I have been dragging my feet FOR-EVER on reviewing Vikings, mainly on account of the fact that I don’t really know enough about the period to make it a particularly in-depth post about everything thing the show gets wrong. I mean, I know they get stuff wrong, but I can’t really articulate how they do. My expertise when it comes to medieval material culture and costumes starts about 100 years after the Norse culture fizzled out.
However, I really need to talk about the Vikings send-up, Norsemen (2016-), that just hit Netflix stateside. Here’s the kicker: Not only is Norsemen meant to be a spoof, according to my friends who know stuff about Norse culture, it actually does a way better job of presenting the Norse world than the show it’s taking the piss out of.
It’s filmed in Norwegian and English, and while I suspect there’s some jokes that don’t quite make the transition between the two languages, the English version is still hysterically funny.
[I really had to restrain myself from just making GIFs of the whole series, because there’s so much comedy gold in every episode, you might as well just watch it].
One of the reasons the show is so good at representing Norse material culture is that it’s filmed on location at Nordvegen History Centre in Avaldsnes, Norway, which maintains a reconstructed Norse-era demonstration village.
The main characters are, for the most part, no better costumed than their Vikings counterparts, but there does seem to be a lot more attention to accuracy than Vikings, at least in terms of what’s going on around the central characters. The exception is badass shieldmaiden, Frøya (played by Silje Torp), who is absolutely a send-up of Lagertha in Vikings, right down to the leather pants and biker boots.
All in all, definitely give this series a try if you’re looking for some historical action that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
What do you think of Norsemen? Share your thoughts in the comments.