The beauty of adapting the King Arthur legend is its historical vagueness. If experts can't even agree whether or not the man lived, then that leaves plenty of freedom to mess around. At turns the legend has been magical (Excalibur), sanitized (The Sword in the Stone) or cheeky (Monty Python and the Holy Grail). Friday's premiere of Starz's Camelot had moments both unexpected and unsettling. Here's how this umpteenth version distinguished itself:
Lucy Lawless, No Ordinary Family
You know what the opposite of super is? When a show that's on the bubble scores a fierce guest star and utterly wastes her. Kind of like No Ordinary Family did last night.
When news broke that the live-action answer to The Incredibles had locked in Lucy Lawless for a four-episode arc, we were all like "our hero!" Not that the show is The Cape-bad — it's actually quite fun, despite two charmless kid characters — it's just that nobody is watching. You'd need Clark Kent's hearing to pick up any buzz on this one. So the hope was that maybe the flawless Lawless' stint as Mrs. X could save NOF from its villainous ratings and bring some heat to the Powells' home.
D.J. Cotrona, J.D. Williams and Natalie Martinez
Cheers to Detroit 1-8-7 for a truly brilliant — and shocking — episode.
Want more Cheers & Jeers? Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!
ABC's underrated-in-every-sense-of-the-word cop drama proved just how good it is — not just good for you — with "Stone Cold," scorchingly directed by Cadillac Records' Darnell Martin. The hour's main case...
Lesley-Ann Brandt, Spartacus
Andy Whitfield isn't the only Spartacus: Blood and Sand actor to be replaced for the second season. Lesley-Ann Brandt is also leaving the Starz series, and her role will be recast, Deadline reports.
In the prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Brandt played body slave Naevia to Lucretia (Lucy Lawless), who eventually becomes the lover of Crixus the gladiator in the original series' first season. Brandt reportedly decided not to renew her contract to appear in the second season. She just began a recurring role on CSI: NY and recently appeared on an episode of Chuck.
There's a new gladiator in town! After a long and exhaustive casting search, actor Liam McIntyre has landed the lead role in the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The 28-year-old Aussie unknown will replace fan fave Andy Whitfield, who had to withdraw from the show last year after being diagnosed for the second time with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Season 2 of the international hit starts shooting this spring, with a projected January 2012 airdate. TV Guide Magazine spoke with McIntyre, who beat out a broad and beefy contingent of Spartacus wannabes — a list that included former Prison Break star Dominic Purcell and All My Children grad Aiden Turner ...
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena rewinds the clock, resurrects a couple of dead guys and introduces two new characters who share in the gladiator-era debauchery and bloodlust.
Set approximately five years before Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the six-part prequel (premiering Friday at 10/9c on Starz) features a more youthful but no less ambitious Lentulus Batiatus (John Hannah), and his randy wife Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) as well as Gladitor Crixus (Manu Bennett) and Oenomaus (Peter Mensah). New to the story are Gannicus (Dustin Clare), a gladiator, and the merry widow Gaia (Jaime Murray), both of whom provide much of the entertainment — and trouble — in Batiatus' world before the arrival of Spartacus.
John Hannah and Dustin Clare
Rome wasn't built in a day, but Spartacus: Gods of the Arena came damn close.
This is the program Starz quickly green-lit last year when Season 2 of Spartacus: Blood and Sand had to be put on hold due to leading man Andy Whitfield's cancer diagnosis. The powers behind the hit series needed a way to maintain creative momentum and keep their cast and staff together until Blood could resume, with Whitfield's replacement, Liam McIntyre. (Production begins this spring.)
But Gods, a six-episode prequel revealing how the House of Batiatus rose to prominence in the gladiator business, is no mere time-filler. It's just as epic and freakishly compelling as the original series and — if possible — even more gruesome, decadent and scatological...
Medium (Friday, 8/7c, CBS)
After all these years, you'd have thought we'd see this coming. But after seven seasons on two networks, the series about a psychic crime solver (Emmy winner Patricia Arquette) comes to an end with a far-reaching series finale that promises closure while taking a long look into the Dubois family's future. We'll miss that funky, frazzled family, but who knows that we won't be seeing them in our dreams?
Spartacus: Blood and Sand creator Steven. S. DeKnight wants Andy Whitfield's fans to know the actor is actively fighting the disease.
"Andy of course is being very private about his condition and what he's going through with his family," DeKnight said Tuesday to discuss the prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. "It's been a little while, but the last thing I heard was that he was attacking it like a true champion. I have the utmost faith that he will...