"Vikings" (TV show) is a drama series on History Channel that chronicles the extraordinary and ferocious world of the mighty Norsemen who raided, traded and explored during medieval times.

The Viking name is synonymous with brutality, terror and mystery, as it was from the very beginning when the first war bands appeared along the coasts of England and France at the end of the 8th century. The Viking reputation for brutality, exercised without pity or conscience, was an important part of the mythology that grew up around them.

The series follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) who is based upon the real-life Viking leader who literally exploded out of Scandanavia and onto the world stage in the 8th Century. The series tells the gripping sagas of Ragnar's band of Viking brothers and his family, as he rises to become King of the Viking tribes. As well as being a fearless warrior, Ragnar embodies the Norse traditions of devotion to the gods — legend has it that he was a direct descendent of Odin, the god of war and warriors.

A young Norwegian farmer with a wife and family, Ragnar is deeply frustrated by the unadventurous policies of his local chieftan, Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne), who continues to send his Vikings raiders east every summer, to the Baltic states and Russia, whose populations are as materially poor as themselves. Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) is the first wife of Ragnar's and their marriage is a love-match. Ragnar was first attracted to Lagertha when she came to fight for a local Norwegian ruler against an invading Sweden. Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard), based partly on the Norse god Loki, is an impish character and ship builder who designs and builds the prototype of the new generation of Viking ships which can sail across the open ocean but also up the shallowest of rivers. He is a design genius and he allows Ragnar to fulfill his dreams of sailing west and discovering new lands and new civilizations. Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig) is Earl Haraldson's beautiful wife and an enigmatic character. She performs her duties impeccably and with style, but she may not be completely loyal to her husband. Rollo (Clive Standen) is Ragnar's cousin and initially one of his closest friends, involved in his early raids. But soon becomes jealous of his fame and success.

Unlike past movies and dramas that caricatured them as barbarians, this series does not look at Viking culture from the outside, but from within the heart of Viking society. It is a series high on adventure, exploration, conflict, warfare and bloodshed — for these were extreme times — but, at its heart, it is also a family saga.

The series boasts a polished, stylized look that pushes the boundaries of television drama. Imaginatively choreographed battles emphasize individual points of view, strategies and ruses rather than mindless, graphic slaughter. Fast-paced battle sequences are balanced against the astonishing beauty of the fjords and Viking longboats, works of art on a bloody canvas.

The cast includes Travis Fimmel ("The Beast," "Baytown Outlaws") as Ragnar, the first great Viking leader, a man of both history and myth; Golden Globe Award winner and Emmy Award nominated actor Gabriel Byrne ("In Treatment," "Usual Suspects," "Millers Crossing") as Earl Haraldson, the most important local ruler in Ragnar's district; George Blagden ("Les Miserables," "Wrath of the Titans") as Athelstan, an Anglo-Saxon monk captured by Ragnar on his first raid on England; Jessalyn Gilsig ("Glee," "Heroes," ""CSI: NY," Nip/Tuck," "Friday Night Lights," "Somewhere Slow") as Siggy, Earl Haraldson's beautiful wife; Gustaf Skarsgard ("The Way Back") as Floki, a close friend of Ragnar's who is an eccentric jokester yet an inventive, creative boat-builder; Clive Standen ("Camelot," "Robin Hood") as Rollo, Ragnar's excessive, cruel cousin; and Katheryn Winnick ("Stand Up Guys," "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III," "Bones," "Love and Other Drugs") as Lagertha, Ragnar's first wife and famous shield maiden who often fights alongside him.

Season 3

The third season begins with Ragnar as King and follows the great responsibility that now rests on the shoulders of the former farmer.

With the promise of new land from the English, Ragnar leads his people to an uncertain fate on the shores of Wessex. King Ecbert has made many promises and it remains to be seen if he will keep them. But ever the restless wanderer, Ragnar is searching for something more ... and he finds it in the mythical city of Paris. Rumored to be impenetrable to outside forces, Ragnar and his band of Norsemen must come together to break down its walls and cement the Vikings legend in history.

The gripping family saga of Ragnar, Rollo, Lagertha and Bjorn continues as alliances and loyal friendships are questioned, faith is catechized and relationships are strained.

Season 4

The third season culminated with the extraordinary battle in Paris, where Ragnar seized victory from the jaws of defeat — but still returns to Kattegat dangerously ill. Thoughts of his death galvanize the forces who seek to succeed him as king, including his wife Queen Aslaug and his oldest son, Bjorn. Meanwhile, Lagertha continues power struggles with her calculating, former second in command, Kalf; Rollo betrays his Vikings heritage by remaining in Frankia and Floki is seized for his brutal actions to the Christian priest Athelstan.

Joining the stellar cast this season is Peter Franzén ("The Gunman") as King Harold Finehair, a complex character who seeks to be King of Norway and a potential threat to Ragnar; Jasper Pääkkönen ("Jet Trash") as Halfdan the Black, King Harold's violent younger brother; and Dianne Doan ("Descendants") as Yidu, a completely different character within the world of the Vikings who fascinates Ragnar.

The series is 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"). He 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 and Alan Gasmer.

The "Vikings" TV show is an international Irish/Canadian co-production being co-produced by World 2000 and Take 5 Productions. History has ordered the series to broadcast domestically. MGM will distribute internationally, outside of Ireland and Canada

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Network: History Channel
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 60 mins.
Premiere Date: March 3, 2013
Seasons: 5
Production Companies:
Take 5 Productions
World 2000 Entertainment

2015 Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations — "Game of Thrones," "Better Call Saul," "Downton Abbey," "Homeland," "House of Cards," "Mad Men" and "Orange Is the New Black" will duke it out for the top drama prize. Read more...
History Greenlights 'Vikings' Season 4 — Production on the fourth season of the drama series will begin this spring in Ireland. Read more...
'Vikings' Season 3 Tests Faith and Family — Premiering Thursday, February 19, the new season of the History drama series begins with Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) as King and follows the great responsibility that now rests on the shoulders of the former farmer. Read more...

Got spoilers? What did you think of the last show?

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