spartacus gannicus 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena': Meet Dustin Clare as Gannicus“Spartacus: Gods of the Arena” was initially conceived to satisfy fans of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” while star Andy Whitfield underwent cancer treatment, but the prequel series maintains a storyline fresh enough that new fans could join in on its Friday night premiere without missing any essential information.

While we’re thrilled to revisit Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) and Batiatus (John Hannah) in what Lawless refers to as their “honeymoon stage,” a host of new characters also demand our attention – and perhaps most notable is Gannicus (Dustin Clare).

Clare plays the rockstar-esque gladiator who represents a new, more ruthless House of Batiatus. The Australian actor is a relative unknown in the U.S., having several Australian series with middling success under his belt. He plays Gannicus with a bravado that somewhat echoes, without imitating, the performance of Whitfield.

All in all, it was an hour of what we’ve come to expect from “Spartacus” on Starz — namely bloody fights, unexpected sexual escapades, and cinematic imagery. Heck, the premiere even threw some drugs and defecating. (Not together.)

What’d you think of the new, revamped “Spartacus” — of course, minus the Spartacus part? Weigh in below.