One Of The Best Shows Ever Made Lands On Netflix Today For The Very First Time

by 24britishtvMarch 31, 2024, 4:20 a.m. 22
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One of my favorite shows sails onto Netflix today. The historical drama Vikings will invade the streaming giant for the first time Saturday, ready to pillage and burn its way onto your TV screen. You should watch it.

I reviewed this series for years, and while it does go downhill (and has a bit of a bumpy start) it remains one of my all-time favorites. When it was at its peak, it was a truly excellent story of family, betrayal, war and politicking. I was watching it at the same time as Game Of Thrones, and at times thought Vikings was even better than HBO’s epic fantasy.

Vikings began its life on the History channel before moving to Amazon Prime Video. Now it’s on Netflix, and will hopefully gain even more of a following. I started reviewing this series in Season 3. I may need to do a rewatch and review the first two seasons as well—time permitting, of course.

The story follows Ragnar Lothbrok, played by Travis Fimmel in a career-defining role. I get the feeling that Fimmel inhabited Ragnar so completely that he was never quite the same afterwards. Ragnar is a warrior and a dreamer. He wants to sail West and find new lands to settle (and invade). There are many obstacles in his path, including Earl Haraldson (played by a badly miscast Gabriel Byrne—the one real casting SNAFU in the series).

Ragnar and his wife, Lagertha—played wonderfully by Katheryn Winnick—have one child, Bjorn (played by Alexander Ludwig when he grows up). Ragnar’s brother, Rollo (Clive Standen) is at once a stalwart companion and somewhat jealous of the long shadow Ragnar casts. They’re joined by Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard), a mischievous ship-builder and his wife Helga (Maude Hirst) and her IRL sister Torvi (Georgia Hirst, both daughters of the showrunner). Along the way, many more characters enter—and exit—the series, including the delightful King Ecbert (Linus Roache) one of the Saxon rulers the vikings have to contend with.

I don’t want to spoil more than that. It’s a tremendous series filled with incredible stories and characters, epic battles and plenty of deceit. It takes many, many liberties with historical accuracy, condensing some Norse history into a shorter timeline, but it’s all done so incredibly well that I never minded. The series does go downhill significantly toward the end, but I still watched it all the way through and I’m glad I did. The series finale, at least, was quite good. Don’t let that warning keep you away from Vikings, however. It’s definitely worth your time.

Netflix created the sequel series Vikings: Valhalla which debuted back in 2022. I admit, the first episode did not impress me and I didn’t come back. I suppose I might have been a tad bit burnt out on Viking stuff at that point. I may have to give it another shot. But while critics seemed to like it, fans were much more divided. The historical inaccuracies were even more glaring (there were no black female jarls in 11th century Scandinavia; the original show managed to include some diversity without outright fabricating this kind of thing) and I personally found all the toasting to Ragnar and Lagertha and other characters a century dead to be kind of silly.

Gone, too, was the writer and showrunner, Michael Hirst, who I may not always have agreed with—and who I wish would have made better choices!—but who gave the series its very distinct feel.

A Netflix show about vikings and saxons was The Last Kingdom, which had its flaws but was really quite good—other than the terrible sequel film that should never, ever have been made.

Here’s the trailer for Season 1 of Vikings:

Check out everything else new to stream this weekend in my latest streaming guide.

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