I didn’t realize this was a comedy, I kept seeing the title when I was scrolling things on Netflix but it wasn’t until I saw it pop up again under comedy that I decided to give the preview a try.
In the very beginning of the show, the leader dies, the heir takes over and goes on a raid. Except he’s never been on a raid before. He gets hurt just getting into the boat by giving himself a splinter, he brought a pillow for the seats on the boat so he doesn’t get sore while rowing, and is generally considered to be an idiot. He’s married to a badass, she’s intimidating as fuck, meeting her in the street would give me pause because she’s totally ripped. She’s a seasoned warrior who’s been on many raids and doesn’t think much of her husband.
This particular village of Norsemen happen to be in possession of a map that leads them west instead of east. A previously unpillaged land for them, and the map is highly coveted by the Jarl. The Jarl is absolutely bonkers insane, he’s like a flamboyant and also twisted version of Voldemort. His expressions and movements are so exaggerated, his villainy is over the top, everything about him is just dripping in parody. I kind of liked his character, just so ridiculous.
I wasn’t sure if this sort of humor was going to work for me, and I was on the fence for the first few episodes, but it did grow on me the more I watched it. I almost turned the series off when there was a guy who got a poo-finger stuck in his mouth. I don’t particularly like the gross-out humor, and if the show was going to focus heavily on that I was going to tap out. That kind of humor is used from time to time, but it wasn’t featured so heavily I was going to turn it off. Some of the humor lands really well though, and it was the hopes of getting more of those moments that I continued on. I was unsure if the characters were going to get any kind of depth to them, or if they’d continue to be more like funny sketches drawn out to make full episodes. They did start to develop into their own entities and create more complex and almost soap opera-esque romances with all the dramatic trappings.
I’m actually having a hard time nailing down what sort of comedy style this show uses, lots of different styles show up – slapstick, sarcasm, irony, gross-out etc. It’s sort of a hodgepodge of comedic elements that strangely work for me, mostly.
There’s actually a fair bit of violence and gore in this as well, in the first episode we have people falling to their deaths, being stabbed, having their eyes gouged out, but often times it’s still funny. Moving forward the Norsemen do what they do, and raid and pillage other villages in hopes to get plunder. Lots of people die. Axes in faces, axes in backs, and like…. just a lot of violence lol.
I think my favorite character is an apathetic second in command, who is just cruising through everything cool as a cucumber. He’s not a particularly deep character, his “big thoughts” are more along the lines of whales and mountains than philosophical reflections. He amused me though.
The slave who’s an actor is my least favorite character, I find him insufferable. He used to be a wealthy man who ate well, slept in silk sheets and was involved in a lot of oiled orgies. He’s trying to bring Roman ideals to the Norsemen, teaching them about theatre and art, it goes so poorly, and I kept wishing he would die some horrible death.
The seasons are really, really short. I thought I was hitting the second season when the episodes stopped streaming, but no. I had hit the end of both seasons, there are only 6 episodes per season! God damn, Netflix. You’re killing me with these itty bitty seasons, just as I start to get into them it’s over.
Final Score: 8/10 – very enjoyable for the right sense of humor, and if you don’t want to think too hard lol.
I was pretty shocked that IMDB gave this a 7.8/10 and Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 87%.