We started watching another new series on Netflix. After seeing the trailer, we just had to. And it is a good laugh if you’re not shy of gore, sexual references, violence, and references to sexual violence. It appears that the first season was already available in August last year, but the second season just came out.
The whole cast of Norsemen are real Norsemen, i.e. they are all Norwegian actors/actresses. In fact, the whole series is caught on camera twice; first in Norwegian, then in English. And thank heavens they did, because it is a splendid show to watch!
Most notable characters are Jon Øigarden as the chieftain, Kåre Conradi as Orm, the wannabe chieftain, Nils Jørgen Kaalstad as Arvid, the warrior, Silje Torp as Frøya the love interest, Kristine Riis as the other love interest, Marian Saastad Ottesen as the chieftain’s wife, Trond Fausa Aurvåg as Rufus, the Roman slave, and Øystein Martinsen as the ‘voluntary’ slave.
This is what makes the show so funny; it’s a real-life drama with intrigues, romance, adultery, vengeance… the whole kit and kaboodle, but set in 790s Norway. Hence, raiding, killing, and defiling are just in a day’s work.
The first season centers around the question who becomes chieftain after the current chieftain dies (under dubious circumstances). Season two is about the love interests of Arvid, which are many. They’re working on the third season, but it’s not here yet.
What I like about Norsemen
First of all, I love the way the cast speaks English. ‘They really talk like that!’ springs to mind. There is no denying this is a Scandinavian show as the intonations always go up at the end of a sentence (even more so than in Australian!), and you find yourself trying to talk like that as well.
Although I abhor unnecessary violence, the way they use it in the show just makes it hilarious. When I saw the warning of ‘gore, sexual references, violence, and references to sexual violence,’ I must admit I was a bit worried. But there’s no need to worry at all. It is done in an extremely ‘just another day at work’ type of way. There are even some warriors that have a problem with all the defiling they have to do and hold a meeting about it.
I liked that they brought up homosexuality and mentioned that ‘it would only take a couple of years before it was commonly accepted.’ So funny and sad at the same time, but I like a show that tries to instill some modern morals and values in viewers.
The settings and clothing are very well appointed. It gives you an idea of how they lived in those days.
What I didn’t like about Norsemen
The acting is a bit to get used to. As the dialogue is very much ‘said as it is,’ there isn’t much acting necessary. Often, it is rather over the top and predictable, but then again, that’s part of the charm of this series.
There are also some inconsistencies here and there. For example, Arvid and Frøya go to a location on two white ponies and come back on two Fjord horses. These inconsistencies aren’t interfering with the plot, though.
Norsemen is a great show to watch when you want to have a good laugh. It is, however, not for the faint-at-heart or the easily-offended.
The following trailer is spoken in Norwegian with English subtitling, but the series on Netflix really is spoken in English. I just thought this trailer was better than the English version.