July 29, 2015

"Spartacus" Complete Series Review

* Note: I've yet to watch Season 2 (Gods of the Arena) as it is a prequel, made between Season 1 and Season 3.

As you saw from my note above, I've finished the complete series of Starz' Spartacus - but only the content about Spartacus himself at this point. There are four seasons total. In the order in which they were made, they were: Blood and Sand (Season 1), Gods of the Arena (Season 2), Vengeance (Season 3) and War of the Damned (Season 4). Season 2 serves as a prequel and additional backstory, leading up to Season 1. Andy Whitfield, the original actor in Spartacus' role, passed away due to cancer. Before Liam McIntryre was cast in his stead, Starz continued the show, but opted to do a prequel, which did not focus on Spartacus. Because of this, I opted to skip the prequel (for now) and follow Spartacus' story.

Now that is out of the way, I may begin (commence?) my review.

There are a bevy of 'swords' shows out there - Vikings, Game of Thrones, Camelot... that were on close together. I must say that Spartacus was the most entertaining - it had the most of,...well, everything (sex, violence / blood, swearing...) on a testostorne level. Is it the best show of the bunch because of that? No.

Spartacus knows exactly what type of show it is, and it delivers on that. I like to think that if the films Gladiator and 300 had a baby, the offspring would be Spartacus. If you like either of those, especially 300, you will most likely enjoy Spartacus

The acting from the main characters is prety decent - they fit their roles well. To me, Andy Whitfield was Spartacus. Of the two actors who played him, Andy was the best of the two. That being said, I could not think of anybody suitable enough than Liam McIntyre to step into his sandals. Lucy Lawless was great (although I wished she was only in Season 1 for story purposes). A great nod worth of mention goes to the actor who played Crassus.

The action scenes are a wonder to behold, especially once Spartacus et all go beyond the arena. It's clear that Starz wanted to do '300 the TV series' and that's almost what you et. The sex scenes are plentiful and steamy. They are mostly man/woman, but on occasion you will get man/man. I haven't seen much woman/woman that I can recall. And for the nude scenes that aren't sex ones, like brothels for example, actual nudists were hired as extras.

A big shout-out also has to go out to the composer for giving the show such excellent music. There are times where great films/shows may get not so great music, and vice versa, but I am glad that Spartacus got such great treatment in the music department, and though it is typical, it is not bland nor generic.

So the bottom line - is Spartacus a good show, and is it worth watching? Yes and yes. Though it's not perfect. There are better shows out there (Vikings, Game of Thrones....), but Spartacus is worth your time if you want to enjoy some action for the sake of action.

I give the series, on the whole (excluding Season 2 due to me not seeing it yet) a well rounded

7 / 10

Next on the TV list? Turn: Season 1.

July 24, 2015

Still Around

Hey all, just thought I'd do a quick note to let you know that I'm around, and so is the blog.

Things have gotten busy lately, as is normal, plus it's summer. Therefore, not a lot of time in front of the computer - for extended periods of time. Sadly that means not much writing - tho as the weather chills  in the coming autumn months, I hope to go on a roll.

I've been powering through Spartacus in spurts on Netflix, and will have a (complete) review up for that....as well as for Vikings: Season 3 as well....perhaps. I've also been steadily re-reading to Kill a Mockingbird, chapter-by-chapter, and will follow with Go Set a Watchman. currently, also steadily working through Red Rising and may pick up The Winter King following that [and Watchman.] On the bus I'm going through the anthology called Warriors.

So yeah - just checking in. Not much worth of update at this point of time, but letting you all know that I'm still around, as is the blog.

I hope to return with a few more entries next week [2-3...?]

So yeah - all in all not too much to report, blog-wise.

July 2, 2015

"The Story of Kullervo" Release Info

The world first publication of a previously unknown work of fantasy by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the powerful story of a doomed young man who is sold into slavery and who swears revenge on the magician who killed his father.

Kullervo son of Kalervo is perhaps the darkest and most tragic of all J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters. ‘Hapless Kullervo’, as Tolkien called him, is a luckless orphan boy with supernatural powers and a tragic destiny.

Brought up in the homestead of the dark magician Untamo, who killed his father, kidnapped his mother, and who tries three times to kill him when still a boy, Kullervo is alone save for the love of his twin sister, Wanona, and guarded by the magical powers of the black dog, Musti. When Kullervo is sold into slavery he swears revenge on the magician, but he will learn that even at the point of vengeance there is no escape from the cruellest of fates.

Tolkien himself said that The Story of Kullervo was ‘the germ of my attempt to write legends of my own’, and was ‘a major matter in the legends of the First Age’. Tolkien’s Kullervo is the clear ancestor of Túrin Turambar, tragic incestuous hero of The Silmarillion. In addition to it being a powerful story in its own right, The Story of Kullervo – published here for the first time with the author’s drafts, notes and lecture-essays on its source-work, The Kalevala – is a foundation stone in the structure of Tolkien’s invented world.

That,  as well as the cover image, courtesy of Harper Collins. On release day, there will be the hardback edition, as well as an e-book. No word on deluxe edition - yet. Don't get your hopes up, as that's usually announced as well at the same time.

Much like The Fall of Arthur, the tale is unfinished, and the book clocks in at around 192 pages, perhaps making it 'more dustjacket than book', if one opts for the hardback. For those that prefer paperback, it should most likely be out next year. I myself opted for the ebook this go-around. I'll give the physical copy a look and flip-through once it's released.The book will be published the end of August 2015.

The cover image for the book is a reproduction of Tolkien's piece The Land of Pohja:

I will close by staying that I look forward to any 'new' Tolkien material, as well what image(s) will be used as the cover artwork. As mentioned before, it's thanks to Tolkien that I became interested in buying (certain editions of) books. It's neat that the cover for Kullervo matches that of Tolkien's Beowulf :