This week on blu-ray from MGM Studios and Fox Home Entertainment is the absolutely fantastic series from the History channel with VIKINGS.
The series tells the story of Viking Ragnar Lodbrok (Travis Fimmel), a farmer who along with his wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and brother Rollo (Clive Stranden) want to explore more at sea of the world for raiding and trade.
Ragnar’s friend Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) has the gift of making amazing longships. But leader Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne) forbids them all from going to explore England. The Earl’s wife Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig) stands by her husband but understands what could happen. Ragnar has other problems as well with brother Rollo who has a longing for Lagertha.
Ragnar, refusing to be told how to live his life, takes the newly built longship with a crew and sails for Nothumbria. The raid is lucrative and returning with their riches they also bring a monk, Athelstan (George Blagden) to be a slave in the Lodbrok household.
Haraldson tries to discover a way to turn brother against brother to keep his power but Ragnar has other plans only to discover being a leader is not without its price! There is intrigue, back stabbing (literally), plans hatched and seduction for a goal.
The series, created by Michael Hirst for the History channel became an instant hit on March 3, 2013 and yes, for those who can’t wait to know, VIKINGS has been renewed for a second season!
FINAL WORD: Fimmel as Ragnar is exciting to watch. A family man in a sense of the word doesn’t stop him from following his dream to explore the seas. There are moments where Fimmel’s character has the faraway look that is dreamy. That’s what catches the women who watch the show absolutely. Then there are moments where that same look is a tad scary and that’s the look guys relate to – the look of conquest.
As Ragnar, Fimmel has literally taken hold and given a legendary character new life. Ragnar Lodbrok is one of the famous or infamous persons in Norse history and was considered a rogue in France and England. Fimmel has given this ‘rogue’ a face and it is winning face for the History channel.
Winnick as Lagertha is an incredible character to play. She also has a duality from homemaker, mother and farmer’s wife to lacing up leathers and grabbing her sword when necessary. Winnick has such a warrior-ess look and feel and cheering her on is so much fun.
Standen as Rollo is a brother you love to hate. Seriously, Standen plays this character as one who definitely has dreams of riches for himself and yet is torn by brotherly loyalty. That’s also clouded by the lovelorn affections for Lagertha that is going to have to play itself out at some point – at least that’s what we are hoping for!
The first season hosts appearances by Gabriel Byrne as the Earl and Donal Logue who has recently finished his stint on SONS OF ANARCHY.
Filmed and told from a history that is unsure, creator Hirst says, “I especially had to take liberties with VIKINGS because no one knows for sure what happened in the Dark Ages. We want people to watch it. A historical account of the Vikings would reach hundreds of people. Here we’ve got to reach millions!” and that he has done successfully.
The DVD includes an exclusive feature with “Birth of the Vikings” which goes inside Hirst approach to re-creating the period and shooting in the glorious Wicklow Mountains of Ireland. The fantastic box with the V-shaped opening for the blu-ray gives a jaw-dropping affect to those who see it.
The DVD also includes the nine episodes, The Armory of Vikings, Conquest and Discovery: The Journey of the Vikings which in an interactive feature to allow viewers to learn about Ragnar’s journey from season one, Warrior Society: Viking Culture & Law which looks at the systems of laws, practices and rules of being a Viking, Forging the Viking Army: Warfare and Tactics looks at the epic battle scenes of VIKINGS, deleted scenes and commentary from Michael Hirst.
The pairing of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment who brings award-winning entertainment from DVD to blu-ray and MGM who has one of the worlds stunning library of film and television content, VIKINGS brings them another series destined to become a classic!
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give VIKINGS four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. I’m saving that ½ a tub for season two! This is an amazing season filled with everything I’ve come to love about television once again.
The stellar cinematography and a location that is breathtaking is only the beginning of things to be thrilled about. Casting is impeccable with Fimmel as Ragnar leading the group, Standen as Rollo with plans of his own and Winnick as Lagertha being able to handle a sword and those around her.
It is definitely filled with a storyline in which no one knows who will live or die and that every character is expendable. This has been a moving force in storytelling for television as of late and audience’s response is nothing short of thrilling. The plot twists and shockers kept my entire family riveted and talking about it for days after – that’s how we knew it’s a winner.
If you need more proof, at Comic Con this year there was an entire area dedicated to VIKINGS with long waiting lines. People wanted to experience longships and Viking history for themselves to prepare for season two and I’m going to predict right now that the ratings will shoot through the roof!
In the end – the storm is coming!
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