'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena': Meet Dustin Clare as Gannicus

spartacus-gannicus.jpg "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.
Photo/Video credit: Starz