When you hear the name ‘Spartacus,’ what comes to mind? Sex? What about gore and blood? Roman women who are hot and sultry? Or dripping-wet, hulking men with chiseled frames? All of these characteristics may only make up the skeleton of a hugely successful television show. The television series, which is based on the historical figure of Spartacus, a renown gladiator who rebelled against the powerful Roman Empire, has succeeded in engrossing and gluing us to our television screens. There are only a few things that have remained from the original – namely, the extremes in terms of sex, violence, and gore. Explicit nudity is also possible, but to a lesser extent.
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SPARTACUS evolved and grew in power with each passing episode from Season 1, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” through Season 2, “Spartacus: Vengeance,” and Season 3, “Spartacus: War of the Damned.” Although there was a pause due to the absence of a lead actor, the show ended as expected despite the appearance of a spin-off midway through its run. Even if we ignore the bloodshed and violence, the show places a strong emphasis on the political climate of Europe at the time.
We hope that this list will help you find new shows to watch that are just as good as ‘Spartacus,’ and maybe even better.
Here is our pick for the best TV shows to watch if you like Spartacus. Some of these shows, such as Spartacus, are available on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. We’ve made an effort to include series with plenty of action, blood, gore, sex, and thrills. Relax. You will never again miss your favorite television shows again. Let’s get this party started,
13. Merlin (2008-2012)
“Merlin’s Beard!” is a term that we’ve all heard. ‘Merlin’ makes an attempt to capture the allure and mysticism of the venerable warlock in a film, and it succeeds right away. According to the plotline, the show follows Merlin as he embarks on an adventure to protect a kingdom, save a prince, and bring back the magic that once reigned in it. As with ‘Spartacus,’ this show features historical (although mostly fictional) portrayals, magic, treacherous turns, and dragons. A series with potential, but a shaky cast.
12. The Borgias (2011-2013)
It is a series that shows how the Borgia family rose to the pinnacle of the papacy, their never-ending battles for power, and their philosophical battles with allies and nemeses alike, as well as some steamy sex scenes interspersed with plots and murders. ‘The Borgias’ is mostly reminiscent of ‘Game of Thrones’ in a softer, more accommodating way, though its similarity to ‘Spartacus’ After three seasons, ‘The Borgias’ has been canceled, but its impact and cliffhanger from the third season remain. Also, Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia is a must-see.
11. The Last Kingdom (2015-Present)
“The Last Kingdom” may be following in the footsteps of “Game of Thrones” and “Vikings” with its near-successful two-season run and current renewal for its third season. Many of the characters in “The Last Kingdom” are eerily similar to legendary Vikings, including Uhtred, the Saxon rulers, and the Ragnars, and the plot revolves around slave trade, violence, revenge killings, political contests, and invasion. While ‘The Last Kingdom’ has the ability to be compared to ‘Game of Thrones,’ it has the potential to grow in an unprecedented way and become something much greater.
10. Marco Polo (2014-2016)
It is one of the most expensive Netflix series based on the famous Italian explorer and his time in the Mongol Empire’s court of Kublai Khan, ‘Marco Polo’ tells of how the explorer remains loyal to Kublai Khan even as a war threatens his empire and as he must face a power struggle with his own brother. It is a story that is both historically accurate and historically fascinating. Marco Polo’s rise from prisoner to trusted Kublai Khan aide is depicted in the story, but it also highlights Marco Polo’s love interests, his inventiveness, and his resourcefulness when things go wrong. If you don’t mind brilliant production design, expensive setups, good visual cosmetics, and an average plot, this is a respectable effort. Last but not least, the king does indeed appear odd.
9. The Tudors (2007-2010)
‘The Tudors’ and ‘Spartacus’ have many similarities that can be drawn without much effort. Following King Henry VIII of England in the 14th century for four seasons, “The Tudors” depicts the daily turmoils of a monarchy, including political unrest, corruption, shifting allegiances and wars as well as diseases, misery and deaths. “The Tudors” centers on King Henry VIII. All in all, the term ‘Tudors’ refers to a difficult period endured by the ancestors of the current British Monarch, Elizabeth I, beginning with. “The Tudors” has a compelling story, but the scope is much smaller than what was expected of a series of this nature, and this further undermines the series’ overall effectiveness.” Also, keep an eye out for the seductive Natalie Dormer.
8. Da Vinci’s Demons (2013-2015)
It ranks right up there with the opening credits of “Game of Thrones” and “Under the Dome” as one of my favorite tv show openings. This David S. Goyer series, centered on genius inventor and philanthropist Leonardo da Vinci in 14th-century Italy, is worth watching for a few seasons. Leonardo da Vinci: The Series opens with a young Leonardo da Vinci as he embarks on a journey of discovery that takes him through his inner struggles, his first failures, his pursuit of enlightenment, and his allegiance to shaping the history of the Italian Renaissance. Despite the fact that the plot thickens with cults and fantasy quests as the series progresses, it still captures the magic of medieval Europe and depicts the hypothesized life and times of Leonardo da Vinci admirably (although fictionally).
7. Black Sails (2014-2017)
As with any depiction of pirates, ‘Black Sails’ centers on a high-profile treasure hunt and the struggle to keep it, as well as other players, pirate ships, naval commands, and hidden secrets that come to the fore in the series. ‘Treasure Island,’ by Robert Louis Stevenson, is the inspiration for the series, which centers on a former naval officer turned piratical captain named Flint as the main character. Throughout the story, there are numerous references to murder, assassinations, power changes, and a never-ending quest for treasure that revolve around Captain Flint.
6. Rome (2005-2007)
It has all the ingredients for a good historical television drama: Julius Caesar’s downfall, followed by the rise of an Octavian to the position of Augustus, the first Roman emperor. What I liked best about the show was how historically accurate it was, how well it depicted the fall of Rome, and how tragic the ending was. ‘Rome’ is a less-traveled road, but it held a lot of promise when it first appeared.
5. Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014)
Many people consider ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ which won Golden Globes and Primetime Emmys, to be the most historically accurate television series ever made. During the Prohibition Era of the 1920s and 1930s, the story revolves around Atlantic City treasurer and politician Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, who is the brains behind all the corruption and is in contact with gangsters and criminals alike while appearing innocent and morally upright in public view. Martin Scorsese’s involvement in the series, the impressive cast, the well-layered performances and one hell of a power struggle all contribute to the project’s critical and commercial success. When we have a better version of ‘Spartacus,’ even if it is modern and engrossing, what else can we ask for?
4. True Blood (2008-2014)
To be fair, the blood is splattered in a different pattern. As Sookie, Anna Paquin plays the vampire in this seven-season long TV series. In this world, vampires and synthetic blood is completely acceptable, and the Vampires have fast-forwarded to fight against their own rights instead of looking at humans or animals to prey upon. While trying to make sense of the strange happenings around her, Sookie falls in love with a vampire, which further alters the ecosystem she’s in. ‘True Blood’ is the modern-day equivalent of ‘Spartacus,’ with plenty of steamy sequences, bordering on homosexual stereotypes, and a healthy dose of violence.
3. Vikings (2013-Present)
With Ragnar Lothbrok at the helm, ‘Vikings’ is mostly ‘Spartacus,’ sparing the geographical and mythological differences. Now to the touted series of the intimidating Norsemen (or rather, Norse Gods) of Scandinavia. With many fictional elements and little left to the historical record or viewers’ imagination, ‘Vikings’ depicts the vast Viking empire, the sieges of French and British territories and the attacks they led on their adversaries, as well as the religious, social, and political inclinations of those who lived in those times. The lack of sexual depictions in “Vikings” is greater than in “Spartacus,” but the film still has a relatable script, feudal struggles, and plenty of blood splattered all over.
2. House of Cards (2013-Present)
This show had great potential to be one of the best ever, but it got bogged down in all the controversy. When Congressman Frank Underwood became President of the United States, he had a chilling and edgy demeanor that had us all enraged and gritting our teeth in retaliation. It is revealed that Frank’s wife, Claire, shares his cunning, insatiable desire for power, and as the series progresses, Frank uses every trick in the book and resorts to becoming President of the United States, which he achieves in season three. Many of the plot points in this well-received series revolve around murders, sexual advances, political betrayals, and an overall dark tone.
1. Game of Thrones (2011-Present)
This was a no-brainer: the best TV show of all time. No matter how popular a show may be, when it comes to coherence, dramatization, dialogues and other aspects of the show like music and storyline, there’s a clear winner. With each new episode, ‘Game of Thrones’ has not only raised the bar for other television shows, but it has also raised the bar for itself, and it has been sitting atop those new standards with an uncanny ease. There are numerous characters, such as Tyrion Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, and Daenerys Targaryen who are involved in the power struggle that leads to the single Iron Throne and many contenders.
The stories are interwoven in such an intricate and perfect manner that it is impossible to pick a side. And that’s before we even get to the shocking deaths, breathtaking battle scenes, double standards, political implications, fantasy, gore, and character depths that we all know about (like “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Spoils of War”). There has always been more to ‘Game of Thrones’ than just a show on TV; it’s a phenomenon. And there’s a century-defining television series in the works. Let’s hope for the best.