Bits and bytes from cable side

Two popular genre shows have now been reincarnated

Two popular genre shows have now been reincarnated, snatched back from the edge of oblivion by admirably inventive means.

When the illness of title star Andy Whitfield threatened to shut down Spartacus for good, its creators kept the show going by flashing back five years for a six-part prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. With Whitfield now permanently sidelined, a full second season will then pick up the current storyline with a recast lead.

Not only is the show still alive and kicking, but so is co-star Lucy Lawless, despite her having been mortally wounded at the end of Season1.

“Just a little poke in the tummy,” Lawless laughs. “Put a poultice on it, she’ll be all right.” “I remember when we made that decision,” adds series co-creator Steven S. DeKnight. “ I got a call from Rob (Tapert) saying, you know, (originating network) Starz really loves John (Hannah) and Lucy, as did we all. John obviously got his head almost completely severed (at the end), so . . .

“It wasn’t that bad,” protests Hannah. “I could survive.”

Apparently not. But Lawless’s Lucretia remained, if perforated, more or less intact. And thus, once she’s healed , will be hale and hearty enough to resume her scheming solo in Season 2.

“What we have planned for Lucretia in Season 2 makes Season1 and the prequel pale in comparison,” says DeKnight.

“And that makes me pale,” confesses Lawless.

“The writers have come up with some incredibly twisty, gnarly stuff. My head nearly exploded several times. But it’s been the greatest job, the most complex, rewarding job in my life.”