If you haven’t been watching Vikings, you should be. The news surrounding the series has been high on the radar for two reasons. One, it’s the first scripted series the History Channel has ever produced and two, it’s been airing after the ratings God (pun intended) series The Bible that wrapped this past Easter Sunday with 11.7 million viewers.
According to the press release from History, a member of the A&E Networks Family:
HISTORY has picked up VIKINGS, its first scripted drama series for a 10-episode second season, it was announced today by Dirk Hoogstra, EVP, Development and Programming for HISTORY. Created and written by Michael Hirst, the renewal comes just five episodes into the VIKINGS freshman season. Four new episodes remain in the current season airing Sundays at 10 p.m. with the season finale slated for Sunday, April 28 at 10 p.m.
VIKINGS continues to be the #1 new cable series in 2013 and has propelled HISTORY to #1 in cable in its Sunday 10-11 p.m. time period. Over the five weeks, the hit drama series averaged 5.0 million total viewers, 2.2 million Adults 25-54 and 1.9 Adults 18-49. This past Sunday, episode five delivered 4.7 million total viewers, 2.2 million Adults 25-54 and 1.7 million Adults 18-49. This was up 4% among total viewers and up 5% among Adults 25-54 from last week.
“Vikings is a win win for us. As our first scripted series, VIKINGS has paid off in a big way with critical acclaim, strong ratings and a passionate, loyal fan base. It came out of the gate strong and has stayed on top, solidifying HISTORY as a major player in the scripted genre, just as we are in reality,” said Hoogstra. “We could not be more proud of the entire cast and crew and everyone involved in the making of VIKINGS. Michael Hirst has captured audiences with his complex, compelling characters and brought the unknown, epic world of these warriors to life. Season Two will begin production this summer to air in 2014.”
VIKINGS, airing Sundays at 10 p.m. ET, tells the extraordinary tales of the lives and epic adventures of these warriors. The drama portrays the world of these Dark Age raiders, traders, explorers – not from an outsider’s view, but, through the eyes of Viking society.
While VIKINGS is filled with conflict, warfare and bloodshed – for these were extreme times – it is a family saga at heart. It follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel, The Beast, Baytown Outlaws), a curious, compelling man who is always looking to break through barriers and discover new worlds to conquer. Ragnar is deeply frustrated by the unadventurous policies of his local chieftain, Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment, Usual Suspects, Millers Crossing), who continues to send his Vikings raiders east every summer, to the Baltic states and Russia, whose populations are as materially poor as themselves.
Joining Fimmel and Byrne are Katheryn Winnick (Bones, Love and Other Drugs, The Black Marks) as Lagertha, a fierce shield maiden and Ragnar’s wife;Jessalyn Gilsig (Glee, Heroes, Nip/Tuck, Friday Night Lights) as Siggy, Earl Haraldson’s beautiful wife; George Blagden (Les Miserables, Wrath of the Titans) as Athelstan, a young, innocent Christian monk captured by Ragnar on his first raid on England, Clive Standen (Camelot, Robin Hood) as Rollo, Ragnar’s impulsive, wild, care-free brother and Gustaf Skarsgard (The Way Back) a ship builder who designs the new generation of Vikings ships.
Created and written by Michael Hirst – one of the premier historical story-tellers in the industry (Academy-Award winning film Elizabeth; and the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated series The Tudors), Michael serves as Executive Producer along with Morgan O’Sullivan of World 2000 (The Count of Monte Cristo; The Tudors),John Weber of Take 5 Productions (The Tudors; The Borgias), Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer, James Flynn (The Tudors; The Borgias) and Sheila Hockin (The Tudors; The Borgias). Dirk Hoogstra and Julian P. Hobbs are the Executives in Charge of Production for HISTORY.
Standouts for me have been, without a doubt Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha, a woman who not only stands by her man in life, but in love and in battle, Clive Standen as Rollo, stuck behind his brother’s never-ending smirk with a desperate need and desire become his own man without the ties to Ragnar and George Blagden as Athelstan who, when he hit the family as the sole Christian, brought into their world a completely new way of looking at things. Their characters are simply amazing and unlike any I’ve seen in series before, even the current king of historical (if sci-fi) fiction, Game of Thrones.
That’s what also sets Vikings apart. This is a story based on history. These characters could have been as real as you and me, and yet seem to far from our world that they might as well be from another world altogether. If you haven’t caught up on Vikings, History has made it easy for you. You can catch the episodes you’ve missed HERE and when to catch episodes on television HERE. Why waste a minute more of your time when you know it’s been renewed for a second season?