Part V: Expanse and spectacle: the postmillennial revival of a genre
in TV antiquity
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This part explores the revival of serial television dramas set in the ancient world in the new millennium. Described by some scholars as the fourth wave of peplum, the revival of the genre in cinema, following the success of Gladiator (2000), was replicated by notable television productions that followed in its wake. At the same time, the emancipation of TV antiquity from its cinematic counterpart continued during this time. Apart from the unique way of telling stories in a serial format, technology now made it possible to claim even more of the spectacular elements of screen antiquity for television. Programmes such as Rome (2005–8) combined the recent tendency towards gritty realism in television with the visual splendour and spectacle of cinema. In addition, the use of choreographed ‘ultra-violence’ became more prominent, which was particularly evident in shows like STARZ Spartacus and indicated a new route for TV antiquity.

TV antiquity

Swords, sandals, blood and sand

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