After the untimely passing of star Andy Whitfield, the "Spartacus" franchise seemed destined to fail. How could anyone replace Whitfield's soulful, touching portrayal of slave-turned-gladiator-turned-rebel leader against Rome? Well, no one did. Rather than imitate Whitfield, Liam McIntyre put his own spin on Sparty, which fit perfectly into the show's new direction as the action moved out of the Ludus/gladiator arenas and into a world now at war. Steven S. DeKnight and his writing team expertly combined riveting action, graphic sexuality with character-driven drama, showing no wimpiness—much like the characters they wrote. They saved nothing for another season, serving only the story. And no matter how gory or disturbing or absolutely nuts that story got, it all made sense in the brutal world of Spartacus.