Spartacus: War of the Damned
Thursday, 9.30pm, Showcase My goodness, this program has grown bold. Once content to cast Kiwis as half-naked gladiators training brutally for the arena and for the obligatory candlelit sex, this debut of the third season features more blood than Dexter, more CGI crowd scenes than Terminator: Salvation and more battle scenes with horses than Russell Crowe dreamed of in Gladiator. I suppose there is a plot in there somewhere, but War of the Damned so distracts us with epic bouts, blood spurting from severed limbs, and hunks and maidens getting down that it hardly seem to matter. The language continues to be a hoot, with pretentious faux-Italian word order and ludicrous lyricism. ‘‘ With each passing sun, hundreds of slaves break bond to join our course,’’ says a warrior in thigh-high boots, a cloth codpiece and a sleeveless hairshirt. ‘‘ You afforded yourself well upon the field this day,’’ says another to his male lover. ‘‘ You stand surprised,’’ he replies. Well, that makes two of us.