The Viking Age Isn’t Over Yet!: History Channel’s ‘Vikings’ gets picked up for a second season

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I heard the news that Vikings was picked up for a second season via text while I was grocery shopping:

Vikings just got renewed for a second season!  Ten more episodes!”

Immediately my heart leapt and my entire day was brightened. It seems like an exaggeration but it’s the truth. I owe a great deal to Vikings and it’s a show that has, even in only a few episodes, become quite close to me.

As many readers may know, I initially joined the Stage Door Dish team as the Vikings correspondent but the show is one that I found myself invested in even before it aired. Vikings has come to mean a lot more to me than a part of my job or even just a really fantastic television show.

I’m often hesitant to dive into television shows, you could say that I’ve been burned too many times by brilliant shows not getting picked up for a second season, or worse, getting cancelled on their first season, and I knew going in that Vikings could very well be one of those shows.  First of all, it was a risk: Vikings is the History channel’s first scripted television drama – not a documentary series, or a re-enactment series, but a work of historical fiction brought to the screen through a mixture of intensive research and creativity.  One the one hand, this makes it something both incredibly new to History, but also something that they might have been all too willing to scrap, should it not receive the viewership that they hoped for.

As a result, despite my love for the historical time period and the actors, and my faith in Michael Hirst’s writing, it was with some degree of trepidation that I allowed myself to dive into Vikings.

However, what I found overcame any fear of losing the show.  I was enchanted by the intense attention to historical detail and the more-complex-than-they-appear plot-lines, and the characters alone are a world unto themselves.

I became emotionally attached to Ragnar Lothbrok and his family; from the formidable Lagertha who blows me away every time she appears onscreen, to Gyda and Bjorn, who I didn’t expect to see a lot of, but even the children are very much their own characters.

Even the supporting cast, from the always charmingly eccentric Floki to the “oh my god what are you doing this time” exploits of Rollo, are multifaceted and dynamic (because really, who actually saw some of the twists in Rollo’s plotline coming?).  The series’ antagonists are no different – the dynamic between Earl Haraldson and Siggy is complicated and influenced by just as much personal history and tragedy as Ragnar and his clan, and we don’t merely see them as villains, but as actual people who have ended up in the circumstances they are in through their personal histories.  Last but not least, we have Athelstan, who acts as the closest thing that we have to an outsider’s window into Viking culture, and whose struggles with both himself and his new surroundings makes him easily one of the most relatable and emotionally engaging characters on the show.

What makes this show great is not just the writing, or the visuals – though both are stunning, and it isn’t just the immense amounts of research and time that went into the costuming and the bringing to life of rituals, both religious and social.  It’s in the dedication of the crew, and in the sheer amount of thought and love that the actors have for their characters.  It’s in the way that the fans – from history students, to historians, to fans who started watching because of various actors involved in the show – embraced Vikings wholeheartedly and gave the show the ratings it needed, both online and on the television.

It’s all of these things that make this show such a great one, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of that; certainly I couldn’t be happier to hear that we’re going to get ten more episodes of this amazing show, and as production is expected to start this summer, I can’t wait to see where they take us and the characters next.

So here’s to you, writers, cast and crew of Vikings – congratulations, and I’ll be looking forward to next season!

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3 Responses

  1. While I really enjoyed this first season, I just couldn’t believe, that, after the actors in the reviews gushed about the “details”, the show committed howler after howler. First, they got the “steerboard” on the PORT side. Most people know that the ships with non-stern-mounted rudders protected this steering-oar by always docking on the “port” side. Anyway, when I saw the extreme-mullet hairdos, it was bad enuff. But when Loki shows up with masquera, that was just beyond the pale. No reference I have ever read, nor images seen, show this. And finally, the piece de resistance. The concept of “westviking” or travelling to the WEST was at least as old hat as Ostviking (eastward going). Most people know also that “viking” meant “travelling”. The Orkneys, Hebrides and Thule were all west of the Viking Main, and were fairly well known, even at Lindesfarne time (795? AD).

    Still, it’s a good series, it’s just that a little more attention to accurate details beyond what’s been done, would have made it a real bell-ringer. Let’s lose the strange haircuts and, for the love of Pete—guy masquera!

  2. If I wasn’t loving The VIKINGS I would’ve turned away,the commercials are overwhelming.Super annoying,too,the 1st. episode I watched had a giant countdown going on until The BIBLE started,obscuring one area of the show!!! The episode will be on maybe 12 min,& go to about 37 commercials.

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