One of the most unheralded series on television today is Vikings. The sole original scripted series on History has, over the course of it’s three seasons constantly thrilled and amazed me. The level of quality is unparalleled and the acting is extraordinary. If you haven’t seen Vikings yet, I highly suggest checking the series out.
Vikings: Season 4 Volume 1 is out now on Blu-ray and I’m happy to report the series hasn’t lost a step with the new season. Last season we were left with an ailing Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) confronting Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) about Athelstan’s (George Blagden) murder. Roll (Clive Standen) who betrayed not only his family but all the Vikings by accepting the French Princesses hand in marriage.
That’s a lot to get over in the beginning of the season. When we first see Ragnar, he is healthy and knocking at what appears to be the doors of Valhalla. Balancing between life and death, as he approached the gates they start to close, Ragnar’s flirting with Christianity hasn’t pleased the God’s and Odin in particular.
Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) is making a trip to the Seer to learn more about her fate after Ragnar and if she will rule Kattegat. She learns a woman will indeed rule but doesn’t say who in particular. Could it be Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick)? Floki is still loyal to Ragnar, even with their issues surrounding Athelstan’s death and is trying to aid his recovery.
Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) has returned from a quest and sees his little brother’s growing up. Bjorn is trying to help with Ragnar’s ill state and working to keep everything in check. Porunn has left Bjorn and he’s not happy about it. Bjorn is trying to rally the Viking troops as Ragnar begins to awake from his coma. Bjorn also arrests Floki for the murder of Athelstan.
Lagertha returns to Hedeby along with Kalf (Ben Robson). They bring their share of the French raid’s spoils and Kalf announces that he and Lagertha will rule as partners. In the meantime, Ragnar is fully awake and feast in his honor is put together. Floki’s arrest does not please him because now he can’t get his own revenge.
The thing with Vikings is, so much happens every episode. It’s almost like two episodes worth of plot gets packed into each episode without losing those small character moments that make the series so compelling. The actors this season also are superb. They know their characters like the back of their hands at this point and it’s on full display in this first half of season four.
If you like Game of Thrones, you will love Vikings. It’s, to me at least, more accessible and because it’s based on actual events and people the plot moves along with greater speed. Michael Hirst, who is the series sole writer and creator, has done a master job of creating this world, where we as a viewer are actually rooting for a group of people who live for plundering other lands.
Vikings: Season 4 Volume 1 arrives on Blu-ray in an excellent transfer thanks to 20th Century Fox Home Video. The lush landscapes pop with color on high definition. The darker scenes have little picture fallout and fine details are present throughout. Viewing the series in high definition, it really gives it a cinematic feel and the series really comes to life. In comparison, to the broadcast version of the series, the high definition picture is leaps and bounds better.
Special Features available on this release include:
Extended Episodes – Only on Blu-ray each episode is given a longer running time as well as being uncensored. This is the same as when they air in Canada, well worth the price of the Blu-ray set alone.
The Transformation of Rollo – This is a featurette that focuses on Rollo and how he, as a character has left the Viking community and betrayed his brother again.
The Viking Seafaring Prowess – Is a featurette that talks about the ailing sequences.
The Blu-ray comes housed in an awesome trifold cover that unfolds to reveal the last supper cover art for the series. It looks really great. I love seeing packaging that’s unique and different.
Overall, Viking is clearly one of my favorite series and season four has extended the journey and really added to the legacy of the series. The acting is top notch and I admit I’m nervous to see where the rest of season four goes. I have a feeling it will be a bloody affair. Again, if you haven’t checked out Vikings yet… Where have you been? You’re really missing out on one of the best written and acted series on television.
Vikings: Season 4 Volume 1 is out now on Blu-ray!