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Hi, I'm Jenna and I'm addicted to great television. I'm on a mission to share with you what I think are the best of the best when it comes to shows and mini-series. Long format visual storytelling is my entertainment of choice. I've got a lot to say, so stay tuned..... P.S. I am under some sort of invisible legal obligation to state that I do not own any of the photos posted herein unless otherwise specified and if you see any of your images and would like me to credit you or take it down (‘cus you’re just a meanie), please contact me

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Vikings Are Here!

I'd been seeing billboards all over Los Angeles, but they were tagged History Channel. I figured that "Vikings" was a documentary series on violent Scandinavians that was getting a big marketing push. After Hatfields & McCoys, how could I be so silly? History Channel has been venturing into original programming and this latest endeavor is pretty spectacular if you ask me. And I've only seen two episodes!

Michael Hirst, the co-regent of period drama alongside Andrew Davies, is the mastermind behind this historical drama. If you liked his other series "The Tudors" and Starz's "Camelot", "Vikings" is in the same vein. The nine part series (hopefully season one of many) follows the ambitious farmer/warrior Ragnar Lothbrok as he journeys towards greatness. But...you know, viking greatness which among other things includes killing, stealing and kidnapping. Hey, if it makes for great drama, I'm in!

"Vikings" definitely does make for great drama. From the captivating opening credits, through the action and into the tender family moments, the storytelling is stellar. After only the first two episodes (ok, after 20 mins) I am completely enthralled and already disappointed that there are only nine episodes to look forward to.

Ok, down to the nuts and bolts. What else besides an exciting story makes this series worth watching?

The opening credits are stunning. See, I've already mentioned them twice. Gorgeous images accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful song "If I Had a Heart" by Fever Ray. No surprise as to the quality if you look back at the intros to "The Tudors" and "Camelot". Hirst obviously appreciates the value that masterfully made titles add to a series. Director Rama Allen created a memorable sequence that has quickly become one of my favorites.  Watch the Vikings Intro

Sublimely shot by veteran cinematographer John S. Bartley (ASC), it makes me actually want to visit this seemingly savage and harsh place. Although, the story takes place in the Nordic region, the series is shot in Ireland. Apparently, the go to place for period and fantasy genre productions these days.

The production design, art direction, costumes, make-up and ESPECIALLY the hair is amazing. Who knew that there was a dude out there that could pull off a mohawk/mullet braid?

Speaking of...once again Hirst went to casting directors extraordinaire Frank & Nuala Moiselle. For their Norse hero, they found Travis Fimmel, a relatively unknown Australian actor. I don't know if it's accurate, but I love his viking accent. I have a feeling that this role will take him places. He really embodies this warrior who madly loves his wife, is a good father and is destined to be a leader. That is, if he's strong enough to go head to head with the Earl of his tribe played by the brilliant Gabriel Byrne. I've always liked him, but after watching "In Treatment", I would watch that man read a newspaper. I can't wait to see what he does with a villain.

I don't really know anything about this time period or these people. Obviously, this is television series and they will take creative liberties. If you want complete accuracy, go watch a documentary. Sometimes history needs a little doctoring to be entertaining enough to keep you coming back every week. I love it when I'm inspired to do some research of my own to see if what I'm watching really happened. To find out the other side's story. To put it into context. Historical dramas engage me, particularly when they are so beautifully produced.

Check out this cool infographic on History.com about Viking Gods & Mythology

So the lesson for today? Watch "Vikings" on History Channel (formerly that Nazi documentary channel) Sundays at 10pm. You'll thank me later.

Only 2 episodes have been broadcast, but you can watch the first three on History.com or on Hulu.com.

Happy Viewing!

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