IMDb lets you review 5 seasons or 1 episode, but there is no possibility for reviewing a season, so most people review leave their season reviews on the page of premiere or the finale episodes.
This show is one of the best medieval/period drama shows of all time. It's better than Marco Polo, better than Rome, Reign, Tudors, The White Queen, Borgias (any of them) and even approaches Game of Thrones in quality.
So why 7 stars? I'm not being cheap with stars, but the show undermines its own success.
Everything looks real, there is not one second where you think "studio" "wig" "not real steel" "set" or anything. You never feel that it's cheap, which is something many TV shows and films suffer from, where having a small budget means compromise on one thing or another.
The lack of big name stars makes this show better. I would hate to see Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst on this show. Not knowing who the actors are makes it seem like they're really these people. This is a luxury Canadians have, I'm guessing that Scandinavians recognize the faces (and if not, the names) of these actors.
The music is amazing. Trevor Morris really takes you back to a medieval primitive time while keeping it both dramatic and epic. For those who don't know or haven't paid attention, the soundtrack is not just epic like Hollywood films or Game of Thrones, it swings from epic drama to tribal, from sad violins to war drums, from Nordic lullabies to heavy metal and everything in between. It is not always original score (sometimes they use songs from folk bands) but it is always great.
So where does this show go wrong?
Filler episodes, for one. Long torture scenes that add nothing to the story. Gore doesn't bother me, but I start to yawn after a long period of torture. This show also seeks controversy for the sake of controversy at times. Showing difficult topics is one thing, but this show wants to be seen as edgy.
A lot of time is wasted on sex scenes that add nothing to the story. Not happy with regular sex, the show ups the ante with drugged sex. Then threesomes. With brothers. Then lesbianism. Then a Viking having sex with his mom's girlfriend (his mom is the lesbian). It feels contrived and the focus on various affairs starts to feel like a soap.
There are a lot of historical inaccuracies, I don't care about inaccuracy in the name of entertainment, but history has a lot of cool stuff that this show threw out. For example, when the Vikings raided Spain, they were killing unarmed civilians. 1, why was there not a single soldier in the entire city? That makes no sense whatsoever. A market town that has everything from mosques to harems, textile sellers to scorpion salesmen (what?), but not a single person to fight an invader?
We could argue that there weren't any soldiers, fine, but the Vikings were killing unarmed civilians. I'm not saying that was against their code of honor, but the Vikings were slavers and made most of their money from human trafficking. Why would they kill their merchandise? It's like a shepherd burning his flock for no reason. The Vikings take some women as hostages, but leave the men behind, even though men were more valuable as slaves. It's the thief that breaks into your house, sees a 4K TV but steals your microwave oven instead.
Then the Vikings return to the capital. But what about the slaves, you wonder? Well, what about them? They disappeared. We don't see a mention of them anymore. Are they enslaved to work on Danish farms? I don't know. Why would they leave men behind and take sex workers (harems) to work on farms? Agriculture back then was hard work and I'm not sure these girls were cut out for it. Were they used as sex slaves? Were they sold in a Nordic market? Were they traded elsewhere for food? Gold? We don't know.
We spent so much time planning the raid, a detour to France, getting Rolo on board, heading to Spain, then looting Spain, then the very purpose of the mission (loot) is forgotten, as if it was just some road trip for Bjorn to connect with his uncle Rolo.
This show could easily be a 9/10 show, but it shoots its own self in the foot.
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