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In a shocking move, Starz has announced this week that their biggest hit, and perhaps only one ever, will be ending next year in its fourth season. “Spartacus:: War of the Damned”, will have ten episodes and air in January 2013. The show’s showrunner, Steven DeKnight, spoke with IGN TV and gave us some reason for this very bizarre decision:
“Starz always does the unexpected. This show has been challenged, to say the least, in many, many ways. We’ve faced many difficulties and tragedies on the show. My original plan was to attack the show in a five to seven season arc. Once we got into it and after Andy’s passing and looking at the historical story of Spartacus, we came to the decision to basically end on a high note. We certainly could have continued for a few more seasons and stretched it out, but we really wanted to end high and not feel like we were treading water – and really just condense the rest of the history into one amazing ten-episode, badass final season.
You know, the whole show was a huge risk from the start for Starz, and it was another huge risk when I decided to try to keep the show going after Andy’s passing. Any normal studio would have just cancelled the show at that point and not risk the financial downside of it not working. But Starz, thankfully, really stuck by the show, and they really wanted it to be told all the way to the end. They didn’t want to cheat the viewers and just suddenly pull the plug. So they gave us this opportunity to wrap up the story, and we’re certainly taking that opportunity and running with it. This is by far the biggest season we’ve ever attempted.”
It seems like a bittersweet decision, since wrapping up all that history and the inevitable fate of most the show’s protagonists in just ten episodes sounds like a very entertaining experience, but it also feels like the show is cutting itself a little short. Of course, a show ending on a short but high-note is far better than it going on too long and running itself into the ground *cough* Dexter *cough*. It’ll be very interesting to see how Starz tries to fill the big hole left in their lineup with their MVP of a show leaving so soon. Their current lineup mainly revolves around Magic City, the fairly good but not as interesting Mad Men/Boardwalk Empire hybrid and Boss, an expertly written and acted show, but not extremely popular. The next move Starz makes could literally make or break them.