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Why Spartacus Is More Groundbreaking And Hardcore Than Game Of Thrones

Updated December 8, 2019 15.8k votes 2.2k voters 135.5k views13 items

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Game of Thrones is lone of the most beloved prestige shows in recent television history. It has amazing characters, wild plot twists, and astounding production values. But what if there was another show that did everything GoT does, but better? Well, it exists, and it’s called Spartacus. The Starz take on the story of the Thracian gladiator had several permutations - Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Spartacus: Vengeance, and Spartacus: War of the Damned. In every version, it dialed the things you love about Game of Thrones up to 11.

Relish action? Spartacus has it in such abundance it’ll make your head spin. Love adult pleasure? Spartacus has more than almost any show on TV. Obsessed with diverse casts of characters of various backgrounds and sexual orientations? Spartacus has that, too. When you combine all that with sharp writing and true attitude, you have yourself a binge-worthy show.

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    The Villains Are Complex

    The Villains Are Complex
    Photo: Spartacus / Starz

    You feel for some of the bad guys on Game of Thrones - Jaime Lannister, anyone? But there are also some flat-out villains on the show, like Walder Frey, the slavers in Essos, and the Mountain. Purely evil figures can be fun, but Spartacus gives a reason for most of its characters turning bad. Take Ashur, who may be the most devious and self-serving of the entire cast. He just wanted to be a good gladiator, but constant abuse and a disability turned his character sour.

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    'Spartacus' Isn't Afraid To Slay Anyone And Everyone

    'Spartacus' Isn't Afraid To Slay Anyone And Everyone
    Photo: Spartacus / Starz

    Yes, Game of Thrones ended Ned Stark, and a huge amount of recurring and main cast members, too. But no one in Spartacus was safe. Sure, the titular character survived until the end of the show, but just about everyone else was fair game.

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  • 11

    Batiatus Is The Best Lannister That Never Was

    Batiatus Is The Best Lannister That Never Was
    Photo: Spartacus / Starz

    While Spartacus and Game of Thrones both have plenty of great villains, none of them match the sheer entertainment value of John Hannah’s Batiatus. Sure, Tywin Lannister was a magnificent character and the Night King is scary, but they don't chew half the scenery Hannah did in just one take. His plans were ambitious and often mean spirited, but you couldn’t help but root for the guy. And in true poetic fashion, all of his betrayals and machinations came back in the end to slay him.

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  • 12

    Lucretia Is Clever Like A Fox

    Lucretia Is Clever Like A Fox
    Photo: Spartacus / Starz

    Game of Thrones has its share of unstable characters. Lucretia was unstable, but she also had Littlefinger-style cunning. By the end of her arc on Spartacus, Lucretia might have been taken down by her own madness, but it was something she deliberately planned. She went out on her own terms instead of being outmaneuvered.

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