Spartacus fans are gearing up for the show’s return to television and with it, all the controversial blood, sex and action that has made the series so provocatively popular.

“For some reason these things are still really taboo in our society,” said returning star Lucy Lawless (also known for her former hit series Xena: Warrior Princess).

“(It gives) a curiosity factor to us which I don’t mind. I remember (the hosts of NBC’s The Today Show) go ‘ooh, that’s sounds despicable’ and I say ‘yes, it is despicable, you’ve got to watch it!’”

Producers have insisted that depravity isn’t just the cornerstone of the show’s success. It’s also indicative of the immorality of the Roman period in which Spartacus: Vengeance is set and that historical detail intrigues viewers.

“We try and keep things really real because we’re doing outrageous stuff,” said Lawless. “If you make it art, we’ve lost it, you lose the tension and it just becomes a spoof. So I think what (fans) love is they can relate to these people going through experiences that none of us ever want to suffer – like in the gladiator ring – and you can live vicariously through them on this dirty, dirty roller-coaster these people are on.”

It’s not just the carnality of Spartacus: Vengeance that will have viewers curiously tuned to the show’s premiere this Sunday on The Movie Network however. After original lead actor Andy Whitfield sadly developed cancer, he gave the producers permission to give the role of Spartacus to newcomer Liam McIntyre after auditioning thousands of actors.

“We knew it would be hard because (Andy) was incandescent in the role,” admitted Lawless before addressing her new tenacious co-star. “(But) I adore (Liam). The earnestness we’re going to winkle out of him somehow but yeah, it’s that lionheartedness that will carry him through.”

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