Have you ever sat there with the television’s dull light illuminating the space around you? It’s quiet; you’re bored or you want to relax after a long day of work. “Let’s watch something” you say to your significant other(boothang), yourself, or your cat- you scroll over to Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Hulu,(whichever you prefer really) and it hits you. “what the hell do I watch?”
The choices are endless, and frankly by the time you can make a solid decision you’ve already wasted a good chunk of free time. But, I’m here to help.
In this series I’ll help you decide what to queue up or what to avoid as you scour the endless streaming services for your next dopamine hit, sleep aid, or deep dive into the world of cinematic storytelling.
Starting off by going into key basics of a show: Where you can watch it, the cast, genre, the official synopsis, and a little bit of background if it applies.
I know different people have different tastes in what shows they like, as well as how they like to consume their content. I’ll consider things like season status, episode counts, and run times so you have all the necessary information to make decision on whether to watch a show or not, even without a personalized opinion.
But it’s impossible for me to properly talk about shows without getting personal. Who would read anything written by some shmuck who didn’t even pay attention amirite?
I’m going to try my very best to avoid spoilers but I will not avoid bringing up things that I find as major flaws.
Let’s get into the very first show I’ll be covering Vikings:Valhalla!
Table of Contents
- The Basics
- Should You Watch?
The Official Synopsis for Vikings:Valhalla is as follows : “In this sequel to ‘Vikings,’ a hundred years have passed and a new generation of legendary heroes arises to forge it’s own destiny – and make history.”
In the Original series we’re introduced to legendary Viking heroes such as Ragnar Lodbrok, Lagertha, Bjorn Ironside, Ivar The Boneless, and other key historical figures from the eras of the first Norse Sagas. This spin-off show is going to follow other key legendary figures in the Norse Sagas. They will be mentioned alongside their cast members, so i’ll refrain from mentioning them here.
Season Status / Episode Count
Vikings:Valhalla is(at the time of writing this) a new show.
Season 1 was released by Netflix on February 25, 2022.
There are 8 Episodes which were all released together.
There are already 3 confirmed seasons for Vikings:Valhalla. Check out my article on what we already know about Season 2 here.
I have provided the number of each episode, it’s name, and it’s runtime below. I did not add the episode descriptions to avoid any potential spoilers.
- Episode 1: ‘The Greenlanders’ – 56 minutes 22 seconds
- Episode 2: ‘Viking’ – 46 minutes 06 seconds
- Episode 3: ‘The Marshes’ – 45 minutes 48 seconds
- Episode 4: ‘The Bridge’ – 44 minutes 44 seconds
- Episode 5: ‘Miracle’ – 59 minutes 33 seconds
- Episode 6: ‘The Last Daughter of Uppsala’ – 55 minutes 24 seconds
- Episode 7: ‘Choices’ – 54 minutes 06 seconds
- Episode 8: ‘The End of the Beginning’ – 48 minutes 22 seconds
While only 8 episodes, Vikings: Valhalla has a total runtime of about 6 hours and 25 minutes.
I’ll talk about how I watched it, and how I would recommend watching it later on in the article.
Genre / Network
Categorized mainly as a Historical Drama, and then sub-categorized as an Action/Adventure this Period Piece starts us off in the year 1002, the start of the end of the world of Vikings.
As mentioned in the official synopsis, Vikings:Valhalla is a spin-off. Meaning that it’s inspired by a show that came before it and is considered a sequel-not continuation- to the original. Other examples of spin-off shows are the wildly successful ‘Better Call Saul’ and unsuccessful ‘The Golden Palace.’ Each are spin-offs of ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘The Golden Girls’ respectfully.
It’s important to note that the original Vikings first aired on the History Channel for 5 seasons and then was picked up by Amazon Prime Studios for it’s final Season.
Vikings:Valhalla is wholly a Netflix Original show and you can stream it with your Netflix Account.
Below I will provide a list of the principle cast, who they play and a quick synopsis, and other notable projects that they have been on.
Sam Corlett plays Lief Erikson. Yeah that Lief Erikson. The son of an infamous mad man, this Greenlander has come to make a name for himself and not be associated with his father’s dark past.
Lief is one of the main characters in the show and has an entire storyline based around him, which isn’t surprising because he is one of the most recognized names of the Sagas in the modern era(just as I see it don’t yell at me).
Sam Corlett’s other notable projects include but are not limited to The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina where he portrays Caliban, and a couple of short films.
Unfortunately, I feel his performance falls flat throughout most of the show. Whether it’s due to poor writing or the actor himself, I don’t know.
Leo Suter plays Harald Sigurdsson, Grandson to the Great Harald Finehair, who was an important character throughout the entire original Vikings series. An influential Christian Prince of Norway, he balances between the influence of both the Christian and Danish worlds. Like Lief he wants to achieve his ambitions and make a name for himself in their tumultuous and changing world.
Some of Leo Suter’s other notable projects include but are not limited to Sandition , Beecham House , and Victoria. For a full list of his other projects and more details on that you can check out his IMDB page here.
I feel his performance is pretty good. He has some good monologues and good one-liners throughout the show. He brings a good charisma to his character, while making his flaws seem real, helping connect to his audience.
Frida Gustavsson plays one of the two Female leads in the show, Freydis Eriksdotter. Sister to Lief, a fervent believer in the Old Ways of the Vikings, and hater of all things Christian. Set on taking revenge on a Christian Viking who has wronged her, she will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.
She brings a badass confidence to the character and has good on-screen presence. Her storyline also interests me more than all but one other so I may be biased towards that.
She has also appeared in Partisan , The Witcher , and Du Utvalda, of her native Sweden.
Becoming a historial figure, especially one as influential as Emma of Normandy is not an easy task. Played by Laura Berlin: This English Queen is a descendant of a fan favorite, Rhollo, of the Original Vikings. Incredibly intelligent and a veteran diplomat; she serves as one of the female leads of Vikings:Valhalla.
A powerhouse through and through, Laura’s portrayal of Emma of Normandy has instantly made her a fan favorite. With a commanding on-screen presence and incredibly dialogue I’ll go as far to say that I think she’ll remain my favorite performance on the series.
Laura Berlin has a long list of credits from a very extensive career. To see some of the other projects she has worked on, feel free to check out her IMDB page here.
Rowan David Oakes
David Oakes plays Godwin, another historical figure who is guaranteed to be critical throughout the shows progression. Like Lief, Godwin’s story will see him attempting to make a name for himself, by proving himself worthy to his kingdom.
I will avoid the finer details to avoid spoilers. His character is pragmatic, but good-natured. I very much look forward to seeing how the rest of his story plays out in the seasons to come.
His performance is one I believe the show will be carried by.
If David Oakes is familiar to you, then like me, you’ve probably watched The Borgias. He had a principle role alongside Jeremy Irons, Francious Arnaud, and Holliday Grainger. Some of his other notable roles were in You, Victoria, and The White Queen.
Bradley Freegard plays King Canute(or Cnut) the legendary King of Denmark who- if you know the history- would later become the King of both England and Norway during his life. He’ll be playing a major role in the series, and will most likely see the final seasons of the show.
He is depicted as a fearsome warrior, an intelligent diplomat, a charismatic leader, and an overall honorable man throughout the show. And Bradley’s portrayal, I think, does a very good job. He just seems like a dude that’ll unite three kingdoms. How? We’ll have to wait to find out.
Some of Bradley’s other credits include Eastenders and Keeping Faith. To see a more extensive list of his credits check out his IMDB page here.
Other Cast Mentions
While these characters are important to the storyline of Season 1 of Vikings:Valhalla, in my opinion they fall short of being considered “principle cast.” That may change for these characters in later seasons.
There are plenty of other characters throughout the show, but these are the most notable of the non-principle!
How I Watched It
The runtimes of each episode vary, the shortest being 44(m):44(s) with the longest being 59:33. I split the season into two separate sessions over the weekend watching the first half one night and the second half the next.
The show quickly caught my attention for a few reasons. First and foremost, I’m a fan of the original Vikings and was anticipating this series coming out. Second, I’m a huge fan of period pieces in general so anything with a historical backdrop is going to catch my attention and get me to at least watch the first episode.
Here I’ll cover some key elements of the show that stuck out to me and then finish it off overall in the ‘Should You Watch?’ section.
Cinematography is the art and tech of motion picture photography. The techniques behind filming the perfect shot, how it weaves into the story, and how pleasing, or displeasing it is to the eye.
It’s an important factor for any show, film, or even anime, and in my opinion can be a key difference in what makes a show incredible.
Vikings:Valhalla was expected to bring majestic landscapes, stunning sets, and fluid action scenes throughout the show.
It delivered… kind of?
I thought most of the season was very visually pleasing, but fell short of visual storytelling. I was able to appreciate it but I wasn’t dragged in.
A bloody battle in a tight space? Why is there all the room in the world? A ship crossing the sea in a violent storm? Terrify me.
I’ve always disliked when shows have these super high-risk/high-reward scenarios which feel dull because something is off with the way it’s put together on screen.
Pacing is how fast or slow a show feels to the viewer.
While I think the writing in Vikings:Valhalla has many weak moments. It creates this massive pacing problem. There are many conflicts that dragged, and others that went by too raced.
For me, it kind of created this constant inconsistency(say that five times fast) where certain parts left me unsure of what exactly was meant to be conveyed.
I think the show has poor pacing, and it definitely effected other key aspects of the show.
The Action in a show, especially in a show like this adds massive entertainment value.
Well shot and choreographed action sequences can make or break a show and Vikings:Valhalla has a lot of great action sequences.
One-on-One duels, Quick Kills, Skirmishes, Ambushes, Invasions, Sea Battles, whatever you can think of that’s violent, bloody, and entertaining finds it’s way into the story.
Some action feels a little forced, but hey in a show about Vikings that’s to be expected. The action holds up to expectations.
How I Recommend Watching It
I would recommend watching Vikings:Valhalla within a short amount of time.
I believe people who tend to binge watch shows more will enjoy this more due to the faster pacing of the show itself. Focusing on key events and action sequences(because they are more memorable) will probably allow binge-watchers to overlook, or flat out ignore some massive plot holes presented in the story.
Should You Watch?
If you’re a fan of Historical Dramas, Action/Adventure shows then Vikings:Valhalla is definitely worth the watch.
Even though the story sometimes the story falls flat , it doesn’t change the fact that Vikings:Valhalla is wildly entertaining. Whether you’re going to spread the show out or binge watching it there truly is something for everyone.
There are characters that you connect with, relatable themes, as well as interesting insight into the potential reality of the time period. While set to a historic backdrop, I would consider it inaccurate, but for the purposes of entertaining it doesn’t make too much of a difference. I personally enjoy fact checking and seeing the differences.
Key sell for me is that some of the best performances in this show are given by the female cast. There were and still are tons of badass women in history and they deserve to be talked about!
Already knowing that we’ll be getting a Season 2 AND Season 3, there’ll be plenty more to come. Viewers won’t need to worry(yet) on whether the story will go unfinished which is a common reality in the world of streamed content.
I look forward to seeing more of Vikings:Valhalla but hope they clean it up a bit.
Right now I’ll give Vikings:Valhalla 6.5/10 horns of ale! Skol!
Watch the official trailer for Vikings:Valhalla below!