Game of Thrones is likely the most beloved prestige show in the history of television. It has amazing characters, crazy 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 eleven.
Relish violence? Spartacus has it in such abundance it’ll make your head spin. Love sex? Spartacus has more than almost any show on TV. Obsessed with diverse casts of characters of various backgrounds and sexual orientations? Yup, Spartacus has that too. When you combine all that with sharp writing and true attitude, you have yourself a binge-worthy show.
Gannicus Is The Man
Spartacus's creator, Steven S. DeKnight, described Gannicus as "Han Solo meets Achilles." The ultimate cocky hero, Gannicus may be the best fighter on the show without even trying. He’s always quick with a one-liner, a swig of wine, or a smirk that’ll bring any lady into his bed. The guy is a rock star, and he doesn’t let anyone forget it.
The Gore Is Way More Intense
Game of Thrones is an incredibly gory show. People get decapitated, disemboweled, and burned alive by dragons. But Spartacus focuses on gladiatorial combat during the golden age of the Roman Empire. Not only do characters have entire conversations about how to decapitate someone, viewers actually see people get their faces sliced off. And get crucified. And be beaten to a pulp. And end up cleaved in two. And get impaled through the throat. And...
The Sex Is Part Of The Story
The prevalence of sex on Game of Thrones even spawned a new term: "sexposition." It almost became a crutch the writers relied on to make the scenes more interesting. Spartacus doesn't use its naked bodies as info-delivery devices. It does, however, use sex as part of the plot. Ilithyia, for example, was a noblewoman who hated Spartacus and frequently deployed sex for the purposes of blackmail.
Lucretia Is Crazy Like A Fox
Game of Thrones has its share of crazy characters. Lucretia was crazy, but also had Littlefinger-style cunning. By the end of her arc on Spartacus, Lucretia made have been destroyed by her own madness, but it was a destruction she deliberately planned. She went out on her own terms instead of being outmaneuvered.