We've done this before (here, here, and here), but now it's time for this year! This is a place for comments about any and all shows, but especially for shows that don't generate their own threads.

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Does anybody watch Vikings?

I think some others here started reading Norse mythology and folklore at an early age like me, and so also have a real love for the Viking Age. In fact, I'm such a Viking guy that I really kinda avoided watching it because I was afraid of disappointment, or would grow angry at inaccuracies.

Turns out that it has really high production values, and it isn't just any Viking story -- it's THE Viking story, of Ragnar Lodbrok, who opened the West to Viking raids and whose sons led the Great Heathen Army of the 800s. Ragnar is sorta the Julius Caesar of Norse stories in that whatever you're watching, if it's about Vikings, then it's either a thinly disguised version of Ragnar, or he makes an appearance, or the he is a major character.

I say that with love, but also noting that it appears that to movie and film makers, the only story from Rome worth telling is the Julius Caesar-Marc Anthony-Cleopatra-Octavius story. You'd think for an empire that lasted for a couple thousand years we'd have some other stories! We sure get that one a lot, though.

Anyway, it's the same with Ragnar -- if you've seen the other TV shows and movies about Vikings, they were all pretty much about Ragnar, whether he was named or not. That's one of the things I liked about Vertigo's Northmen, in that it told other Viking stories, albeit almost entirely invented. (We don't have nearly as much historical record for the Vikings as we do for the Romans, so not very many stories survived.)

ANYwayyyyy ... I like it. I like it a lot. Vikings has really high production values, it doesn't pretty anything up (everybody's filthy), it doesn't change the moral code of the times to fit with modern mores, and it's a great story.

Sure, they stretch things a bit here and there -- I mean, most historians don't think Ivar the Boneless was literally boneless! He was probably impotant or double-jointed or something. But on the show he appears to have no bones in his legs which means, um, he really shouldn't be part of the Great Heathen Army that history says he will be. I mean, they didn't have wheelchair ramps at the time. Especially because they didn't have wheelchairs. Seriously, a guy who can't walk is far too serious a liability to take on a war party in those days. But we'll see.

Getting back to the social mores, it's neat to see something that flies so much into the face of our expectations. Yes, Vikings weren't especially monogamous, not just consensual sex but the whole "rapine" bit. So I'm glad they didn't pretty that up, and instead showed various levels of understanding, agreement or disagreement between spouses from "You better not" to "maybe a little" to "I'll screw who I want, woman." By the same token, women were very much full citizens -- after all, they had to run the towns and farms when the men were all away for Odin knows how long. That's pretty awesome, especially the Shield Maids which we sometimes see in battle.

I'm also glad they aren't prettying up Christianity much. Yeah, Christians have done and still do some good things. But Mother Church at the time was pretty violent and corrupt. Remember when Scandinavia voluntarily switched to Christianity because the latter was so full of sweetness and light? Oh yeah, they didn't: Scandinavia (excluding Iceland, which saw the writing on the wall) was conquered by Christian armies, and the people forced to convert or they were killed. Jesus would puke knowing that was done in his name, of course, but that's the way it was.

Oh, and one thing about Vikings which sets it apart: I'm really enjoying the actors in the major parts. I suffered through The Tudors despite the Gawdawfulness of Jonathan Rhys-Davies in the central role of Henry VIII, but it could have been so much better with an actor of greater range. Vikings is blessed with some swell actors, from the central role to the Saxon kings and everything in between. And, given the huge role women played in Viking society, the lucky actresses in those roles really get to stretch a bit -- they get to emote, sure, but they also get to scheme, be openly lustful and kick ass. And they never, never break down in tears. Ever.

And so forth. There are things to debate and discuss, but by and large I'm enjoying the show. And that's from a Viking enthusiast, if that helps.

Who knew The Discovery Channel, which has been so awful in recent years, could do something so good?

Familiar with Eric the Red and his son Leif Ericson discovering America but never heard of Ragnar.

If you watched the 1958 "The VIkings," Kirk Douglas was the son of Ragnar.



Captain Comics said:

Does anybody watch Vikings?


Yes! I've been watching and enjoyed the first 2 seasons enough to pick up the blu-rays. As you say, it's far better than you would expect from the History Channel. Great cast, plenty of Viking mayhem and even a little historical education as well. There was a point during Season 1 where I thought they were going to introduce a little bit of a supernatural element but they seemed to move away from that in Season 2. Looking forward to the new episodes.

Yeah, some of The Seer's prophecies were too spot on, and I wasn't really fond of that -- I'd prefer that it be left open to interpretation rather than assert that magic works.

I like, for example, that the wavering priest accepts the interpretation that lightning is sparks from Thor's anvil. That explains his dilemma -- he sees the Viking gods at work, and never sees his own do anything. But it doesn't establish magic as viable.



Detective 445 said:



Captain Comics said:

Does anybody watch Vikings?


Yes! I've been watching and enjoyed the first 2 seasons enough to pick up the blu-rays. As you say, it's far better than you would expect from the History Channel. Great cast, plenty of Viking mayhem and even a little historical education as well. There was a point during Season 1 where I thought they were going to introduce a little bit of a supernatural element but they seemed to move away from that in Season 2. Looking forward to the new episodes.

Also, it should be noted that King Horik, who was in most of the second season, was played by the same guy who plays Harvey Bullock on Gotham. That was odd sometimes!

Vulture does its latest roundup of the shows on the bubble: "Which 2015 Network Shows Still Face Cancellation?"

Watching "King of the Nerds" tonight. Pretty sure one of the contestants is Shlabam, who used to post here at one time.

Yeah, I knew he was on it (his real-world name is Jacob Rubin). I haven't watched the show, but apparently he was eliminated during the first episode of Season 3.

Watched the episode online earlier today. Jacob actually comes across less nerdy than most of the contestants! He looked genuinely surprised to be chosen for the first challenge, He played a good game, and got to smash a tiny Tokyo in a Godzilla costume.

Aquarius and Hannibal have been permanently moved from Thursdays to Saturdays:

http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/nbcs-aquarius-hannibal-move-to-satu...

Hannibal will be running all remaining episodes but won't be back next season. Aquarius WILL be back next season.

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