After the widely acclaimed success of developer Santa Monica Studio’s return to the franchise with God of War, fans have been counting down the days to the freshly released and equally lauded Ragnarök. Now with the game out, countless are surely continuing this exciting soft-rebooted adventure filled with cathartic action and the thoughtful character development of its redeemed protagonist.
However, for fans who come away hungry for more, there are a few noteworthy TV shows and movies to stream on the likes of Prime Video and Hulu after playing to chase that Norse-themed fix. Robert Eggers’ recent Viking epic is one such choice, and there’s also an ongoing anime series more than worth getting invested in for its interpretations of Norse lore.
The latest major Norse epic to hit theaters, Robert Eggers’ (The Witch, The Lighthouse) The Northman is pure, unfiltered Viking action. Starring Alexander Skarsgård in the leading role, the story follows the Viking prince Amleth as he sets out on a bloody quest for revenge after his uncle murders and usurps his father.
The Northman is a revenge story through and through, and there’s something admirable in a movie being fully aware of what it is and playing to its strengths. Even more enticingly, the movie and its interpretation of the world weave in some ambiguous elements of mysticism. Skarsgård expectedly delivers an incredibly primal performance, with Anya Taylor-Joy leaving a memorable impression as always in this second team-up with Eggers.
The Northman is available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video.
For serialized TV Viking action, the aptly named Vikings is one of the best Norse-themed shows to stream. A historical drama, this series loosely bases itself on real-world Scandinavian histories, namely through its lead character Ragnar Lothbrok. It begins with Ragnar as a simple farmer who gradually rises to fame as a warrior, with the story taking the characters to England and beyond.
For fans of history, medieval Norse storytelling, and meaningful dramatic intrigue, Vikings is an immersive epic spanning six narratively satisfying seasons. The series has been particularly praised for placing equal importance on character writing as it does on thrilling action, which similarly themed movies and shows occasionally fail to do.
On the anime side of things, Wit Studio’s masterful adaptation of writer/artist Makoto Yukimura’s Vinland Saga with season 1 is a thoroughly engrossing watch for its storytelling and fascinating cast of characters. This historical fiction anime follows young Thorfinn Karlsefni as he goes from a bright-eyed young boy to a vengeful warrior following the murder of his father at the hands of Viking mercenary Askeladd.
To exact his revenge, he joins Askeladd’s mercenary band to gain the strength to kill him in a duel. On top of the compelling writing, the score is beautiful, the atmosphere is mesmerizing, and the story plays well on themes of redemption, letting go of the past, and living for the future.
Vikings isn’t the only critically praised Norse TV series available, as The Last Kingdom has earned a similarly strong reception. The series concluded with its 5th season this year, with plaudits having consistently gone toward its impressive overall production value.
It begins by following Uhtred, a man raised by the Danish Viking band that captured him and killed his father, leading the character to develop an interesting internal conflict as he was eventually accepted as family. As with Vikings, The Last Kingdom was also well-received for having just as big of a focus on engagingly written characters as it does on gritty, bloody action.
All five seasons of The Last Kingdom are available to stream now on Netflix, with a film sequel titled Seven Kings Must Die premiering on the streamer in 2023 to conclude the story.
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