Mixed or average reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 22
  2. Negative: 5 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    After artistic duds like the TV version of "Crash," Starz may have found its destination series in Spartacus. This might prove to be the not-at-all-guilty pleasure of the season.
  2. 75
    Spartacus develops into an enjoyably soapy escape--a la the similarly sweaty and sex-drenched "True Blood"--as its first season progresses.
  3. Reviewed by: Paige Wiser
    There's no denying that stylized decapitations are entertaining, especially when accompanied by a generous helping of soft porn.
  4. Given that Spartacus does not stumble in what it sets out to do, one's objections to the show, if objections one has, will be moral, or simple matters of taste, to the extent that those two concerns can actually be separated.
  5. Eventually, the series makes way for just enough plot to give our poor, overstimulated eyes a rest. There's a bit of political maneuvering, fierce rivalries, the examination of slavery vs. free will, ludus-yard hazing and even romance.
  6. Spartacus fetishizes violence even more than it depicts sex and nudity, which is often. There’s a whole lot of B.C. banging going on here.
  7. 63
    It is trashy fun as Spartacus, who is not really that interested in overthrowing oppressive Roman rule right now as he is in getting his sexed-up wife back, fights his way up gladiator rankings and out.
  8. 60
    The result is compulsively watchable pulp, provided you have a high threshold for decapitations and copulations, sometimes simultaneous.
  9. It's no "Rome," but at least it appears headed more in that direction.
  10. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    It's deliciously, marvelously bad, and I was helpless in its grip. It's a long way from Kubrick, but what isn't?
  11. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    After Spartacus blows most of its special-effects budget on the pilot, it settles into a not-bad sword-and-sandal genre series, a la "Xena" or "Hercules."
  12. Some viewers will be riveted to the sex, violence, beautiful nude bods and sensory gluttony of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Others will be turned off almost instantly.
  13. Though the violence is designed to be gorgeous, like a graphic novel, it doesn’t have the pacing of a comic book. The creators of Spartacus: Blood and Sand seem a little too enamored of their ability to sketch a vast Thracian tableau, a fight scene, or a coliseum full of cheering CGI Italians.
  14. 50
    There's no denying that Spartacus does what it sets out to do fairly well--and in a way that doesn't duplicate anything else now on TV. Were it broadcast free over the air where children might find it, one might blanch, but that's not the case.
  15. Reviewed by: Cary Darlig
    Toto, we're not in I, Claudius, or even Rome, anymore. The problem, though, is that this Spartacus is so over the top that it begs to be considered as total camp.
  16. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Spartacus is derivative as entertainment and primitively pandering as a diverting spectacle of campy historical fiction.
  17. The trappings up front are so over the top that to say you watch Spartacus to see a contemporary reworking of a cinema classic is like saying you go to Hooters for the food.
  18. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    To be fair, the program does improve marginally after the premiere, but by then the bar's set so low a three-legged horse could clear it.
  19. So, one gets an episode about Spartacus' lessons at gladiator school and another episode about his fights in "the pit," a place brutal enough to make professional wrestling look like ballet. With such thin stories each week, it's small wonder that sex and violence are used to take up the slack.
  20. If you're a teenage boy who loved "300"--or any other demographic who loved "300"--you may well dig all the digitized, slow-motion blood splurts, the abundant nudity (albeit with some of the full frontal coming from male characters as well as female) and the stylized, computer-generated backgrounds. But stay far away if none of those things make you say "Hells yeah!"
  21. 30
    This attempt to milk the success of the 2008 movie “300’’ is a major dud, from the C-level production values and shoddy green-screen technology to the horrible makeup that turns star Lucy Lawless into a Raggedy Ann doll.
  22. Spartacus is an exercise in some of the worst writing, acting and directing you'll ever see (or not).
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 411 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 64
  2. Negative: 17 out of 64
  1. Oct 4, 2011
    the series starts of SLOW and on a VERY small budget but the story just gets better and better. so some of the actors may not be "hollywood"the series starts of SLOW and on a VERY small budget but the story just gets better and better. so some of the actors may not be "hollywood" (whatever that is) level, but they never are in these things and to be honest i have no issues with it anyway as i have bonded to many of the characters in it with no probs. the ONE proper grumble i have is that they do need to tone down the nudity and bad language. i know i sound like a 90 year old there but its all a little overdone to the respect it losses its meaning SOMETIMES, a lot of the time its good though. its a crying shame one of the lady's (no spoiler) has to die so soon because she was HOT. any way the main reason i give this a 9 is because i have never felt so much about characters in a series, this has to be good because im engaged in the story. a story which gets very good later in the series. the episode "party favors" shocked me so much to the core i was just left speechless. no other tv series has had that effect on me so for that i think this is a WIN and i cant wait for the next one. Full Review »
  2. Sep 27, 2011
    Highly entertaining, well acted, controversial, bloody TV Viagra. The stories and the characters who portray them get more and moreHighly entertaining, well acted, controversial, bloody TV Viagra. The stories and the characters who portray them get more and more enticing, as the show goes on and on it thrills and makes you get down on your knees and beg for more. Full Review »
  3. Aug 23, 2010
    After watching the first episode I wasn't sure what I was getting into. The second and third episodes didn't help much but I really foundAfter watching the first episode I wasn't sure what I was getting into. The second and third episodes didn't help much but I really found myself getting into the series and the characters as the series went along. I think some may have been a bit over-sensitive about the nudity and blood, yes they are a bit over done sure but some of it IS plot worthy, for example showing how the slaves were treated by those above them, and how the Romans viewed anyone who wasn't one of them as something to be poked, prodded and laughed at (or cheered as they are killed), the plots towards the end of the series are woven together strongly and the seriously evil Batiatus and Asher pull off some stunning moves. Perhaps some who want to compare this to gladiator and 300 should watch those and then watch again, style wise I can't argue, but overall they are very different beasts. I found myself caught up in the sorrow of the minor characters like Crixus and Barca, the sad Mira who is just abused over and over again, and the sad Varro and his wife who, in my opinion, has the best 'kill' scene ever put down on film. I hope they learn plenty from what they did with the first season and I look forwards to more. It's not perfect, but it's very enjoyable. Full Review »