"SPARTACUS, Blodd and sand," the television series, leaves much to be desired. First, there is this script in a stilted English meant to be formal, we imagine, and ancient, perhaps. So we hear, "Apologies," in lieu of "I'm sorry." We further hear "Gratitude" instead of "Thank you" or even "Thank thee." And so on. Which sort of works, until the lead character starts raving in very contemporary, quite guttural English, especially with the use of the "F" word belonging more in "NYPD Blue" than in Ancient Rome.

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Next, it's oversexed. Granted, much is written about the period's sexual proclivity all around, the amount of sex going on in "Spartacus" makes it, simply, pornography. While that can be defended (yeah, yeah, yeah), a good number of us appreciate good, tight, well put-together story-telling than we do pornography getting in the way of it. Surely, a limit of one graphic sexual scene maybe every two episodes ought to bring home the point that Ancient Rome was, uh, sexy.

Then there's all of this blood and sand. It is drilled into the gladiators by their trainer that their lives are all about the blood they spill and the sand they fight and die on. We hear this once, twice, and on and on and on. Heavens, we get it already. As surely as the gladiators of old must have.

To bring the point home even more, we see and hear every five or so minutes, a sword slashing and landing on flesh and then blood spurting out in very slow motion, leading to a freeze, a still of blood on sand or blood against a background of sand, or blood and sand in some other visual. It gets old very fast. And the gore and all its spurting is just gratuitous.

Bottom line: is it worth the commitment of an hour of your time to watch one episode of "Spartacus?" Maybe once every two months if there is really nothing else on.

Despite the obvious homage to "Gladiator," Ridley Scott, in any language, is a tooouuuugh act to follow. For the here and now in the arena of blood and sand, "Gladiator" is it. This new "Spartacus" does not shift the paradigm one iota.