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October 27 2008

Steven DeKnight helms Spartacus. Joss posted at the weekend here that Steven has moved on from his Dollhouse consulting producer gig, and The Hollywood Reporter has details on his new series. Well done Steve!

Now I understand his departure from Dollhouse.
Great for him! Crash is not doing well with critics, I hope this one will be different. At least I'm very interested.
Kudos to Steven. I wouldn't mind a bit of really good swords'n'sandals on TV. And I'll try not to compare it to Rome, which wouldn't really be fair. Because Rome is pretty much perfect.

Actually, that brings up an interesting point. Starz is a cable network, right?

[ edited by Simon on 2008-10-27 14:23 ]
I'm Spartacus!
They should credit Steven for Buffy, Angel or even Dollhouse, not Smallville.
I'm Steve DeKnight!
Winther there's no need to be crude.
Awesome! Howard Fast would have loved to see his work as translated by DeKnight.
No, i'm crude ! ... Hang on ...

By the sounds of it it's not necessarily based on the book that led to the film but more on the historical story. Which could be interesting, Spartacus was a slightly more ambiguous figure in reality. He could, for instance, have escaped across the Alps at one point but chose to turnaround and pick a fight with, at that time, the biggest empire the world had seen. Elaborating on that guy is more interesting to me than the clear-cut near messiah character we see in the film.
Ahh, I knew there was a reason I've been hanging on to those old books all these years {sneezes and wipes watering eyes). And dusty ole' classics they are. Oh, DeKnight will have a field day with these beauties. {Ahhoo!)
Whoa, Starz? More power to the small cable networks and their awesome dramas!
Its being made in New Zealand!? Thats shiny.
I'm actually sparticus. Deal with it people.
I guess I'm behind the times ( not surprising as a TV hodad) but I thought Starz was satellite-only.

Defitely has possibilties, but remember the thing is selling on the medium, not historical accuracy.

Caroline: Did you know that the voices on the soundtrack* yelling that were not those of the men shown on screen+? Still one of my personal top half dozen most moving film moments regardless.

*students at a midwestern university, recorded in I think their stadium.

+local extras.
Is it wrong to hope this will be as campy as Hercules and Xena? With Raimi and Tapert on board, that's kind of what I want (along with several cameos of Bruce Campbell.) I sometimes think TV takes itself too serious.
With DeKnight as head writer, I don't think this is going in the campy direction. I've always thought of his episodes on BUFFY and ANGEL as the high drama with lots of violence and the prerequisite humor in the Whedonverse. He wrote Spiral, Seeing Red and Dead Things on BUFFY and Deep Down, Apocalypse Nowish, Inside Out, Hellbound, Damage, and Shells on ANGEL. Granted he did co-write The Girl in Question with Drew Goddard so he has put his name to a campy episode, but the majority of his episodes carry some of the goriest scenes and awesome fights from both shows.

The freakishly accurate bullet shot by Wesley into Skips fractured skull -> Inside Out. The crazed Slayer using a medical saw to wreak vengeance on her caring medical professionals (not to mention the horror story of Dana's past abduction or the later amputation of Spike's hands) -> Damage. The creepy trapped souls haunting W&H like the armless pilgrim woman and the business woman with a shard of glass in her eye -> Hellbound. The pile of bodies at the top of Sky Temple Club where the Beast uses them as a sacrifice to start the reign of fire -> Apocalypse, Nowish. I can find a brutally violent scene (sometimes several) in nearly every episode he's written.

So to me, DeKnight = Gory violence. Which can be really great for a realistic portrayal of the brutality of that era of Roman conquest. I think in that respect, it might match or even outpace Rome. Though perhaps it won't be as sexually raunchy but certainly as graphically violent.

He could, for instance, have escaped across the Alps at one point but chose to turnaround and pick a fight with, at that time, the biggest empire the world had seen.


Saje, Rome was still a republic around the time Spartacus lived, plus it never superceded the size of Alexander the Great's empire (stretching from Greece and Egypt to the Indus River in India) and Darius the Great's Persian empire. But it certainly was *the* power in the region at the time and would grow to be a juggernaut through massive conquests (subduing the Germanic tribes to the North, annexing Eqypt and Greece) right around the time of Spartacus' life. A generation after Spartacus' uprising, Caesar makes the Roman Republic an empire.

Wow, I just had a flashback to a Roman history exam in college.
Emmie, your post was making sense to me, until I remembered watching some of Deknight's episodes of Smallville!

So it could go either way.
Man, those 'Smallville's were appallingly bad (though he also wrote at least one decent one). I tell myself his scripts were mucked about with and it wasn't his fault but you never know.

Saje, Rome was still a republic around the time Spartacus lived ...

Ah, yep, you're totally right on all counts Emmie, that'll teach me to get all hyperbolic and, err, wrong - hadn't realised he was that "old". I thought the Roman empire equaled Alexanders' by land though (and, cos it was later, was bigger by population than both his and Darius'). Still, your point stands, at that time it wasn't in any way "the biggest empire the world had seen." - I just flashed back to all the Roman History exams I didn't take in college ;).

But I reckon it's still fairly safe to say he had a slim chance of actually winning though. Maybe he disagreed or maybe he just figured they wouldn't make it over the mountains though i've also seen it suggested that he didn't want to go back to being an ordinary Joe after leading such a huge army. Either way, interesting to tease out in a TV show, if they were that way inclined.
Emmie, your post was making sense to me, until I remembered watching some of Deknight's episodes of Smallville!


Ha! Very true, Xane. I still think the story tone of Sparticus leans more towards bloody murder though, so I expect we'll be seeing DeKnight writing all sorts of gruesome scenes.

Saje, you're right. The Roman Empire at it's height equaled the size of Alexander the Great's. I think they rank Alexander's empire as bigger in the rankings because it predated Rome's (or there might be an infinitesimal difference in landmass). Sparticus actually reminds me a lot of the storyline for Gladiator, seeing as he escaped from a gladiatorial school and recruited his fellow gladiators to lead his army against Rome in the Third Servile War. It should make for great drama.

I'm really looking forward to this project now. Especially after delving back into the history of the time.

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