Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

TV review by
Matt Springer, Common Sense Media
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena TV Poster Image
Period drama is definition of gratuitous sex and violence.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show glorifies extreme violence and degrading sexual behavior.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters advance solely through extreme acts of violence and treachery, and are motivated primarily by greed and lust.


Not only is the show extremely gory but the camera frequently lingers on creative acts of violence, such as a human head being sliced in half, rendered with computer-generated graphics in physiologically accurate detail.


Although there is a great deal of nudity and softcore sex sequences, male/female interactions are rarely depicted as anything but pure physical satisfaction, and sometimes as violent.


The characters speak in mock-noble British accents and employ very modern curse language throughout the dialogue, including "f--k" and "c--k."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Over-indulgence in alcohol and occasional drunken cavorting.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this sensational hour-long cable series is equivalent to an extremely violent and sexually charged R-rated film. The series' graphic, extreme acts of violence, including decapitations and torture, are not just depicted on screen, but are filmed in such a way that the camera lingers on the blood and gore for maximum impact. In addition, expect full female nudity and graphic, sometimes degrading sex. Language is strong, and includes "f--k" and "c--k."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byThePorgsHaveCome May 23, 2018

Heavy themes for sure.

The amount of violence (and a little dramatised in ways) and the amount of sexual content (including nudity) seems to me like a dramatisation of things that wen... Continue reading
Adult Written byYomay G. January 10, 2017

Soo good !!

The more I watch the more I got into the show.. I couldn't stop watching.. I absolutely loved it .. definitely recommend this to everyone..
Teen, 17 years old Written byjacques6667 May 5, 2018
Teen, 15 years old Written byLoganreuben27 April 17, 2017

What's the story?

A prequel to the series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, GODS OF THE ARENA focuses on Batiatus (John Hannah) and his previous champion of the arena, Gannicus (Dustin Clare). Batiatus is a hungry master of gladiators who is ready to overthrow his father and scheme his way into power and glory, with the help of wife Lucretia (Lucy Lawless).

Is it any good?

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena is a show truly more focused on depicting sex and violence than on telling anything close to a coherent story. It's impossible to get past it. Scenes packed with dialogue written in a faux-ancient speech pattern are sped through while the camera lingers longingly on blood spurting from eye sockets, blood gushing out of the stump of a recently-decapitated body, or blood pouring from a slit throat. Some company in Hollywood is making a mint selling these people fake blood.

You can sense the precedents for this kind of storytelling -- it's basically sort of 300: The Series, also building off the success of HBO's Rome and putting its own amped-up, brutal spin on the era. When the actors have a moment to speak and let the lines breathe, there's some gifted talent in the cast. But you walk away from Spartacus: Gods of the Arena thinking not of the plot or the characters, but of buckets and buckets of blood.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of gratuitous violence on television. Does the violence in the show seem motivated by the story and characters? Why or why not? What would be lost if the violence was toned down?

  • Do you think the series offers an accurate depiction of its particular era of history? How would you find out?

TV details

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