Vikings (TV series)

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Vikings
Vikings logo.png
GenreHistorical drama
Created byMichael Hirst
Starring
Opening theme"If I Had a Heart" by Fever Ray
Composer(s)
[1]
Country of originCanada and Ireland[2]
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes19 (10 aired) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Michael Hirst
  • Morgan O'Sullivan
  • John Weber
  • Sherry Marsh
  • Alan Gasmer
  • James Flynn
  • Sheila Hockin
Producer(s)
  • Eliza Mellor
  • Steve Wakefield
Running time45 min.
DistributorMGM Television
Broadcast
Original channelHistory
Original runMarch 3, 2013 (2013-03-03) – present
External links
Official website
 
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Vikings
Vikings logo.png
GenreHistorical drama
Created byMichael Hirst
Starring
Opening theme"If I Had a Heart" by Fever Ray
Composer(s)
[1]
Country of originCanada and Ireland[2]
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes19 (10 aired) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Michael Hirst
  • Morgan O'Sullivan
  • John Weber
  • Sherry Marsh
  • Alan Gasmer
  • James Flynn
  • Sheila Hockin
Producer(s)
  • Eliza Mellor
  • Steve Wakefield
Running time45 min.
DistributorMGM Television
Broadcast
Original channelHistory
Original runMarch 3, 2013 (2013-03-03) – present
External links
Official website

Vikings is a Canadian-Irish historical drama television series,[3] written and created by Michael Hirst for the television channel History.[2] It premiered on March 3, 2013 in the United States and Canada.

Filmed in Ireland, Vikings is inspired by the tales about the Viking Ragnar Lodbrok, one of the best-known Norse heroes and notorious as the scourge of France and England. It portrays Ragnar as a Viking farmer who pioneers the first daring raids into England with the support of fellow warriors, his brother Rollo, and his wife, the shieldmaiden Lagertha.

On April 5, 2013, History renewed Vikings for a ten-episode second season,[4] set to be aired on February 27, 2014.[5][6]

Plot[edit]

The series is inspired by the tales of the raiding, trading, and exploring Norsemen of early medieval Scandinavia. It follows the exploits of the legendary Viking chieftain Ragnar Lodbrok and his crew and family, as notably laid down in the 13th century sagas Ragnars saga Loðbrókar and Ragnarssona þáttr, as well as in Saxo Grammaticus's 12th century work Gesta Danorum. Norse legendary sagas were partially fictional tales based in Norse oral tradition, written down about 200 to 400 years after the events they describe. Further inspiration is taken from historical sources of the period, such as records of the Viking raid on Lindisfarne depicted in the second episode, or Ahmad ibn Fadlan's 10th-century account of the Volga Vikings. The series is set at the beginning of the Viking Age, marked by the Lindisfarne raid in 793.

The first season portrays Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) as a young Viking warrior who longs to discover civilizations across the seas. With his friend, the gifted craftsman Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård), he builds a new generation of faster longships and challenges the local ruler, Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne), a man of little vision, to allow raids into unexplored North East England. He is supported by his brother Rollo (Clive Standen), who secretly covets Ragnar's wife, the shieldmaiden Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick). Ragnar succeeds in carrying out the first Viking raids into the English kingdom of Northumbria, returning with rich loot and the monk Athelstan (George Blagden) as a slave. This not only earns him the enmity of King Aelle (Ivan Kaye), but triggers a series of increasingly violent confrontations at home with the autocratic Earl, ending with Ragnar killing and succeeding him. Ragnar pledges fealty to King Horik (Donal Logue) and represents him in negotiations about a land dispute with Jarl Borg from Götaland (Thorbjørn Harr), in the course of which he is seduced by the princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland).

Cast[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]

Production[edit]

An Irish-Canadian co-production, Vikings was developed and produced by Octagon Films and Take 5 Productions.[2] Michael Hirst, Morgan O'Sullivan, John Weber, Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer, James Flynn and Sheila Hockin are credited as executive producers.[2] The first season's budget has been reported as $40 million USD.[12]

The series began filming in July 2012 at Ashford Studios, a newly built studio facility in Ireland,[13] chosen as a location for its tax advantages.[12] On August 16, 2012, longship scenes were filmed at Luggala, in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains.[14] 70 percent of the first season was filmed outdoors.[12] Some additional background shots were done in Western Norway.

Johan Renck,[15] Ciarán Donnelly and Ken Girotti each directed three episodes.[16] The production team includes cinematographer John Bartley,[17] costume designer Joan Bergin, production designer Tom Conroy, and composer Trevor Morris.

According to actor Clive Standen (Rollo), future seasons may feature characters such as Alfred the Great, Leif Ericson, and Ivar the Boneless, as well as travels to Iceland, Russia, France, and across the Atlantic.[18]

On April 5, 2013, History announced that it will renew Vikings for a ten-episode second season.[4] With Ragnar Lodbrok in the service of King Horik, he engages in larger raids against England and France. Ragnar also deals with his love life and his family. He now has two loves: his wife, Lagertha, and Aslaug. He also deals with his brother, Rollo, who has betrayed him to the Geats. Athelstan also continues to struggle with being a Christian in a non-Christian world. Throughout this season, Ragnar faces off against King Egbert of Wessex.[19]

Two new series regulars were announced on June 11, 2013. Alexander Ludwig, portraying the teenage Björn, and Linus Roache, playing King Egbert of Wessex.[20] Season Two will undergo a jump in time, aging the young Bjorn (Nathan O’Toole) into an older swordsman portrayed by Ludwig. According to reports, the older Bjorn will not have seen his dad, Ragnar, for “a long period of time.” Lagertha will have remarried to a powerful Jarl, a stepfather who provides harsh guidance to Bjorn.[21]

Several Swedish media sources are reporting that actors Edvin Endre, son of renowned Swedish actress Lena Endre [22] of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Wallander fame and Anna Åström, who recently co-starred with Gustaf “Floki“ Skarsgård [23] in controversial Swedish language film Vi, have signed up for roles in season two.

Jeff Woolnough[24] (Copper, Bones), Kari Skogland (The Borgias) will join Ken Girotti and Ciaran Donnelly as directors of season 2.[25]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedDVD and Blu-ray release date
Season premiereSeason finaleRegion 1Region 2Region 4
19March 3, 2013 (2013-03-03)April 28, 2013 (2013-04-28)October 15, 2013 (2013-10-15)[26]February 3, 2014 (2014-02-03)[27]March 26, 2014 (2014-03-26)[28]
210February 27, 2014 (2014-02-27)TBATBATBATBA

Broadcast[edit]

Vikings premiered on March 7, 2013 on History in the United States,[29] where episodes are also available on the channel's website, and on History in Canada.[30] On February 10, 2014 Vikings had its Canadian broadcast premiere on Global.

In the United Kingdom, Vikings premiered on May 24, 2013 where it is exclusively available on the Amazon.com-owned streaming video on demand service LoveFilm.

In Australia, the series premiered on August 8, 2013 on SBS One.[31]

In Denmark the series was aired in HD on DR3 during primetime on four Saturdays in November and December 2013.

In Ireland it's scheduled to premiere on RTÉ Two February 26, 2014.

Reception[edit]

Reviews[edit]

The series received generally favorable ratings by critics after the first episode had aired, with an average rating of 70% according to Metacritic.[32] Alan Sepinwall of HitFix praised the series' casting, notably of Fimmel as Ragnar, and observed that Vikings "isn't complicated. It (...) relies on the inherent appeal of the era and these characters to drive the story."[33] Nancy DeWolf Smith of the Wall Street Journal noted the "natural and authentic" setting and costumes, and appreciated that Vikings was (unlike, e.g., Spartacus) not a celebration of sex and violence, but "a study of character, stamina, power and (...) of social, emotional and even intellectual awakening".[34] Hank Stuever, writing for the Washington Post, found that the "compelling and robust new drama series (...) delivers all the expected gore and blood spatter". But he also wrote that it successfully adapted the skills of cable television drama, with the care taken in acting, writing and sense of scope reminiscent of such series as Rome, Sons of Anarchy and Game of Thrones, and that even the way the series emphasized "a core pride and nobility in this tribe of thugs" reflected "just another iteration of Tony Soprano".[35] Neil Genzlinger, in the New York Times, praised the "arresting" cinematography and the actors' performances, notably Fimmel's, and favorably compared Vikings to Game of Thrones and Spartacus for the absence of gratuitous nudity.[36]

In TIME, James Poniewozik noted that the relatively simple generational conflict underlying Vikings "doesn't nearly have the narrative ambition of a Game of Thrones or the political subtleties of a Rome", nor these series' skill with dialogue, but that it held up pretty well compared to the "tabloid history" of series like The Tudors and The Borgias. He concluded that "Vikings' larger story arc is really more about historical forces" than about its not very complex characters.[37] Clark Collis of Entertainment Weekly appreciated the cast's performance, but considered that Vikings was "kind of a mess", lacking the intrigue of The Tudors and Game of Thrones.[38] Brian Lowry criticized the series in Variety as an "unrelenting cheese-fest" and as a "more simpleminded version of 'Game of Thrones'", but considered that it achieved "a level of atmosphere and momentum that makes it work as a mild diversion".[39] In the San Francisco Chronicle, David Wiegand was disappointed by the series' "glacial pace" and lack of action as well as by the "flabby direction and a gassy script", while appreciating the performances and characters.[40]

Ratings[edit]

According to Nielsen, the series premiere drew 6 million viewers in the U.S., topping all broadcast networks among 18-to-49 year olds. An earlier claim of over 18 million viewers was later retracted by the channel with an apology.[41][42]

In Canada, the premiere was watched by 1.1 million viewers. The first season has averaged 942,000 viewers.[43]

Historical accuracy[edit]

Some critics have pointed out historical inaccuracies in the series' depiction of Viking society. Lars Walker, in the magazine The American Spectator criticized its portrayal of Viking Age government (in the person of Earl Haraldson) as autocratic rather than essentially democratic.[44] Joel Robert Thompson criticized the show's depiction of the Norse peoples' supposed ignorance of the existence of the British Isles, and the use of the death penalty instead of outlawry (skoggangr) as a punishment for heinous crimes.[45]

Monty Dobson, a historian at Central Michigan University, criticised the show's depictions of Viking Age clothing, but went on to state that fictional shows like Vikings could still be a useful teaching tool.[46] The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported that the series incorrectly depicted the temple at Uppsala as a stave church in the mountains, whereas the historical temple was situated on flat land and stave churches were a hallmark of later Christian architecture in Scandinavia.[47]

Regarding the historical accuracy of the show, showrunner Michael Hirst comments that “I especially had to take liberties with ‘Vikings’ because no one knows for sure what happened in the Dark Ages" and that “we want people to watch it. A historical account of the Vikings would reach hundreds, occasionally thousands, of people. Here we’ve got to reach millions.”[48]

Related media[edit]

Zenescope partnered with the History Channel to create a free Vikings comic book based on the series. It was first distributed at Comic-Con 2013 and by Comixology in February 2014.[49][50] The comic was written by Michael Hirst, features interior artwork by Dennis Calero (X-Men Noir), and is set before the events of season 1. In addition to featuring Ragnar and Rollo battling alongside their father, the comic depicts the brothers’ first encounter with Lagertha.[51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.metalkaoz.com/metal-news/12453-wardrunas-music-in-vikings-tv-series.html
  2. ^ a b c d "VIKINGS Tops The Ratings With 8.3 Million Viewers". Irish Film Board. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.take5productions.ca/productions_vikings.html
  4. ^ a b "Vikings Renewed". News (Seat42f). 5 April 2013. Retrieved 08.4.2013. 
  5. ^ Fitzpatrick, Kevin (8 December 2013). "‘VIKINGS’ SEASON 2 TRAILER TEASER: GLORY AND GORE GO HAND IN HAND". screencrush.com. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "First Look - Promo for Season 2 of History's VIKINGS, Premiering This February". broadwayworld.com. 8 December 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Turnbow, Tina (18 March 2013). "Reflections of a Viking by Clive Standen". Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Mitchell, John (25 April 2013). "'Vikings' season finale: Mysterious beauty tempts Ragnar". EW.com. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Gunnar Larsen (17 October 2012). "Thorbjørn Harr blir viking i amerikansk TV-serie | ABC Nyheter". Abcnyheter.no. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Yeo, Debra. Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, plays again in CBC-TV movie, Toronto Star, April 28, 2013. Accessed January 5, 2014.
  11. ^ "Elinor Crawley". IMDb. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c Justin, Neal (2 March 2013). "Meet the real Ragnar on History Channel's 'Vikings'". Star Tribune. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  13. ^ Cummins, Steve (9 July 2012). "'Vikings' Begins Filming At Ashford Studios". The Irish Film & Television Network. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  14. ^ Kelpie, Colm. Viking hordes are back to make history, Irish Independent, August 17, 2012. Accessed January 5, 2014.
  15. ^ "Resumé: "Det är mörkt och dramatiskt"". Resume.se. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Trumbore, Dave (28 June 2012). "VIKINGS Scripted Series Coming to History Channel". Collider. 
  17. ^ Cummins, Steve (26 June 2012). "Emmy Award-Winning Cinematographer John Bartley Joins 'Vikings' Crew". The Irish Film & Television Network. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  18. ^ Fitzpatrick, Kevin (8 March 2013). "History's "Vikings" interview": Clive Standen talks Rollo, complex morality and future characters". Screencrush. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  19. ^ Prudom, Laura. 'Vikings' Season Finale: Michael Hirst Talks Season 2 And The Repercussions Of 'All Change', The Huffington Post, April 29, 2013. Accessed January 5, 2014.
  20. ^ Goldberg, Lesley. 'Vikings' Enlists 'Hunger Games', 'Law & Order' Actors for Season 2, The Hollywood Reporter, June 11, 2013. Accessed January 5, 2014.
  21. ^ http://screencrush.com/vikings-season-2-spoilers-time-jump/
  22. ^ http://www.aftonbladet.se/nojesbladet/tv/article17038051.ab
  23. ^ http://www.aftonbladet.se/nojesbladet/tv/article17100382.ab
  24. ^ http://www.marcociglia.com/index.php/filmography/
  25. ^ http://www.casarotto.co.uk/assets/x/51853.pdf
  26. ^ Lambert, David (July 16, 2013). "Vikings - Press Release Announces 'The Complete 1st Season' of the History Channel Show on DVD, Blu". TV Shows on DVD. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Vikings: Season 1 [Blu-ray] [2013]". Amazon UK. Retrieved January 8, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Vikings: Season 1". Ezy DVD. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  29. ^ "The History Channel Announces 'Vikings' Broadcast DateThe Irish Film & Television Network". Iftn.ie. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  30. ^ Ricthie, Kevin. "History to debut scripted series Vikings in March". Playback. Archived from the original on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  31. ^ "Airdate: 'Vikings'". TV Tonight. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  32. ^ "Vikings". Metacritic. Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  33. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (1 March 2013). "Review: History's 'Vikings' a bloody good time". HitFix. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  34. ^ DeWolf Smith, Nancy (1 March 2013). "The Norse Code". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  35. ^ Stuever, Hank (28 February 2013). "In History's compelling 'Vikings,' Hägar the Hipster is a brute charmer". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  36. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (1 March 2013). "You Plunder, I'll Pillage, Maybe We'll Find England". New York Times. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  37. ^ Poniewozik, James (1 March 2013). "TV Weekend: History Launches Vikings (and an Action-Packed Bible)". TIME. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  38. ^ Collis, Clark (27 February 2013). "Vikings (2013)". EW.com. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  39. ^ Lowry, Brian (27 February 2013). "TV Review: 'Vikings'". Variety. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  40. ^ Wiegand, David (28 February 2013). "'Vikings' review: It takes a pillage". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  41. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (5 March 2013). "History channel apologizes after boasting about 'Vikings' ratings". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  42. ^ "'Vikings' Has Number 1 Cable Series Premiere of the Year With 8.3 Million Total Viewers on the Night". TV by the Numbers. 
  43. ^ http://www.tv-eh.com/2013/04/05/vikings-picked-up-for-second-season/
  44. ^ Walker, Lars (12 March 2013). "History Channel Gets Vikings Precisely Wrong". The American Spectator. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  45. ^ Balar, Keya (14 March 2013). "Historical Inaccuracies in 'Vikings'". Daily Targum. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  46. ^ Dobson, Monty (18 March 2013) Obsessed with the Good and Bad of ‘Vikings’, LiveScience, retrieved April 17, 2013
  47. ^ "TV-serie om vikinger skaper latter for historiske tabber". Aftenposten. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  48. ^ Gilbert, Tom (February 22, 2013) "Vikings Come Ashore in a New Light", The New York Times, accessed April 8, 2013
  49. ^ "Vikings #1". Comixology. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  50. ^ "Hero Complex: Comic-Con: ‘Vikings’ will land with stars, free comic, boat races". Los Angeles Times. July 02, 2013, 6:00 a.m. 
  51. ^ "Hero Complex: Comic-Con: ‘Vikings’ will land with stars, free comic, boat races". Los Angeles Times. July 02, 2013, 6:00 a.m. 

External links[edit]