History Channel’s Vikings

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I am no stranger to the tales of Ragnar Lodbrok. Watching his saga unfold as History Channel’s first true foray into scripted television warms this heathen heart. From the opening scene I was drawn in — lightning striking a tree as a fierce battle takes place, Odin wandering about the battlefield as his Valkyrie choose the heroic fallen for Valhalla. Stirring stuff, made even more so by solid performances from the cast, particularly Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha the Shieldmaiden.

The CGI sort of jumps out at you here and there, but it’s a forgivable sin. Overall the backdrop is beautiful to behold, the weapons and armor seem proper for the time period, and the sets look bloody lived in.

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As to the plot, well it gets where its going well enough. Ragnar is eager for new lands to conquer, tiring of the seasonal Eastern raids, much to the chagrin of Gabriel Byrne’s Earl Haroldsson. Ragnar, believing he’s been blessed by Odin himself, longs for the West, which promises new riches and gods to be plundered. He’s got his brother on board, and a crazy old shipbuilder named Floki to see that they have the means. Now he just needs a bold crew. But first he has to navigate the treacherous waters of Viking politics.

Something tells me that’ll be a fight worth seeing play out.

The premiere was a solid outing and I eagerly await more… No, it’s no Game of Thrones, but by the gods, it will do.

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