Published on January 29th, 2014 | by Christian Cawley0
Vikings Season 2 Debuts In February
Given that the last decade and a half has been full of various types of historical and fantastical characters hitting it big in pop culture—everyone from pirates and Greek warriors to zombies and vampires—it’s a bit surprising that there hasn’t been an explosion in Viking popularity until the last year and a half. In fact, if you were to look in all the popular places, such as film and video games, for mainstream Viking themes from 2000s, you’d be hard-pressed to find much at all!
In film, a few of the most noteworthy appearances of Vikings were probably in Gladiator, Thor, and King Arthur. In Gladiator, there was never a specific reference to “Vikings,” but the Germanic warriors fought by Maximus (Russell Crowe) and the Roman legions in the opening scenes have a certain Viking quality. In King Arthur, the Vikings are once again essentially an enemy horde, though they’re actually quite effective as villains throughout the film. Also, Stellen Skarsgard makes for a terrifying viking lord. And then there are the two Thor movies, which center on the mythological Norse god of the same name. But as far as more true-to-life Viking sagas, there’s really been nothing.
In gaming, we’ve seen even less in the way of Viking-oriented content. In 2008, there was “Viking: Battle for Asgard.” Despite decent reviews and solid gameplay, the game never took hold of a massive audience. Beyond this example, the closest thing to a mainstream Viking game comes from the online casino at BetFair in the form of “Wild Vikings,” a virtual table game that’s related to the more common roulette, along with Thor-related slot games. “Wild Vikings” has a slight Viking theme to the game, not to mention the idea of gambling real money in a virtual Internet casino seems like something an actual Viking might approve of if transported to modern times. But realistically, it’s still not much to do with Vikings, and further proves that there isn’t much in the gaming world for this particular chapter of history.
Perhaps then, given these scant appearances by Viking in modern entertainment, it was only a matter of time before the History Channel’s surprise historical fiction drama Vikings took hold with audiences.
Created by Michael Hirst and developed by a Canadian and Irish team, Vikings is the semi-fictional account of the rise of legendary Norse hero Ragnar Lodbrook (played by Travis Fimmel) as a conqueror and raider of France and England. The show combines historical accuracy with an added dramatic flair. Its first season, which debuted in 2013, used a $40 million budget and breathtaking scenery throughout Ireland and Norway to create a very realistic-looking viking world. The show received largely positive reviews, rated 70 percent on Metacritic and 8.6 out of 10 on IMDB, and was renewed for a second season following this success.
So, with season two of Vikings set to debut late in February, it seems as if fans of fantasy, history, and generally combative entertainment finally have a mainstream work that revolves around Viking legend!