Starz has ordered a second season of its effects-heavy sword-and-sandals epic "Spartacus." Now the premium cable network just has to get around to premiering the first season.
 
The first season of "Spartacus," with the full title "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," will premiere on Starz on Friday, January 22 at 10 p.m. ET. The second season, tentatively titled [spoiler alert!] "Spartacus: Vengeance" will begin production on 13 new episodes in the first quarter of 2010.
 
"We couldn't be happier with the first season. 'Spartacus' delivers on all levels -- action, characters, intrigue, romance and excitement," states Starz Entertainment EVP, Programming, Stephan Shelanski. "'Spartacus' is the most ambitious original project we've ever undertaken, and speaks to the commitment to our subscribers to provide truly original programming along with our unmatched lineup of theatrical features."
 
The series stars Andy Whitfield as slave-turned-gladiator Spartacus, with Lucy Lawless, John Hannah and Peter Mensah also starring.
 
Steven S. DeKnight served as head writer on the series, which was shot "300"-style, using virtual environments. Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Joshua Donen executive produced the New Zealand-based production.
 
"Steven S. DeKnight and his team of writers have created a rich narrative that lays the groundwork for more great stories," adds Tapert in the Staz statement. "The slave rebellion led by Spartacus and the oh-so-current political intrigue and personal dynamics laid out in the first season provide rich source material for the second season and beyond."