Top 5 Shows To Watch If You Like “Vikings”
I’ve compiled my Top 5 list of shows that follow in the spirit of Vikings. Some are about Vikings, some follow other groups of warriors throughout history, and some feature more of the medieval swords and shields battles that Vikings has become famous for. If you’re here just to see epic battles, you’ll find what you need in these shows that are similar to Vikings.
1. Game of Thrones
Where to watch: HBO
I’ll start with the obvious pick: HBO’s Game of Thrones. In fact, since Game of Thrones predates Vikings by a few years, it’s quite possible you found Vikings because of your love of Game of Thrones. But if for some reason you haven’t seen Game of Thrones, then a) where have you been, and b) you’ll find the only show in the last decade that has better battle scenes than Vikings does. And contrary to what you may have been told, Game of Thrones doesn’t emphasize fantasy elements. Yes, there are dragons, but when author George R.R. Martin crafted the story, he based it on history, specifically the War of the Roses in which several different families laid claim to the crown. It’s your call whether you want to watch the final two seasons, which sadly didn’t live up to the rest of the show.
2, The Last Kingdom
Where to watch: Netflix
Of all the shows on this list, The Last Kingdom is going to be most like Vikings, and should be your first stop if you’re trying to relive the thrills of Ragnar and company. Based on Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories, The Last Kingdom nearly overlaps with the events of Vikings (which begins in 793), starting with the 866 Viking conquest of York. The show’s hero is Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a Saxon who is adopted by invading Vikings and raised as one of their own after the Vikings conquer his homeland, pulling him in two different directions as he has the blood of a Saxon but came of age as a Danish Viking. As the two shows are loosely based on the same history, some characters appear in both shows at different ages in similar stories separated by a generation of history.
3. Black Sails
Where to watch: Hulu, Starz
If “Yarrrrrr” is more your speed than “Skoll!,” then set sail for the underrated pirate drama Black Sails. Like Vikings, it intricately details a culture that most of us know more from Halloween costumes than actual history, with different factions set up against each other as they all want the same thing. In Vikings‘ case, it’s land, in Black Sails‘ case, it’s treasure. Black Sails is actually a gritty prequel to Treasure Island, with characters like Long John Silver, Captain Flint, and Billy Bones from Robert Louis Stevenson’s books brought to life in a thrilling drama. It doesn’t have as many battles as Vikings, focusing more on the renegade cutthroat strategy of these sea-faring bandits, but when ships do clash in the crystal-blue open waters, it’s some of the best action ever seen on TV.
Where to watch: Starz
You know what? It’s OK to like Vikings for its bloodletting. And if it’s spurting crimson you want, it’s a tidal wave you’ll get in the Starz series Spartacus. One of the most brutal and violent series ever, Spartacus is set in 72 B.C in the Roman Empire and follows the gladiators who made murder a sport, which Spartacus is more than happy to show off in artfully cinematic ways. And in keeping with the hedonism of the times, the show is also loaded with sex and nudity, because I know that’s also your thing.
5. The Witcher
Where to watch: Netflix
If Vikings‘ complex political drama is what intrigues you, you’ll get a faceful of the same in Netflix’s The Witcher. It’s far more fantasy-based, however, spectacularly bringing Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels about a monster hunter fulfilling an unknown destiny to the small screen, while also laying out an expansive battle for a continent between a brutish empire and several independent nation-states. Plus, Henry Cavill is the only other charismatic sword-swinging hunk who can hold a candle to Travis Fimmel.