Swords, sweat and sex.

That heady mix saturates "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," the epic drama premiering Jan. 22 on Starz.

The cable network's epic based on the life of the slave-turned-gladiator-turned-rebel-against-Rome, Spartacus (Andy Whitfield), leads the pack of mid-season TV shows that are heavy on thrills, chills and heart-pounding action.

"It's hardcore, man," star Lucy Lawless said at Comic-Con last summer.

She should know. The former "Battlestar Galactica" co-star slashed her way to fame in the 1990s wielding sword and chakram as "Xena: Warrior Princess."

"Spartacus" isn't for the faint of heart. A cross between HBO's sexy "Rome" and the films "300" and "Gladiator," it delivers bold action both in the Coliseum and between the sheets.

"I'm pretty sure you haven't seen anything like this before on TV," writer and exec producer Steven S. DeKnight said.

Lawless cold-blooded Lucretia crosses paths with Spartacus, a Thracian soldier sold into slavery, when he is bought buy her husband to be molded into a money-making gladiator. Spartacus fights to survive so he can find his wife and free her from slavery. Lawless remembers her fighting skills from "Xena," but she won't be using them. Lucretia's more sexy schemer than battle-hardened warrior princess.

"I get some action, buddy," she told a fan at Comic-Con, it's just in the bedroom. "I don't like Spartacus, but I sure like the other gladiators."

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News submitted by Barbara Davies