deter you, Spartacus: Vengeance is more of an adventure but still maintaining the awesome fight scenes and show-stopping gore crucial to the series. “Vengeance” might actually be more explicit as the past two. A few scenes showing Roman orgys would make Tinto Brass giggle like a school girl at the amount of skin and rampant sex.

Anchor Bay has loaded this Blu-ray set with nice amount of extras. The extended episodes are the big draw here for fans who watched the series during its initial run. Most importantly, the episodes don’t drag because of the extra few minutes tacked on to selected episodes. Commentaries are also included as are informative featurettes and even a blooper reel.

The changes in the cast and the narrative didn’t affect season two one bit. If anything, it’s better.  I really like where DeKnight, Sam Raimi are taking Spartacus. The Blu-ray also looks beautiful and sounds magnificent to boot. Grab a copy and get ready for season three! Highly Recommended.

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