What Spartacus reminds me of: Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata

So, I’ve been catching up with Spartacus: Blood and Sand again after temporarily abandoning it after episode three. It’s not changed a huge amount, although surprisingly, not only have they finally introduced a couple of gay characters who get up to things in as much explicit detail as the m-f and f-f pairings, they’ve actually started moving away from female nudity in favour of mostly male nudity. Would you Adam and Eve it? It’s also got a little bit more interesting, and a little bit more intelligent, even if the swearing is still as pervasive as ever.

But while watching it, I finally realised what the shooting style reminded me of: Peter Brook’s adaptation of ‘The Mahabharata’. Shown on Channel 4 in 1989, this was a six-hour mini-series version of his nine-hour stage play and focused on the epic battle between the Pandavas (representing the good side) and the Kauravas (representing the bad side) depicted in the Hindu epic poem.

See if you agree: here’s a trailer for Spartacus: Blood and Sand – ignore the fight scenes, since they belong to a completely different aesthetic

…and here’s a few clips from The Mahabharata. You can get it on DVD from Amazon, by the way.