There is a lot of hype about Fall TV, and rightfully so. This Autumn has brought us some unforgettable moments by way of excellent shows, but on those days when my favorite Fall shows weren’t on, I started to catch up on the History Channel’s scripted drama, Vikings. I was super reluctant to try this show, because internet memes had led me to believe that the History Channel was to “Aliens” as the SYFY channel was to “Sharknados.” Thankfully, my husband persisted, and we fell in love from the very first episode with Ragnar Lothbrok and his fellow Vikings.
Season 3 of Vikings has just started on the History Channel, so if you’re planning to get caught up, you’d better do it fast. You will not regret binging on this stunning show. I’m completely addicted, and I’m pretty positive you will be too. There is a lot to love, but I will just cover my personal favorite elements of the show, and I’ll try my very best not to spoil anything!
1. The Writing
First and foremost, Vikings is uniquely accurate according to history. Although not much information has been thoroughly recorded about these fierce warriors of the dark ages, the History Channel and writer Michael Hirst have labored extensively to ensure that every plot decision, setting change, or unexpected twist is as historically accurate as possible. Most of the time historical dramas on television are accurate to a point, but catering to the viewers eventually trumps honesty, and so plenty of creative liberties are taken. Remember how great Spartacus was in its early seasons, and then it slowly became more and more of a naked soap opera? Yeah, I remember that too. But Vikings is different. These are real characters, that go through struggles and triumphs that actually happened. And this is what makes the show so engaging and exciting. We are on the edges of our seats, waiting to see the dark reality of Viking living play out on screen each week. Ragnar Lothbrok, Lagertha, Bjorn, and many other favorite characters were all real people, according to recorded history, and each of them led astonishingly legendary lives. At Comic-Con this year, Michael Hirst revealed that a brutal raid to Paris, one of the most famous Viking voyages of all time, will be played out in Season 3. When you watch Vikings, you are invested in the characters, and captivated by their stories, but it isn’t until the credits roll that you realize how much information you learned. Each episode is as educational as it is thrilling, and that is almost impossible for a television program to achieve on such a regular basis.
The most astonishing bit of information I learned while watching the Comic-Con interview with the cast and writer is that there really is one writer. Michael Hirst, himself, writes every episode…by HIMSELF. I cannot wrap my brain around this! Watch the first season, and just try not to be impressed with this brilliant man.
2. The Cast of Characters
Even if you are not particularly interested in learning about Viking culture, History Channel’s Vikings has something for everyone, so you still ought to give it a chance. I truly feel that the cast on this show is completely unparalleled. The acting is so superb, and the writing is so deep, that each character is individually conflicted, vulnerable, and extraordinarily tough. Even a character like Floki, who is played by the brilliant Gustaf Skarsgård, doesn’t start out with a whole lot of screen time, and is yet so complex that you just can’t keep your eyes off of him. Gustaf delivers such subtlety to a role that could easily come across as solely “quirky,” and as a result, you see a layered human and his constant struggle to pursue faithfulness to his people, despite the darkness and isolation that beckons him. Travis Fimmel plays Ragnar Lothbrok, the curious Viking who desires to set foot on new lands to the cryptic West. Fimmel is the perfect casting choice for this pensive, unpredictable protagonist. He brings such humanity to this legendary, larger-than-life character.
At Comic-Con, the cast hinted that season 3 would bring a devastating end to one of our dearer characters. They didn’t specify which character, but they did say it was painfully emotional to say goodbye. My heart probably can’t take it, but you had better believe I will be glued to the screen each Thursday in anticipation.
Now, I just cannot write about this show without mentioning my newest girl crush, Katheryn Winnick, who plays the undeniably badass Lagertha. I will refrain from spoiling any details of her amazing evolution, but I will tell you this: Lagertha starts out as a tough, independent, and yet sensitive wife and mother, and she just keeps getting more and more amazing as the series progresses. If you watch this show, you will probably love Lagertha from episode 1 all the way to the end of season 2. Hirst writes her as well as Winnick plays her. She is just one of the best female characters in television history. Winnick herself is super tough in her own right. She has been teaching martial arts since she was a teenager, and she is thrilled at every chance to kick ass as the fearless Lagertha.
4. That Theme Song, Though!
Vikings has arguably the coolest title sequence of any show ever. The sequence offers shots of Ragnar and Lagertha underwater amongst debris, and a great undershot of the iconic Viking boats while the haunting song, “If I had a Heart” by Fever Ray plays and gives us all the goose bumps ever. It is the perfect match for the show.
If you want to see the preview for season 3 of Vikings, or if you want to watch the full panel from Comic-Con, you should head over to the History Channel website (http://www.history.com/shows/vikings). New episodes air Thursdays on the History Channel. You can catch up on full episodes of past seasons on Hulu! So go get to watching!