The Last Kingdom (tv show)

THE LAST KINGDOM

DETAILS:

Stars: Alexander DreymonEliza ButterworthIan Hart 
Based on: “The Saxon Stories”, by Bernard Cornwell
Original Network: BBC America, BBC Two, Netflix
First episode date: October 10, 2015

OVERALL: A surprising success. 

STORYLINE

As a child, Uhtred witnessed his father being killed and the Saxon army defeated by invading troops. Danish warlord Earl Ragnar captured Uhtred and raised him in a Danish camp alongside fellow captive Brida, a sharp-tongued girl. Years later, Uhtred is a valiant warrior who is dealt another tragic blow when his home is deliberately set on fire, killing his surrogate family, including Ragnar. Now exiled — alone except for Brida by his side — he vows to avenge Ragnar’s death and reclaim his homeland. But, he must choose between his birth country and the people who raised him. If he is going to help birth a new nation and ultimately recapture his ancestral land he must walk dangerous path between both sides.

BREAKDOWN BY SEASON

SEASON 1

Worth it? Surprisingly good, definitely worth watching.

To be honest I was expecting this to be a Vikings rip-off. I had never heard of the book series at all and didn’t realize it was based on a relatively popular historical-fiction book. This was good enough I am going to add the first book to my audible list just to listen to at work.

The acting starts out pretty well, and takes place mostly in the Danes camps after they capture the boy Uhtred (don’t worry he is only a boy for an episode or two). You get to meet his owner then to become his father Ragnar, is brother Ragnar son of Ragnar and Rutger Hauer playing Ravn (whom I loved), Brida another captured Saxon and Thyra, Uhtred’s adopted sister. Now Rutguer and the rest of of the older cast are gone within a couple episodes so don’t get your hopes too far up.

The story follows Uhtred as he is accused of murdering his father, running to the Saxons and finding his uncle took Uhtred’s rightful throne and finally his journal to King Alfred. It continues as he has a dramatic relationship with the church, the king and more then one woman. It ends on a really good note for the first season, albeit a little sad in some ways.

The production value is way better than I expected as well. Their was obviously a decent budget, or at least someone who knows how to make it look good. There were larger battles that were interesting, and most importantly not every female got raped (thank you for not following GRR Martin’s technique). Don’t get me wrong there is raiding and some uncomfortable moments, especially in the beginning but it isn’t on the level of Game of Thrones.

The story is a lot tighter then other stories in the same vein. I am finding I like this more than Vikings and Game of Thrones, although in all fairness I should probably revisit Vikings before I make a final decision.

Overall I think this is a good tv series to watch. There is already a second season finished and a third season being filmed. I am curious what they will do in Season 2 and will probably report that back at some point. The fact season 3 is by Netflix could be a sign it will get better even.

Pros: Good acting, great sets, and a tight story.

Cons: There are some parts in the middle that drag, and sometimes you want to grab Uhtred and tell him to suck it up, but that is about it.

Here is the trailer:

 

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