Monday, April 15, 2013

TV Series Review Time: Vikings

And now for something completely different. I don't normally review TV shows. Heck, I don't normally watch TV. I just started a couple months ago with some series (Breaking Bad, Arrow and The Following to name a few). And now I've started watching something that instantly caught my eye: Vikings. I mean, how can you not watch this? It's about vikings!

I was so excited just hearing the name that I didn't initially realize it was based on a real person, Ragnar Lodbrok (who apparently had a weird haircut). That just makes the series all that more inciting, knowing that it's at least partially historically accurate. I'm thankful for movies like Thor bringing vikings into the mainstream, but vikings are badass enough that stories don't have to be made up to be awesome. Actually, Thor wasn't really even about vikings.. It was a pretty cool movie though.

One of the big themes in the show is the conflicting religions of the time. The pagan vikings and the christian English. I'm probably more happy than I should be that the show has decided to showcase this. In fact, one of my favourite characters is Athelstan, a true fish out of water. His curiosity about the pagan deities and rituals is great to watch and allows the show to explain all about vikings in an organic manner. Even though the show doesn't feature them too much, I'm glad that it doesn't shy away from talking about all the gods as they were a huge part of viking culture. I wonder how religious folk would react when they found out the only recurring christian character on the show is a slave. Oh well, questions for another time.

My favourite line from the show also relates to Athelstan. It's when young Bjorn asks "If you're a priest, then which god is your favourite?", met with a bewildered reaction. It's moments like that why I enjoy the religious theme so much. Speaking of Bjorn, poor kid. I think every single character who's interacted with him has pushed him around in one way or another. Seriously, this kid is always met with someone pushing his head aside. I can't be the only one who's noticed this. And everyone calls him Bjern.

While it's true that the show doesn't have a huge budget like something akin to Game of Thrones, they've done very well for what they do have. To be honest, I was kind of worried going into the show because a low budget can lead to some pretty boring battles. In addition, there's the whole being on History channel thing that sort of limits it from being overly gory or explicit. I'm glad to see I was wrong about both things; there's tons of epic scenes and gory fun. The scenes aren't too grand since they all feature a smaller number of actors and set pieces, but this serves to make them more personal and intimate. For example, in the second episode the vikings ransacked a temple on the outskirts of England, not an entire city. But this allowed us to get a little story behind the priests and see the temple before it was lit ablaze. Plus we got Athelstan out of it!

So go, watch Vikings. It's a good show. Plus it just got renewed for a second season! Not too shabby for the "first" scripted series on History channel. But really, all you need to say is that it involves vikings and I'm sold.

-Zombie Viking


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