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'Vikings' creator talks about first season

Vikings

The History Channel recently completed the first season of 'Vikings,' one of the network's first breakout hits, drawing between 3.3 million and 6.5 million American viewers per episode (the numbers tailed down as the season went along). Its debut episode was the top-rated program in the Sunday night 10 p.m. time slot - a very rare occurrence for History.

The cast of the hit appeared in a panel discussion yesterday in Los Angeles at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre along with Michael Hirst, the creator of the show. Hirst called the success of the season "extremely humbling."

Appearing on stage with Hirst were cast members Travis Fimmel, Clive Standen, Gustaf Skarsgard, George Blagden, Katheryn Winnick and Jessalyn Gilsig.

In discussing the show, Hirst talked about how difficult it was to cast the lead role of Ragnar Lodbrok (which went to Fimmel) and his wife, Lagertha (Winnick). In auditions he said he saw a bunch of “pretty faces,” but not the physical strength he needed in the characters. 

“Most of these guys couldn’t lift an axe," he said. 

While finding the right cast was difficult, making the sometimes barbaric behavior of the Vikings likable to the audience posed an even greater problem. He praised History for letting his story breathe and allowing the characters to be developed in the way he wanted them to.

“A lot of TV shows, like films, are destroyed by executives,” he said.

Hopefully History will not destroy the series when it comes back for its second season sometime in 2014. I have not had the chance to see the show yet, but have heard a lot of good things. Is it worth watching?


Details
Network:
- HISTORY
Show:
- Vikings

Written by: Hamatosan
Jun 8th, 2013, 8:18 am

Images courtesy of History Channel

FireJames

Level 1 (49%)
Points: 9.9
Mood: depressed
Since: 14/May/13
Message Posted On Jun 9th, 2013, 9:11 am
It started on Very Good, but around the 4th or 5th episode it started to drag, You can see that in the ratings... but my roommate loves it. Then again he likes violent shows. As for the short series, I think USA network does it very good... you get 8-10 episodes then 4-5 months later, you get the next 8-10. It keeps us interested and coming back.
sAclvFJOUZ

Level 3 (92%)
Points: 1.3
Since: 16/Mar/06
Message Posted On Jun 8th, 2013, 2:28 pm

I'd rather watch a shorter series with better episodes than a mediocre, 22-episode series. Quantity and quality together are best of all, obviously, but it's a rare combination. Think of the great stuff on BBC -- Luther, Wallander, Sherlock -- that are only 3 or 4 episodes per year. Okay, those are 90-minute episodes, but even the 60-minute programmes -- think Merlin, Doctor Who, Being Human -- are 13 episodes per year. And American cable TV is no different: Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Rectify (6 episodes), Justified, Orphan Black. Even Netflix is joining in.

American "network" television is the only place where 22 to 24 episodes is standard for scripted fare, and let's be honest: most of it is uninspiring.

So, I'll happily re-acquaint myself with a good, short series after a year's absence. Those who dislike short seasons will be disappointed. It's the growing trend.

Anonymous

Message Posted On Jun 8th, 2013, 11:57 am
I enjoyed it, but I doubt it will ever hit top ratings in a Sunday 10pm time slot again - there's just too much competition that's high quality in acting, writing, and directing, not just entertaining and OK in 2 of those 3 areas. I'm unsurprised by the wait time because of what I assume is an expensive and physically challenging production schedule as well as a highly creative and intricate script, which, by necessity will be short, take a while to write, or both.
Hamatosan

Level 4 (93%)
Since: 02/Aug/12
Message Posted On Jun 8th, 2013, 9:38 am

History considers it a hit, one of their biggest.

 

I agree about the wait though. WAY too long.

Inkblot

Message Posted On Jun 8th, 2013, 9:19 am
I would not exactly call 10 episodes a hit. 15 maybe. Todays shows are cut way to short. And the wait time between seasons is way to long to hold interest. It is a good show. But I won't be catching season 2 in 10-12 months. I will have forgotten it by then.
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