Series two of the hilarious Norsemen is now available on Netflix. It follows the story of a village of warriors who have found their way to the west and who go on periodic raids for the new riches to be found there. A competing tribe/clan/group is after the map so that they too can share in the wealth. Much chicanery and double-crossing inevitably ensues. This Norwegian series feels properly authentic (in part thanks to the spectacular landscape and Viking village setting) despite the fact that it contains a lot of modern humour. And don’t go thinking it’s dumb, because the full range of the humour will ‘test’ many a viewer – from surreal humour (with definitely a Monty Python influence/homage), to irony, to slapstick, to visual, to wordplay, to spoof (of A Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings), and it goes on. And the humour always has a point, as it sits in counterpoint to the brutally violent lives of the Norsemen – creating a philosophical and psychological interplay throughout.
You don’t really need to have watched series 1 to appreciate series 2, although it helps. And the series is only six half-hour episodes, so you can do a whole series in a single fun-filled sitting, like I did.
My favourite scenes usually involve the Norsemen having a motivational workshop (in which they agree shared values, etc, a bit like in Ricky Gervais’s The Office) or the ‘volunteer’ slave Kark (@oysteinmartnsn) who ‘enjoys the exercise and social aspect’ of being a slave! Fundamentally, the series deals with questions of identity, manliness, heroism, sexuality, etc, but never becomes judgemental or preachy – it always remains whimsical or wry, reflective and cheerful. There’s even a love story at its heart which feels quite credible. It’s all a bit like life, with its highs and lows, but refuses to get bogged down in navel-gazing.
Without giving too much away, series 2 does move the over-arching story forwards, so I’m now awaiting series 3 with relish. I wonder if I can get a cameo role if they film it on location in the west! If you haven’t caught up with Norsemen yet, then you’re missing out. I score it a civilized 9 out of 10.
(If you enjoy Viking fantasy, you might want to check out The Book of Orm too!)