The miniseries is a prequel, a narrative format that mainly lends itself to relentless wheel-spinning. So it was a pleasure to find out that the Gods of the Arena premiere was such a surprisingly enjoyable hour of television.
Gods of the Arena won't disappoint on the guilty pleasure front. If anything it's even more gratuitous than the original. It's not for the squeamish, nor perhaps for the refined. But it's al-i-i-i-i-i-ve in so many ways. So what the hell, let's rock.
Within the first five minutes, we're treated to what plays like a 14-year-old boy's ultimate video game fantasy - soft porn and slow-motion blood spatters and swords plunged into all parts of the body.
The result is a production even more fantastically soapy than the first, visually elevated by an apocalyptic video-game look in which the orgiastic sex and violence are presented with a studied, syncopated choreography.