While Taboo is the newest thing these days (and I can't wait to check that out) I just finished Season 2 of Vikings and am well into Season 3, and I have to say I'm pretty stoked about the future of this show.
Let me preface my post by recognizing I'm not an expert on Vikings. Just a fan. I have, however, done a small amount of research out of sheer curiosity from watching the show.
It's ax wielding, disemboweling, throat slitting fun with plenty of intrigue and tension, at first seeming like a poor man's Game of Thrones until you realize Vikings is its own unique monster with plenty of powerful characters and plot possibilities to carry it forward as long as people want to watch. I must note that I'm already feeling a few plot threads coming full circle and repeating, especially with regards to Ragnar's brother, Rollo.
My favorite character from the very start has been Floki. I have friends who absolutely hate this character, but I just love those off-beat wildcard characters. It's the part of me that created Elsa, from Galefire. They are the type of characters that are a little unpredictable until you get several episodes in and begin to understand what drives them. For Floki, it's his devotion to his gods, the gods of the Vikings; Thor, Odin, and Freya. Or, maybe not even his devotion to them so much as his devotion to the stories of them. The myths and legends that define a Viking's life. Of course, those types of driving forces can be manipulated easily by more powerful men, and we see Floki challenged very early on.
My favorite surprise character is Bjorn Lothbrook, Ragnar's son. As a child, he's a little annoying if not a loyal and gods-true viking, and he carries these childhood traits into adulthood, remaining true to both his mother and father while also recognizing his shortcomings and handling his problems with a surprising degree of introspection and levelheadedness.
And, of course, Lagertha is reason and power combined. I sometimes found her loyalty in the first couple of seasons a little strange considering Ragnar hasn't exactly been the best husband, but she's her own woman throughout, no doubt about that. She's a loyal ally provided she's shown proper respect, and she's doing the best she can in a violent and ever changing world.
The writers of the show are able to take some liberties with Viking religion and tradition simply because there doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence for or against such practices as ritual sacrifice and punishment. In the show, the willingness of great warriors to go to the ax or be tortured (see the gory Blood Eagle ritual) for the sake of pleasing the gods is probably the most disturbing element. I keep thinking "what a waste" over and over again.
But, a disturbing show is usually a good show to me.
It sorta has a Sons of Anarchy feel but in a Viking world. I'm not sure how to explain that, exactly, but there it is. Maybe it's just the nature of the Vikings in this show to have a very tribal or "gang" mentality. Retribution regardless of the cost, running and raiding together, and the idea that treasure and a good life lay just beyond the horizon.
Magic also works its way into the show just enough to make it interesting. There are the seers, or oracles, who pass along ridiculously vague information (con men, perhaps?) yet which often times comes true. And Athelstan's struggle with accepting the Viking gods who seemed to be visiting him with insane visions as he plays both sides of religion's fence.
All-in-all, a great show. A great treat for someone who did not keep up on the weekly episodes. Great binge watching right there, folks.
Tell me what you think of Vikings.