Fickle Fascinations

I like a lot of things.

Month: April, 2013

A “14-year-old boy’s ultimate video game fantasy”?: The Violence of ‘Spartacus’

SPOILER WARNING: I talk about the last few episodes of Spartacus.

Don’t read unless you’ve watched the full series. But why haven’t you already?!

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Spartacus in War of the Damned.

A popular school of thought regarding our recreational consumption of violence is that we all have an in-built blood-lust (to variable degrees). Initially, this makes sense. After all, mankind’s proclivity for warfare throughout history is undeniable and has scant signs of ever abating.

Our active enjoyment of violence when presented as entertainment is equally ancient. The gladiatorial arenas of Rome are scarcely a far cry from modern-day boxing rings or cage fights. Whether in the Colosseum in AD.40 or in Madison Square Garden in the 21st century, the crowd bays for blood. The flash of red on the sand (or in the ring) is the ultimate thrill for an audience.

While we must still question why we have this somewhat ghoulish desire, arguably safer and more acceptable ways to quench this thirst have been discovered. Violent films, books, video-games and other forms of media can perform this function, without outwardly harmful actions (although the mainstream media may not agree with this).

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The Persistence of Vision and Rear-View Mirror of ‘Spartacus’

SPOILER WARNING: I talk about the absolute last moments of Spartacus.

Don’t read unless you’ve watched the full series. Seriously.

Dan-Feuerriegel-Agron-Dustin-Clare-Gannicus-Liam-McIntyre-SpartacusManu-Bennett-Crixus

Watch this damn show or face their wrath.

Spartacus, the perennially misunderstood television series, has just completed its consistently spectacular run with a triumphant finale. Widely and wrongly maligned by many critics for what they regard as its obsession with sex and gore, dedicated fans were last week ‘rewarded’ with a heart-rending conclusion. Rest assured, tears were shed. More accurately, gross sobbing ensued.

But now that my shattered psyche has returned to a relatively stable, functional level, I have begun to reflect upon the series as a whole. Spartacus began somewhat inauspiciously with the pilot, ‘The Red Serpent’, which aped the visual style of Zack Synder’s 300, with little obvious originality or flair. However, within a handful of episodes, Spartacus found its own unique groove: many fans cite episodes four and five (‘The Thing in the Pit’ and ‘Shadow Games’) as definite turning points in quality. Ultimately, the pilot misrepresented the series, which raised the stakes and upended the status quo so frequently, one could barely pause for breath.

However, what is fascinating about the final series of Spartacus, particularly the final three episodes, ‘Separate Paths’, ‘The Dead and the Dying’ and ‘Victory’, is how much it engages with, and even embraces the flawed opening moments of the show.

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Welcome!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

This will be an archive for my reflections on various media, whether it be books, television, films, video-games or music.

Some posts will be terse and testy, while others will be long and languid!

As the title suggests, my interests are legion. I may be a casualty of the fast-moving, short attention span, modern world: my obsessions tend to ebb and flow. Nevertheless, I hope my passion for whatever I may be writing about comes through.

First up will be a treatise on the misunderstood, yet undeniably fantastic television-series, Spartacus!