History Channel pillages, plunders and perplexes with new miniseries
The History Channel briefly steps away from its reality-based documentary programming with its newest drama series, “Vikings.” The series, which is produced by MGM television, was created by writer/producer Michael Hirst, whose credits include HBO’s “The Tudors” and the historical drama “Elizabeth.”
The show’s plot is based on the saga of King Ragnar Lodbrok, a popular Norse hero rumored to be a direct descendant of the Norse god Odin. Lodbrok was a legendary commander who sailed southward from Scandinavia in 845 CE and led many raids into France and England — so many raids, in fact, that he became known as the “Scourge of France and England.”
The series is shot on location in Ireland and its cast is made up of relatively unknown actors (aside from Gabriel Byrne, who plays Lord Jarl Haraldson). But the status of the actors’ notoriety doesn’t affect the drama of “Vikings,” especially since they do an amazing job of bringing the saga to life. The show is also shot in a visceral style that draws the viewer into the story, the locations and scenes creating a genuine experience of legendary events.
“Vikings” is provocative, gritty and interesting with the right amount of violence and gore. Each episode is 45 minutes long, leaving the viewer craving more. Many critics are already pouring on the praise, with International Business Times stating that many already see “Vikings” as “ the next “Game Of Thrones.” The Hollywood Reporter also says the program lives up to lofty expectations, and The Washington Post proclaims it to be “an adroit and even elegant surprise.”
The series may play loosely with the facts, but it certainly delivers on entertainment. This program could easily mark a turning point in the History Channel’s programming, changing the way people look at the network. and securing the long-covered male demographic since it represents a welcome break in style. It has all the right elements: a good story, strong acting, and excellent cinematography. All in all, “Vikings” is television drama at its best.