Top 10 Things We Learnt About Season 2 & 3 of Vikings

CaptureThe world of television is certainly becoming bigger and better with each passing season, and with that comes a need to look into other avenues of success. Step forward online streaming services such as Amazon Prime Instant Video (previously LoveFilm), which offers a world of movies and television shows right to your TVs, tablets, PCs and more. What started as a collection of some of the most popular offerings from the usual networks has now developed further with Amazon Prime Instant Video airing exclusive series like Vikings, the second season of which premieres exclusively in the UK on Amazon Prime Instant Video on 28 February 2014.

Michael Hirst, well known for writing and producing The Tudors, created Vikings for History in the US, looking to once again bring a historical element to television in a dramatic and enthralling way. It’s easy to compare to Game Of Thrones, especially considering both show’s filming ties to Ireland, but Vikings covers an era that many are familiar with and much of it has a tinge of realism that Thrones doesn’t. Hirst is experienced in balancing the best parts of real life and turning those into something even more entertaining, and Vikings is certainly a strong show for Amazon Prime Instant Video.

We had a chance to learn more about the show from Michael Hirst, and also hear from one of the main stars of the show, Katheryn Winnick, who plays Lagertha, the wife of main character Ragnar (Travis Fimmel). This is what we learnt about the development of the show, the upcoming second season and Hirst’s future plans:

1. Vikings has been an idea floating around Michael Hirst’s mind for many a year.

Hirst’s father once bought him a toy Viking, which he still has to this day. The Vikings seemed to have an unconscious appeal to him, much like many other children, and he sees it as similar to a fear of sharks – you don’t need to see them in order to know they are frightening, and the Vikings have that aura about them. Everyone has an image in their head about Vikings and what they represent. It’s something visceral and that’s been played on in developing the show. In promoting the show, it simply needed a poster that said ‘Vikings’ on it to pique people’s interest.

2. Amazon Prime Instant Video is the future of television.

Hirst sees innovation and streaming as the way forward and Amazon Prime Instant Video (previously LoveFilm) has been a great supporter of the show. It caters to a new generation of people consuming shows in a different manner, and breaks the norm. British television is dominated by traditional scheduling so Amazon Prime Instant Video has come in and shaken things up.

3. Gabriel Byrne is an actor’s actor.

The show has a lot of young talent and all of them thoroughly enjoyed working with Gabriel Byrne and learning from him in the first season. You don’t necessarily have to have lines to be great in a scene, and Gabriel was very generous in interacting with the younger talent and others like Jessalyn Gilsig (Glee, Heroes).

Capture4. The Vikings were outdoor people, so shooting the show can be tough.

While most shows involve 70% interior shooting and 30% outdoors, Vikings is more 50/50. The weather can be a shoot’s worst enemy, but the Vikings lived in dark huts in winter settings so the show has to do it justice. There’s an element of luck that no shoot has ever stopped due to rain, and in fact that type of weather enhances the look and atmosphere of battles.

5. Season 2 builds on the themes of love, relationships and family.

Hirst wanted to develop some of the thematic issues that the first season began to explore such as the love between brothers, men and women, and children also. Travis Fimmel enjoys working with the younger cast and knows it’s a very important part of the culture. There’s also the theme of conflict between Christianity and Pagan worship, delving deeper into understanding those more unknown areas. Overall, season 2 is about taking everything to a higher level.

6. Season 3 is being written right now.

Everything gets bigger and better, as expected. The show needs to go to Ireland, Iceland and ultimately America. Hirst would love to take Vikings that far. Even if the main character dies, he had lots of sons who became almost as famous as him, so there’s plenty of possibilities on the horizon!

7. Vikings feels more like working on a movie than a TV show.

Katheryn Winnick maintains a love of working in all media, and with the advances in television, she appreciates the chance to show different layers to her character. There’s a luxury to that development that is difficult in film where there’s less of a chance to learn about the character as you go on. In the end, it comes down to the material and the quality that’s delivered on paper and on screen.

8. The cast of Vikings is like one big family.

It’s a very interesting dynamic with everyone being close, getting together for pints and going round to each other’s houses for dinner. Winnick is originally from Canada and relocates for six months from June to November, so it’s important to have that atmosphere, with people from around the world. Canadians, Norwegians, Brits, Swedes and such an eclectic mix bring their own talents and life experiences to the show.

9. There is a lot of trust placed in Michael Hirst’s writing.

Winnick knows her character will be portrayed in a certain way and relies on that. There are bold choices that can be made about the character because, even though she’s real historically, much of the information has been lost so gaps have to be filled in. The role is attractive because of the portrayal of women at the time and the culture and the way people lived.

10. Katheryn Winnick may well have a future behind the camera.

She is currently learning about producing and how to get projects off the ground. She has a love for film and TV making and hopes to get involved in those aspects in some way in the future. There is so much to learn about, from the angles to the lighting and creating the right tone of a scene. It’s a fascinating playground of learning and there’s so much to take on board whenever she’s on set.

Vikings Season 2 premieres exclusively on Amazon Prime Instant Video (previously LoveFilm) on 28 February 2014.