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.
We are hooked on Norsemen and can’t wait for the second season to drop. Thank you so much for this posting, but I wish you’d given us more, especially the contrast with the English Christians and the attempts by the Roman Rufus to bring art and culture to the Vikings.
I can’t stop laughing during the show. I’ve only got to the death of Orm’s brother – the chieftain, but Freya is my favourite character.
I’m fond of Arvid, who is the closest this series has to a sympathetic character.
Arvid is my second favourite character.
Oh my goodness! I’m so glad you reviewed this. I thought this series was amazing and funny, and I hope a lot more people will see it.
Yes! We loved Norsemen. (And thank you for reminding me of the name nålebinding! My husband asked and all I could stammer out was that it was like one needle knitting.)
I must watch this show! Thanks for the heads up. “Evil machinator and inept idiot” LOL. I know one of those, but he’s the leader. (Oops, sorry!)
And wannabe cultural icon.
Loved it. worth watching! Loved the village especially.
Netflix recommended me to this the other day (since I watch The Last Kingdom) and I went … ehh, really?
But that final gif in your post literally caused me to start laughing.
OMG. I must see this now. I could use some serious LOLz.
It’s really good. Definitely watch it!
I had no idea this was a comedy! I thought it was some foreign knock off of Vikings, and scrolled right past. I will give it a watch, now!
Whatever you do, don’t drink anything while watching. I guarantee you’ll choke on your beverage.
OMG!!! I totally need to watch this! I basically hate watch Vikings because the story is fine and following the outlines of the sagas but the costuming.
Some of your fans (not me) are experts in the Viking era. I might be able to talk one or two of them into sending in a guest analysis, if that were a thing you might be interested in.
If it wasn’t known already, “orm” means “snake” in Swedish, so they’re being really subtle there also ;)
It’s absolutely hilarious! But it’s also super inaccurate. Every picture is a bit cringey costume wise, even the village, I’m afraid. Makes me wish I spoke Norwegian though!
Season 2 has dropped on Netflix.
They dropped it already? Darn, I was looking forward to watching another few episodes of this funny gem of a show. I don’t watch much TV but this one was actually a lot of fun. Maybe some other distributor will pick it up.
Season 2 has now available (Netfix has released/dropped the episodes). The show has not been dropped.
“Dropped on Netflix” means made available for viewing, not “canceled.”
THis is one of the funniest series I’ve ever seen, certainly the best spoof EVER.
My favorite moment from Norsemen