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“Vikings” premieres on The History Channel

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“You have been found guilty of murder. How do you wish to die?”

The History Channel has gone through many different phases in its…well, history, as a cable network. From historical documentaries about the Civil War to reality shows like “Pawn Stars”, The History Channel has been able to adapt to what people want while keeping its historical roots alive (yes, I consider someone pawning a World War II pistol for gambling money somewhat educational).

With dramas set in historical periods, like the Showtime series “The Borgias”, gaining major popularity, it appears that scripted shows are coming back strong. The History Channel has embraced that with last year’s mini series “Hatfields & McCoys” and has introduced its first ever, fully scripted TV series, “Vikings”.

“Vikings” premiered last Sunday with the episode “Rites of Passage”, in the popular 10PM time slot, to a major audience. Between “Vikings” and History’s other new scripted series, “The Bible”, it was the the #1 network in all of television for the night among total viewers.

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The 9 episode series revolves around Ragnar Lothbrok (a real historical figure played by Travis Fimmel) who is sort of an anti-hero. A good husband and father, Ragnar wants seeks to have a ship built that can sail him away from the murder and pillaging at home and take him West where he can…murder and pillage there.

Though it seems odd to be rooting for such behavior, Ragnar is the show’s protagonist and you will find yourself rooting for him anyways.

The first episode begins at the end of what seems to be an epic battle. Sword and blood wherever you look, the action sequence is quite intense and sits in the forefront of some beautiful Irish scenery. The action really declines from that point on but the pilot episode really tries to introduce viewers to the politics and lifestyle of the Vikings.

By the end of the episode, one may feel a bit unfulfilled by the story or uncompelled by the characters, but as someone who has had the pleasure of watching the first few episodes already, I highly recommend sticking with the series to really get the most out of it.

Created by Michael Hirst (of “Tudors” fame), “Vikings” shows promise and this is definitely a series I will be Season Passing on my Tivo.

You can watch “Vikings” Sundays at 10PM and if you missed the first episode, it is still running pretty frequently throughout the week.

What did you think of the pilot episode of “Vikings”?