I don't agree with your penultimate paragraph! It could easily work a lot better than the Sky series as I stated above. It needs the arena setting, and the right choice of Gladiators.
I think it's just because I have a special place in my mind with the original gladiators, it's weird. No one else will hold a candle to them, and I kind of want to see all of them now. But your are right, they need to get the setting right.