The revelation yesterday that Starz has renewed its upcoming big-budget action-adventure series Spartacus more than a month before the first season even premieres is surely strange news in today’s skittish, canceled-before-you-launch television world. Just to break down the astounding move a bit more: Yes, we viewers have yet to see a single episode. (But, I mean, we have seen the above actor’s chest and know that Lucy Lawless is in the cast, and those two things probably would have been enough for me to sign on!) And the network has yet to see ratings or response from advertisers. And it’s certainly a huge risk to sink more money into a series that hasn’t proven itself. But Starz believed in the show so much that they’re willing to take a gamble — a nearly verboten word in the television industry — and push forward with even more episodes.

And you know what? That’s effing cool as hell.

Why? Because I know I’m not going to wind up heart-broken. I know the network isn’t going to pull the plug on the show just as soon as I become emotionally involved. But even more than that, I’m already inclined (sight unseen) to think Spartacus is a good show. Because in an industry dominated by quick-to-cancel or short-run-obsessed suits, the fact that Starz is comitted to this show is a rare vote of confidence. If the network is committed, then so I am I. It’s a long-term relationship! Let’s do this thing.

Sadly, so many great shows — like one of my faves, Privileged, which is pictured above next to Mr. Hot Chest from Spartacus — suffer from the perception that their network just wasn’t that into them. Others that come to mind: Firefly, Life, Reaper. There are zillions of others. When a viewer, like you or me, sees a show get stomped on by its network (moving its timeslot repeatedly, little or no promotion, etc.), we naturally start to lose interest. Against all odds, I stayed committed to Privileged, but the grim reaper claimed it anyway.

So kudos, in this instance, to Starz and Spartacus. I’ll be watching. PopWatchers, will you? Do you agree with me that the renewal move, while unexpected, is totally awesome?

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