October 15, 2016

Vikings (Seasons 1-4)

Michael Hirst, 2013-2016
Vikings is probably what Kurt Sutter wished The Bastard Executioner could be. Being quite obvious that Sutter wanted to make his version of Game of Thrones, Vikings has the period aesthetic of Thrones while also managing to possess the volatile relationships and sometimes calculated deception of Sutter's owns Sons of Anarchy series. Vikings own set of characters often generates memories of the Sons characters, most notably the similarities between Ragnar and Jax Teller. I'm certainly not the only one who sees this. But Sutter is not involved with Vikings at all. Who knows if he is even aware of it. In 2016 Game of Thrones continues to get all of the love when it comes to the Fantasy Drama genre, but hopefully Vikings will continue to build an audience because it's pretty great.

Vikings creates an immersive world, at the center of it is the anti-hero Ragnar Lothbrook. Ragnar has big ambitions, an urge to explore the world around him and make his mark in the pages of history. It's this very hunger that made the Vikings important people. Their ability to travel and and make broad impacts on what was considered a small world at the time. They were able to make that world bigger.

Vikings is the first scripted series created by The History Channel, and hopefully it inspires them to continue to create original scripted content rather then mediocre scripted cheap reality shows (*cough* Pawn Stars). And while Vikings is certainly unique and original on it's own, it's probably always going to be compared to Game of Thrones on some level because they exist at the same time. To be fair, there are certainly similarities between the two. Gratuitous violence. Seemingly endless battle. Sudden twists. Successes and failures. Deception. But where Vikings takes a turn is it's focus on the duality of Paganistic religious faith and the spread of Christianity. The evolution of military technology. Of course the biggest difference is Vikings is rooted in some real historical context and Thrones is pure fiction.

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