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Recommended: Vikings: Valhalla on Netflix

The sequel to the popular History series is a tad more historical than the original (and a lot more talky).
  • Frida Gustavsson as Freydis and Sam Corlett as Leif in Vikings: Valhalla. (Photo: Bernard Walsh/Netflix)
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    Vikings: Valhalla Season 1 | Netflix
    Historical Drama (8 episodes) | TV-MA

    What's Vikings: Valhalla About?

    Set 100 years after the events in the long-running History Channel series Vikings, this sequel is focused on historical figures like King Canute, Leif Erikson and his sister Freydís Eiríksdóttir and on the events leading up to the end of the Viking era in 1066.

    Who's Involved?

    • Michael Hirst, the creator and writer of the original Vikings, is credited as an executive producer on Valhalla, but the heavy lifting on Valhalla is being done by creator/showrunner Jeb Stuart, best known for writing the film scripts for Die Hard and The Fugitive back in the day.
    • Sam Corlett (Leif Erikson), who was Caliban on Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, is probably the most recognizable face here. Frida Gustavsson (Freydis) and Caroline Henderson (Jarl Estrid Haakon) have roles on Swedish and Danish TV dramas and husky Bradley Freegard (King Canute) appeared on the British drama Keeping Faith.
    • Pollyanna McIntosh, who was Anne “Jadis” on two Walking Dead franchises, plays the scheming Queen Ælfgifu.
    • John Kavanagh, the Irish character actor who played the Seer in the original Vikings, reprises his role here.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    Although it shares the DNA of the original Vikings, this series is less Outlander at sea than it is a rather talky action drama centered on the Norsemen (and women) known from the historical record. The storyline isn't complicated and even if you skipped most or all of the long-running History series, you can slide right into this (although if you wind up enjoying Valhalla, you owe it to yourself to go back and watch Vikings in all its Travis Fimmel glory).

    After the English crown launches an offensive against Vikings living on the British Isles, a raiding party led by Prince Harald (Leo Suter) plan their revenge. But the Vikings themselves are divided between pagans and Christians. “Revenge is the motive of the heathen,” declares Olaf (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson), a self-righteous raider, though the dispute largely seems to be whether the enemy should be stabbed and beheaded in the name of Christ or another god. Women factor strongly in Valhalla, including Leif’s sister Freydis, who has a revenge storyline in the first episode. The real Freydis is said to have played a larger role in her brother’s discovery of the New World than history has given her credit for.

    Speaking of history, the most glaring fallacy behind Valhalla — other than those model-thin Scandinavian women and sweaty men with their enigmatic English accents — is that the Vikings were a people driven largely by war and plunder. American popular culture promoted a similar myth about Indians for generations, until archaeologists discovered that they lived quietly in towns of up to 50,000 people. The notions of marauding Norsemen makes good TV — again — but like its predecessor, Vikings: Valhalla doesn’t make good history.

    The vast audience for Vikings is clearly the target for Valhalla, and those viewers won’t be disappointed, but they also won’t be blown away; the show takes a while to find its way. (A second season has already been filmed.)

    Pairs well with

    • Black Sails (Starz, Hulu), which depicts the lives of pirates who are thrillingly portrayed by a talented ensemble of non-American actors.
    • The Witcher (Netflix), Henry Cavill's multi-layered fantasy romp with notes of Xena: Warrior Princess and Outlander.

  • Vikings: Valhalla (Season 1)
    Complete first season drops Friday February 25, 2022 on Netflix.
    Created by: Jeb Stuart. Based on the History series Vikings, created by Michael Hirst.
    Starring: Sam Corlett, Frida Gustavsson, Leo Suter, Bradley Freegard, Caroline Henderson, and Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson.
    People are talking about Vikings: Valhalla in our forums. Join the conversation.

    TOPICS: Vikings: Valhalla, Netflix, Bradley Freegard, Caroline Henderson, Frida Gustavsson, Jeb Stuart, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Leo Suter, Sam Corlett