The seas are about to get a bit rougher as Black Sails prepares to embark on its second 10 episode season in 2015 on Starz. The show will debut on Saturday January 24th at 9PM ET/PT with Captain Flint and his men at the limit as they sit stranded with Spanish soldiers blocking them from their Urca gold. Their betrayals no longer a secret and an alliance being the one thing that can help them avoid certain defeat. It’s certainly going to be a heavy dose of narrative given everything that’s up in the air so we’ll just need to keep an eye out for the teasers to see how it might all pan out.
“Black Sails” season one set a STARZ viewership record for a debuting STARZ Original series during its opening weekend in January 2014, established an average of 5.3 million viewers per episode*, and is distributed in about 130 countries and territories worldwide. Starz also released a first look teaser image from season two, inspired by the Emmy®-nominated main title design.
Season two begins where we left off—The Walrus crew is stranded, with an army of Spanish soldiers standing between them and the precious Urca gold. And with their crimes against their brethren no longer a secret, Flint (Toby Stephens) and Silver (Luke Arnold) must join forces in a desperate bid for survival. Meanwhile, Eleanor Guthrie (Hannah New) struggles to maintain her grip on Nassau, as a new breed of pirate arrives in the form of Ned Low (Tadgh Murphy), a man for whom violence isn’t just a tool … it’s a pastime. As blood is spilled, and tensions mount, Charles Vane (Zach McGowan) must decide which he values more: Eleanor’s life, or the respect of his men. And unbeknownst to all of them, a prize of immeasurable value has already been smuggled onto the island … one whose discovery will alter the very landscape of their world, and force everyone in Nassau toward the ultimate judgment: are they men, or are they monsters?
This year Starz will present the highly anticipated new series “Outlander,” based on Diana Gabaldon bestselling novels will have a panel at San Diego Comic Con 2014.
“Outlander” spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history, and adventure in one epic tale. It follows the story of Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a married combat nurse from 1945, who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743. Upon her arrival, she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited and Claire’s heart is torn between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
“Outlander” premieres Saturday, August 9 at 9:00 pm ET/PT exclusively on STARZ and is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Company and Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures Television.
“Outlander” Online: For more information, go to the official Outlander Facebook Page and follow @Outlander_Starz on Twitter and Instagram. Join the conversation with #Outlander and #STARZ.
WHAT: Starz’ Official San Diego Comic Con 2014 panel: From “Outlander:” Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore, Author Diana Gabaldon, and cast including Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Graham McTavish and Lotte Verbeek
WHEN: Panel on Friday, July 25th from 2:15 – 3:15 in room 6A
The pirate adventure centers on the tales of Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) and his men and takes place twenty years prior to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Treasure Island.” Flint, the most brilliant and most feared pirate captain of his day, takes on a fast-talking young addition to his crew who goes by the name John Silver (Luke Arnold). Threatened with extinction on all sides, they fight for the survival of New Providence Island, the most notorious criminal haven of its day – a debauched paradise teeming with pirates, prostitutes, thieves and fortune seekers, a place defined by both its enlightened ideals and its stunning brutality.
The series also stars Zach McGowan (“Shameless”) as rival Captain Charles Vane; Toby Schmitz as Rackham, Vane’s right hand; Hannah New as Eleanor Guthrie, a determined young woman who runs the smuggling operation on New Providence; Jessica Parker Kennedy as Max, a tortured young prostitute who sees the dark side of New Providence; Clara Paget as the beautiful but cold-blooded Anne Bonny and Tom Hopper (“Merlin”) as Billy Bones, boatswain of Flint’s ship.
“Black Sails” is executive produced by Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor) and his Platinum Dunes partners Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, producers on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) and Nightmare on Elm Street (2009). The series was created by showrunner and executive producer Jon Steinberg (creator “Jericho,” “Human Target”) and co-executive producer Robert Levine (“Touch”). It is currently filming in Cape Town, South Africa.
“Black Sails” will debut with an eight-episode season in January 2014, exclusively on STARZ.
Starz Chief Executive Officer, Chris Albrecht, announced a second season order for the STARZ Original series, “Da Vinci’s Demons,”following its recent record-setting first season weekend debut on STARZ on Friday, April 12. The historical fantasy created by David S. Goyer and produced by Adjacent Productions, follows the ‘untold’ story of the world’s greatest genius, Leonardo da Vinci, during his turbulent youth in Renaissance Florence. More than 2.14 million total viewers tuned-in opening weekend to “Da Vinci’s Demons,” making it the highest-rated premiere weekend ever for a STARZ Original series.
Production of season two of “Da Vinci’s Demons” is expected to begin in Wales in May 2013, with an on-air return expected on STARZ in 2014.
“’Da Vinci’s Demons’ serves up action, adventure and history in a unique and highly entertaining way that only someone like David S. Goyer can,” said Albrecht. “The first season premiered to strong audience engagement and we are excited to bring the next chapter of Leonardo da Vinci’s adventures to audiences around the world.”
“I’m excited that we get to continue the adventures of the world’s most eccentric and glorious polymath. Long live Leonardo and thanks to Starz for helping to make it happen,” said Goyer.
Jane Tranter, Executive Producer of “Da Vinci’s Demons” and Head of Adjacent Productions, commented, “’Da Vinci’s Demons’ has been a great passion project for us and it has been a privilege to work with Chris, Carmi and their terrific team at Starz, and with the creative vision of David S. Goyer. We’re excited to continue this journey for another season and to bring the genius, passion and adventure of Goyer’s Leonardo da Vinci to viewers around the world.”
Outside of the United States and English-speaking Canada, “Da Vinci’s Demons” is distributed internationally by BBC Worldwide. Fox International Channels (FIC) acquired the first season of the series and premiered it to audiences in 120 countries in Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa following Starz’s exclusive premiere in the U.S. on April 12th.
Brilliant and passionate, 25-year-old Leonardo da Vinci is an artist, inventor, swordsman, lover, dreamer and idealist. As a free thinker, with intellect and talents that are almost superhuman, he struggles to live within the confines of his own reality and time. He begins to not only see the future, but invent it.
“Da Vinci’s Demons” stars Tom Riley, who has received wide critical acclaim in the UK for his performances in theater, film and on television and was nominated by the Drama Desk Awards for his performance in the 2011 Tony® Award nominated Broadway play, “Arcadia.” Riley’s co-stars include Laura Haddock (The Inbetweeners Movie, “Honest,” Captain America: The First Avenger) who plays the celebrated beauty, Lucrezia Donati; Elliot Cowan (“Marchlands,” “The Fixer,” “Lost in Austen”) who plays the shrewd de factor ruler of Florence, Lorenzo Medici; Lara Pulver (“True Blood,” “Sherlock,” “Robin Hood”), who plays his wife Clarice Orsini; and Blake Ritson (Serena, “Upstairs Downstairs”) plays the ruthless and unwavering Count Girolamo Riario, nephew of Pope Sixtus IV.
Goyer, who serves as showrunner and directed the first two episodes of the first season, is co-writer of The Dark Knight Trilogy and screenwriter of the highly anticipated Man of Steel premiering June 2013. Goyer’s additional credits include serving as a script consultant and story developer for “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” and “Black Ops II”, the most successful video game franchise of all time. Julie Gardner is Executive Producer, along with Adjacent Productions’ Head, Jane Tranter. Tranter and Gardner have been responsible for a plethora of titles in their careers including “Doctor Who,” “Torchwood,” “Little Dorrit,” “Bleak House,” “Girl in a Café,” “Ashes to Ashes” and “State of Play.”
The final episode for Spartacus: Vengeance is here, the temple has been raided and the slaves went on the run, pushed up to high to the mountains and stuck to starve this is their great battle for survival. Wrath of the Gods wastes no time bringing the tensions and stress of the group to the forefront. It is here the slaves make their final battle, clashing and starved and desperate to see light through this conflict and the entire season comes to a single head.
For Spartacus this episode is everything, moved from their camp and food and drink they hold up on the mountain holding a high ground and narrow path advantage over the Romans. Unrest is settling in and the fate of the people is grim at best, they rest in the winds and storms with small fires to keep warm but lack any additional comforts in their lives. It’s only expected the group would eventually snap and seek their own fate instead of being left to die on a barren hill, in their moment of conflict the first of many turning points hits his group. and the war begins.
The Romans fare no better, Ashur and his band of killers still rub the Roman soldiers with worries, their heightened status above the rest of the men continue to drive ill feelings between the soldiers. Such attitude is his downfall though, arrogant and dreaming about the world post-battle he embeds himself with no doubt about victory. Ilithiya and Lucretia have other plans for him though, setting him up for a challenge that even serpents tongue might not be able to escape and that which sets up his final task on the stage.
Unfortunately for Glaber, this decision while it seems to go into his favor, goes completely against him. Instead of stirring unrest and a breakdown in the ranks of the slaves, it gives new light and alliance. It also brings about the fire that was almost extinguished while sitting in the winds and gives a bloodthirsty new life to the group. Fans of Ashur if such a thing exists, this is a heart breaking moment to come, for the rest of the population, you can expect retribution in the most violent of ways. Ashur marks the start to the second half of this war and the real battle begins.
The Romans face their next move from Glaber, sacrifice and be victorious, storm the gates or in this case the mountain and rise to victory. On the other side, Ilithiya faces her task assigned, dispose of the corruption and evil that only Lucretia knows of , little does she know that this task and return to the house will prove to be an experience she can never forget or live down. An heir awaits, the storm is closing in madness rises throughout the land.
The final act of this episode is one that everyone has been waiting for, a clash of sides in the battle for freedom, in a moments notice the tide shifts, the slaves and Romans clash in battle, and the battle begins. Glaber sees that even in his most well fortified moments that anything can happen and the final battle begins. It’s takes up almost 14 minutes of the episode and it’s as ruthless as it gets. We see favorites embrace combat and tragic moments strike, the final section of this series comes to a close with as much intensity as they can bring to it. Lucretia, Ilithiya, Glaber, Spartacus and so many more bring their own ends to this arc of vengeance.
Visually this episode rises to their limit in Vengeance, capturing the right moods and moments with lighting, CG and while slow motion may feel overused it tells very specific moments in this episode especially in the final battle. It’s not the best but given how much they had to accomplish it’s up to par. Lucretia captures many moments from the lighting and drama in her scenes built up by the camera team.
We say goodbye to many characters in this episode, their ends are highlighted and mourned in the heat of battle and struggle though.
Mira – Met with an axe to her chest and shoulder, trying to provide ranged protection as Spartacus rescues troubled deserters. Her death is almost immediate as they reach the hill again.
Ashur – Slain by Naevia, a slash to his manhood sees him to his knees, a brutal rage filled hack-a-thon takes his head from his shoulders.
Oenomaus – Meets his end with the Egyptian, a powerful duo attack with Gannicus struggles to take down the giant
The Egyptian – Gannicus goes into what can only be seen as a complete rage, he fights in a way unseen and ends him for good.
Lucretia – Determined to lift the curse upon her house she sacrifices herself over the legendary cliff with another
Ilithiyas Child – Also lost as sacrifice to all the evil done in the house by Ilithiya, Glaber, Lucretia, Batiatus and Spartacus, the boy falls in Lucretia’s hands as she falls to her death.
The servants of the house of Batiatus – Lucretia takes them with her on a knifing spree
Glaber’s army – decimated entirely by fire and steel, no one is left to tell the tale not even the henchmen Ashur recruited.
Glaber – given death by Spartacus, his fight is desperate and weak but his end is epic, his end marks the next chapter of the story, they are no longer rebels or slaves, they are an army to rise against the empire.
Spartacus weighed his hardest decision last episode, leaving Ilithiya and his possible son to live or cutting her down as retribution. While he picked the noble path for himself it was one he would later regret as Glaber was all but noble in his effort to recover his wife and child. Maybe it was the whole new relationship with Seppia but it was quite a creep move. We see things push forward in Monsters and get a deeper darkness right from the start.
Spartacus starts off the mix disturbing his own people to the harsh reality they live in. Setting them on high alert in a trauma inducing test, no lives are lost but humiliation runs high, the trio are set to bring their people to readiness for the war they’re stepping into and push them out of the calm they’ve been resting in. Unfortunately even Spartacus is questioned when stirring up a storm this large within his own party, defending himself for his choice to free Ilithiya as higher action over the Roman opposition.
His decision rings through on both sides though, the Romans are shaken by Ilithiya’s return, although the one hit the hardest is Ilithiya herself, stumbling and dazed she returns to what she thought as her home. She finds this place though, it is far from a place of comfort or welcome for her, instead it’s simply a conduit to play house while Glaber sets his pursuits in war and his own personal desires. There is some hope at least, Lucretia plays a friend to Ilithiya and offers support, although even she steps back when Ilithiya breaks the news of the truth to the child and only one can wonder what is going to become of such information.
While Ilithiya wishes the light to hit Seppia, Lucretia also enlightens her that she already knows a deeper truth to it all. With that, well a new plan is already underway from the duo to bring the suppressed rage to a boil and out into some level of retribution or downfall to Glaber for his evil in striking down Seppius. The whole affair is quite a mix as an old face comes into the company of the group and shakes Glaber to his core with troubling news from Rome. The man takes the one thing dearest to Glaber and sweeps it away setting up a massive finale to come.
The episode is a mix of social development and drama, we see Seppia struggle to establish her worries as such a young girl in a world of corruption and authority. Without sufficient cause to prove anything she can only stumble and fall learning the harsh ways of the world and find the end she wishes.
Spartacus faces the same to greater reward from his own people, putting them to the test in combat and alliance, to find their resolution so strong that they can rest easy about the horrible battles to come forward as the Romans set to close in on them. It’s a brutal world coming up and we see the darkness roll in throughout the episode.
If the show seemed to be dark before, it holds nothing to the plague of evil that develops in this episode, to top all of that off the slaves are set to their ultimate test that sets up the final episode of this series with only madness ahead and the eyes of Rome fixed solely upon them from this point on. If you’ve been waiting for the show to sink into the depths, if you’ve wanted harsh and hard battles in your face, it’s safe to say that Monsters does this and it does it so well it drives a desire to know what this final episode will bring in Wrath of the Gods for the Vengeance series.
Visually some of the episode could have been done better, it’s understandable as they break out into the open across so many locations that cutbacks might be needed. Unfortunately having some wounds look like a bottle of tempera paint is shooting out doesn’t quite get it done and tends to pull away from the immersion, given they’ve managed to get this aspect right so many times before it’s a bit of a shock to see issues with blood still going on for the team. They nailed this quite a few times this season so it’s a wonder how they can’t keep it consistent, hopefully the teams can get this settled soon as it breaks the sense of action when you’re able to question if someone got their neck cut or if a bucket of paint exploded. It’s one of the few areas slamming this season down for quality as the rest tends to feel seamless.
WonderCon or not we’re still pushing forward with new content this weekend, we’re dropping the latest impressions from the new episode of Spartacus Vengeance last night.
After the hell in their current home has subsided we get a new development for Spartacus and the followers, unfortunately it’s not as pleasant as they might wish for given the hell fire it carries.We left off with Gannicus needing to reach a decision in this personal war that he could be satisfied with, we’re left to assume he killed Ilithiya or took her as hostage as his watcher is left sliced up and shoved in the carriage that transported Ilithiya.
The story for the escaped slaves obviously takes the spotlight for the duration of Balance, Spartacus tries to come to terms with the situation and the revelation brought to him. All the thoughts and rage at the passing of his wife cloud his mind and even those who know his story, everyone wants to see proper retribution and Ilithiya becomes prime target on how to get this done, well until that twist I mentioned. After it comes forward Spartacus is at odds with himself and what he really wants out of this mess, unfortunately any resolution is met with criticism on all sides and even his twist to turn it to their advantage carries mass speculation on its potential success.
For the Romans they’re at a standstill for progression, Glaber makes his wife key priority even as Seppia attempts to derail his efforts and even Ashur has to take a step back as one of his key recruits was slain without effort. Seppia has many issues though, her new love for Glaber takes priority over all things and blocks Lucretia from being the sage to her that she once was, leaving only more extreme measures at her disposal to get her back into check. For Lucretia this loosening grip on the group leaves her to bring in outsiders through her own methods, with mention of targeting Varinius yet again. Her goal is a simple one, level the playing field that has been stacked so hard against her with the rise in status to Ashur and decline in trust from Glaber after pursuits of Spartacus fail to show fruit.
The episode itself is a huge turning point to the series, we see the desperation of Glaber versus the newly resolved Spartacus. The tables turn between these rivals and we see it clearly in the final minutes of Balance, we also see the enormous gap that gets established as well, no matter how far Glaber goes into the darkness he will lack the favor and loyalty he needs in such a crucial time. I would love to go on with this but it’s an episode that needs to be experienced.
Visually the quality of the episode stays true, without much violence there isn’t much to be said for the technical features directly in this episode. The scenes have drawn back inside after such a period of adventuring. Although this episode does feel like the calm before the storm so we might still be rewarded with something more given all the new recruits and how this chapter concludes.
Spartacus fans rejoice! First, a Season 3 is coming which is a relief given how far this story has spun so far in Season 2. Now take a breath, Ceasar is coming to Spartacus next season and Marcus Crassus the general who battled the slave revolt by Spartacus. All of what we know in the series so far pales in comparison to the onslaught coming in the future, we can only hold tight and wait for the real intensity to flare up.
The back story as it pertains to the storyline we know currently:
Gaius Julius Caesar is a handsome young rogue from an esteemed lineage. His deadly intelligence and skill with a sword will be brought to bear against the rebellion. And Caesar will begin his ascent towards the all-powerful ruler he will one day become.
Marcus Licinius Crassus is the richest man in the Roman Republic. Envied and despised by the highborn among the senate, he craves the power and respect that defeating Spartacus and his rebel army would bring.
There’s no further word on Season 3 at this point outside of these character announcements but we expect to see more as the convention season goes into full swing with WonderCon this week. Keep checking back for our reviews and information for Spartacus from Starz
Spartacus has tipped into the second half of the season, so far we’ve seen factions develop, key characters perish and a huge boost in armies from Glaber and Spartacus as they get ready to wage war on each other. It’s been a rough ride as tragedy and huge losses set back both sides, today though we get some movement and kick this show toward a heated wrap up.
Argon leads a small party to their first major group expansion, no longer picking up small numbers to their cause, they hit their first strike of slaves destined for the arena who have their own desire for Roman blood. There are doubts that quickly rise up but they’re set aside for the simple fact that their group has just gained a massive increase. As they return to camp it’s a mixed reaction of enthusiasm and speculation on where this could lead the group, the story lays this skepticism on a bit thick leaving you just to wait for something to pop up.
Gannicus is left to fend for himself after leaving Spartacus, wandering back to the streets to seek payment and wine to fuel his guilt and inner struggles. His weakness strikes a critical blow as those in the city become aware of him after the games. With many thinking him dead it’s odd that he pops up unharmed days later from the aftermath when surely he would have been noticed before. Unfortunately too many put this together and seek to put him back into chains similar to those that held him bound to the empire before. While he may be free, he fails to realize there’s a greater cost to it than the lives that he took to earn it. His struggle brings him to his own resolve finally and it will shape the tide of battle greatly.
The Romans aren’t sitting idle either, Glaber’s recent adventures in murder bring another shift to the group as no one is the wiser to Seppius being murdered by his new recruits. Glaber quickly merges the men of Seppius into his own fleet to form a new brigade hoping to hunt the rebels like dogs, selling the murder of Seppius as a betrayal by his own slaves in the name of Spartacus. As a result he also goes on a crucifixion spree for anyone who utters the name of Spartacus, making example of his own servant woman in front of the whole crowd.
Ilithiya takes distress at this news, she also fears for herself being stuck by the side of Glaber in all of this, it doesn’t take long for her to seek aid with Lucretia to form a plan for them to leave. Unfortunately Asher’s encounter with Lucretia before was not a single affair and has kept itself going since the story left off, as a result the duo are focused on a similar objective again. Desperate planning strikes Glaber in one of his few vulnerabilities anymore and just as the pair look to brighter paths… Ashur sweeps one of them back into the fold.
Overall Sacramentum brings continued back story to the characters, much of it centering around Gannicus and his own struggle for where his own loyalty rests. We also see some of the darker sides of everyone in this show and realize that Agron’s people while not Gauls have their own share of problems they bring to the table and should not just win rapid favor. Spartacus Vengeance goes to a whole new level in many ways with episode 7 including a level of violence that had me at a pause. Is it too much? It’s hard to say but the single act tells everyone who they should absolutely not mess with.
The arena has fallen and Spartacus drives a crucial blow to the morale of the Roman people, the freed slaves have hit a crucial turning point in their battle that sets them as larger targets to the empire. All is not so simple though, Oenomaus has taken critical injuries during the collapse of the arena and rests at the will of the gods for his survival back at camp. Crixus and Naevia are reunited but it’s only the beginning of a very long road for them, just as their stories seem to all be gathering back together we see it’s only the start of another long road for everyone.
The Romans have their internal problems to sort out, a failed attempt to capture Spartacus brings stress upon Glaber but just as frustration begins to cloud his mind, Ashur has another plan to aid him and show the downfall of his men in a brutal fashion. The miracle worker for Batiatus is in his groove and pushing to do anything he can to rise from captured slave to loyal aid to the empire no matter the cost is to him or anyone else. Glaber doesn’t end there for story, triumphant over Ilithiya he sets the tone for her conduct from this point on and her dear Varinius is nowhere to be found, in fact he’s speeding back to Rome after the flop of the games and change of events.
Glaber finds himself at odds on many fronts including how to build his next pursuit against Spartacus, with ultimate control falling into his hands after the passing of Ilithiya’s father he takes it upon himself to force his will on those who hesitate to support including the often mocking Seppius. With Ashur at his side now, you can bet that things will only get ugly under their shared domination and pursuits of anything they wish. Even Lucretia learns this as her role fades with importance and her plan ties her into the mess with Ilithiya, falling behind the rising Ashur who manages to crawl ahead at every opening.
The story isn’t all about the Romans, Spartacus faces his own challenges as his group struggles to figure out their next plan as a group, the loses they encountered and the pessimistic tongue of Gannicus start to eat away at the group. Crixus and Naevia become a central point as they struggle with their first real encounter with each other after her enslavement and passing to the caves, it’s a hard adjustment for the couple that rings through each scene. The trouble with their group grows as a traitor emerges and sets off a battle that could be the end of their group in a single sweep, just as quickly as it begins we see Mira bring a close to save the sanity of everyone and protect the one she cares dearest for.
Chosen Path for Spartacus: Vengeance is a plot heavy episode, they’re putting a lot of the fractured stories back into a tighter box again, Lucretia and Ashur are no longer side stories, in fact they’re very much at odds with each other now and it will likely only get more heated given the actions of this episode. We see Glaber and Ilithiya taking a huge shift in momentum as the removal of Varinius and her father leave her relatively helpless, instead of being steps ahead of Glaber she’s completely without support now or any friends that could help. Some of that loneliness could have probably been avoided had she not thrown them as fodder to the Gladiator rebellion and bashed one of their skulls in though, it’s not likely she was thinking that far ahead. Spartacus and group face their next challenge to move forward with emotionally charged issues passing through key members and distrust shocking the entire party.
If you haven’t caught up yet, I’d suggest doing so now, the second half of the season arc is about to launch and it looks to be quite a violent and complicated one. Thankfully Starz airs the show quite a bit even during the day of the next episode.