Spartacus: Blood and Sand TV Poster Image

Spartacus: Blood and Sand

(i)

 

Gladiator drama is heavy on combat, graphic violence, sex.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Violence and treachery are the only skills that seem to have value in this period action series. Gladiators who succeed in the arena are rewarded -- the bloodier their victories, the greater the acclaim. The wealthy Romans are consumed with petty politics and care much more about personal gain and status than in the lives of slaves, whom they view as sub-human and disposable.

Positive role models

Although Spartacus is a noble warrior who believes his word is his bond, values his friendships, and wants only to rescue his wife from slavery and raise a family, his attributes are often overshadowed by the antics of his foes, the Romans. They're venal, corrupt, and petty and thrive on treachery and deceit. They see no reason to keep their word and enjoy the spectacle of forcing slaves to fight to the death.

Violence

Lots of graphic hand-to-hand combat, using swords, battle-axes, spears, fists, and other weapons. People are decapitated and impaled, limbs are hacked off, and blood sprays everywhere. Fight scenes shift to slow-motion at critical times just to make sure the most gruesome moments are fully visible.

Sex

Many explicit sex scenes, some featuring full-frontal male and female nudity, entwined couples, naked male bottoms thrusting, and obvious suggestions of oral sex. Sex is sometimes a public spectacle at drunken parties/orgies.

Language

Lots of uncensored swearing, including “f--k,” “s--t,” “c--k,” “c--t,” “t-ts,” “piss,” and more.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The warriors enjoy their wine and sometimes drink to excess. Wine also flows freely during drunken parties, leading to plenty of naked cavorting.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this extremely violent swords-and-sandals series isn't appropriate for kids. There’s frequent nudity (including full-frontal male and female), explicit sex scenes, uncensored swearing, and lots of graphic violence. Heads roll, blood sprays, and the fight scenes shift to slow-mo at critical moments to give viewers an even "better" look at the gruesome action. The soap opera dramatics and political intrigues make for interesting storylines, but this is a grown-up guilty pleasure at best.

What's the story?

After deserting from the Roman army in a fruitless effort to defend his village, a warrior is sold into slavery and quickly becomes a gladiator champion. Renamed Spartacus (Andy Whitfield), he gains fame for his prowess with a sword while learning to navigate the treacherous waters of Roman society, where sex and wine flow freely, but deception and politics are always just beneath the surface. His manipulative new owner, Batiatus (John Hannah), and the master’s even more conniving wife, Lucretia (Lucy Lawless), see Spartacus as a ticket to riches and status, while the gladiator has only one goal: to stay alive long enough to be reunited with his beloved wife, Sura (Erin Cummings).

Is it any good?

QUALITY

SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND is a 21st-century take on the classic gladiator tale, and the show's graphic sex and even more graphic combat scenes are probably closer to reality than the relatively tame films that popularized the genre decades ago. But historical accuracy isn't the goal -- this series is all soap opera with togas and swords. While Spartacus and his comrades battle for survival and glory, the Roman nobles fight just as viciously for the same prize, using words and deceit as their weapons.

The series owes a huge debt to 300, the hyper-violent retelling of the ancient battle of Thermopylae. That film set a new standard for its stylized battle sequences and slow-motion close-ups of swords meeting flesh and spurting blood; the frequent combat sequences here follow the same pattern. And then there’s the sex -- lots of sex, as explicit as anything on premium cable stations’ late-night schedules. This series definitely isn't for the young or the squeamish. But that doesn’t mean older viewers might not find the over-the-top drama and abundant skin a guilty pleasure.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about fight scenes. How does this compare to the gladiator classics from decades past, and the more recent depictions of the period? Do you think the graphic violence goes too far?

  • Do you think movie and TV violence has ramped up recently? If so, why? And what does this say about the shifting standards of taste in this culture?

TV details

Premiere date:January 22, 2010
Cast:Andy Whitfield, John Hannah, Lucy Lawless, Sandy Winton
Network:Starz
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:Streaming

This review of Spartacus: Blood and Sand was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Thrilling epic is too intense for the youngest.
  • Masterful but really violent Oscar winner.
  • 300
    Bloody, fanboyish retelling of an ancient battle.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byFat Timothy September 17, 2012

The show is not "family material"

I have been watching this show ever since it came out now with that being said I do enjoy this show but it is not for younger kids or intended for them it is defiantly one of the most adult shows ever made every child is different with their maturity level and i believe each child should be able to watch different things depending on this now with that being said the show is very graphic blood and gore in every single episode but it is about gladiators so you can only expect as much there is plenty of sex and nudity in each and every episode some a lot more than others i believe this gives the show some character showing how the Romans would treat their slaves and what not but also to show a bond in some other cases between two people and then of course you have your prostitutes and then finally the language and drinking behavior there is plenty of both in this before letting kids watch this it is my strong suggestion to review a few episodes first it is again a very graphic show in nature the characters do not talk nice among themselves and there is a lot of full on nudity of both the male and female so just keep these factors in mind if you do not believe you child would be mature enough to handle any of these things then i strongly advise you not to let them watch this show
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bydarthsitkur May 24, 2013

300: the tv series :-)

I started watching the first season and I already love it, this is pretty much 300: the tv series, the action scenes are raw and hardcore, just the way I like it, there's tons of blood, guts, and gore, there's tits and ass all over the place, and it has the super cool slow mo that comes in at exactly the right time, this is a guy's show all the way lol, also, between spartacus and game of thrones, I like Spartacus more, mainly because it's more fun, it's not just me saying that, there's also several others that like this show better as well, don't get me wrong, I love game of thrones, but I love Spartacus more. every season of Spartacus is amazing including the prequel gods of the arena
Adult Written byJeremy Z February 9, 2012

Great show, but for ADULTS ONLY

I skipped the sex scenes (at least two per episode) and it is STILL inappropriate for anyone under 17. The language is ridiculous (2 dozen F words an episode), and the violence is so gory it's not even believable. granted, I still love the show, but it is for ADULTS ONLY.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?