Spartacus is a surprising series for me. I first watched it when there were only two seasons out, and back then it was kinda OK for me. Now, after re-watching the first two seasons along with the rest, I found it to be a pretty good series, great even. The series is about Spartacus and how he journey's from being a free man to a gladiator, and then to a leader.
The whole series is structured in such a way that their is an overall forward progression with each season focused on a specific part. This results in focus on each area and ultimately they all come together quite nicely. Also, the series is divided into spartacus' related scenes and the roman leaders etc related scenes, developing both sides, side by side, throughout. This not only makes it easy to develop a large number of characters, it also develops both sides and not making it plain black and white. It makes things more interesting, and makes some outcomes way more satisfying.
There are A LOT of characters throughout the series, and with the added advantage of having basically two sides instead of tons of branching storylines, for example in a show Game of Thrones, they get a lot of development together. This in turn makes you care for a lot of characters and, accordingly, loath others. Andy Whitfield was great as Spartacus in the first season. Sadly, he died, and Liam McIntyre took over the mantle, providing just as great, if not better performance. The actor switch of the main character could break a series but Spartacus handled it nicely. I got used to the new Spartacus after a couple of episodes. Acting wasn't always great though. Many characters felt off or meh at first. But with time, they got better and better. And they grow on you. I hated many of them at first, but grew to like them later on. So much so that their deaths had quite an impact.
The series features stylized gory action, kinda similar to 300. It felt quite cheesy and even lame at first, but the show greatly improves it, especially in the later seasons. The fights get bigger, better and more entertaining as the series goes on.
Now, I don't think I have ever seen a series with this level of extremeness, in everything. Sex, nudity, violence and gore, the vileness of humans etc all of it is set to the extreme. And it works for this series. It becomes a part of it and actually benefits the story. However, they do go overboard with the gratuitous sex and nudity, often feeling like it was thrown in because, well, they can. This becomes more apparent in the later seasons.
Starz took fictional liberty with the series but they also kept many things to the actual story. Without going into spoilers, this resulted in outcomes that were both great and annoying/off putting. Mixed feelings, but I respect them for sticking to some important aspects. Gave a realistic spin to the whole series.
This series is not for people with weak stomachs. If you can handle the over the top violence, gore, sex and nudity, and other stuff, then you should definitely give it a try. I had a great time with it. The first couple of episodes of season 1 are not that good, even boring at times but trust me, the show gets much better as the episodes go on. Had to leave a lot out in order to keep spoilers at a minimum as I myself watched it without knowing much and it is the best way to experience this show. Don't even read the history of Spartacus if you plan on watching it. I didn't know it and it was better that way.