Vikings Season 1 (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-28-2013, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373637

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Fox/History Channel - 2013
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 408 Minutes
Genre: Action/Drama/History/War/TV

Disc Format: BD-50 (3 Disc Set)
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen
Created by: Michael Hirst
Music by: Trevor Morris
Written by: Michael Hirst
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 15, 2012

"The Storm Is Coming."

Film Synopsis:

Vikings follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok the greatest hero of his age. The series tells the sagas of Ragnar's band of Viking brothers and his family, as he rises to become King of the Viking tribes. As well as being a fearless warrior, Ragnar embodies the Norse traditions of devotion to the gods, legend has it that he was a direct descendant of Odin, the god of war and warriors.

My Take:

Michael Hirst. Heard of him? You might have without knowing it. He wrote Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, as well as TV shows The Tudors and Camelot. He does a commendable job transcribing sufficiently well documented histrionically characters and events into pretty captivating period dramas. With Vikings, he didn't have nearly as much documented facts, as most of what is known about the Vikings was passed down through word of mouth more than writing. Besides the "historically accurate" debate here, the real question to me was how Hirst would do creating the drama and action with much more artistic liberties to take.

The History Channels first original dramatic series, Vikings tells the tales of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), who is documented in old Norse poetry and a few stories as a fierce leader who led his Viking brothers on many missions including becoming quite the nuisance to France and England. The season starts off a bit slow with a super heavy emphasis on character development, however, considering the lack of real documented knowledge, Hirst did a commendable job creating these charters and their world. Once the stage is set the action and drama take off and kept me engaged enough to finish the series in two sittings. The world here is painted as raw, savage and gritty, with violence that is palpable and fitting for the time. Beautiful cinematography and acting, including the always great Gabriel Byrne and Gustafr Skarsgård, helped sell the drama. I will say it left me wanting more as the 9 episode season was still building momentum and felt incomplete. I am very interested in seeing season 2...

Parental Guide:

Violence and language

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 94

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Video: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Vikings comes to Blu-ray disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24.2 mbps DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless surround sound that has a average bitrate of 3.3 mbps.

Vikings looks and sounds amazing in HD. Filmed digitally, it has a film-like quality with some interesting digital enhancements playing with colors to make certain elements pop. Though a more subdued color palette, primaries seem to pop off the screen lending to a slightly artistic look that was quite nice to look at. Mixing this with delineation on most every object on every frame combined to make this a highly recommended reference presentation. The disc's lossless audio was as grueling and relentless as the on screen debauchery. The track is completely immersive with a wide front sound-stage, booming bass, dramatic dynamic shifts and smartly utilized surround channels. Enjoy.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary on Episodes 1 & 9

  • (HD) Extended Versions

  • (HD) Deleted Scenes

  • (HD) Season Mode

  • (HD) A Warrior Society: Viking Culture and Law

  • (HD) Birth of the Vikings

  • (HD) Forging the Viking Army: Warfare and Tactics

  • (HD) Interactive Blu-ray Exclusives

Final Thoughts:

Vikings was absolutely worth a viewing, if for nothing else, the great HD AV experience. I enjoyed the series beginnings, got caught up in its protagonists journey, and got sucked in by how brutal, dirty and real things felt. Fans can be assured that nearly an hour of extra's, multiple commentaries as well as extended episodes with more T&A and blood make it worth getting.


Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS56 3D 1080p 3D High Definition Front Projector
Screen Innovations Solar HD 1.3 120" 2.40:1 CinemaScope Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5509 Pre/Pro
Sunfire Theater Grand 7201 Amplifier
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AudioQuest Wires

Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 3D 1080p Plasma
Marantz NR1603 Receiver
Sony PS3 (HDMI Audio/Video)
MKSound MP-7 LCR's
MKSound SUR-55T Surrounds
MKSound SB-8 Subwoofer
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-28-2013, 01:13 PM
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Thanks Lee.. smile.gif

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post #3 of 11 Old 10-28-2013, 03:47 PM
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Thanks for the review - I'm half way through season 1 and already can't wait for season 2.

Home Theaters were made for shows like this. Or vice versa. Either way, if you have a big screen, surround speakers, and a subwoofer, Vikings is a 9-hour treat.
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-28-2013, 04:02 PM
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I'm though 6 episodes thus far and really enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would. My wife doesn't like all the gore so we've been watching the TV versions, but I may have to sneak in an unrated one to see more of the scenery, if you know what I mean. smile.gif

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post #5 of 11 Old 10-28-2013, 06:12 PM
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Ah, this caught me by surprise...I saw an ad for this show once, but thought was another 1 hour History Channel special. Didn't know this was a full-fledged series. Looks like a blind-buy for me! Thanks Lee.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-28-2013, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
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No problem guys, you are welcome.

And Dave, oh I do know what you mean... smile.gif
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-29-2013, 10:05 PM
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I loved this series, it shows that you dont have to show sex and nudity *caugh* Game of Thrones *cough* to have a great mid evil vibe show, I cant wait for the second season. ^_^

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post #8 of 11 Old 10-30-2013, 02:25 PM
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Finally we see an American Viking production that does not display Vikings with silly horned helmets. Makes me proud to be Scandinavian. Hail Óðinn :-D
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-01-2013, 07:24 AM
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Thanks Lee. I have picked this up to look at it several times. You just pushed me over the edge to

Music so high you can't get over so low you can't get under it!
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-01-2013, 12:39 PM
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Does this disc set have forced subtitles?

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post #11 of 11 Old 11-01-2013, 02:26 PM
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I really hope this is the beginning of many more History Channel series with high quality acting, picture, and audio.
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