still shot of two women sitting on either side of a man at a dinner table

photo credit: Netflix

Another Norwegian TV series has broken into the North American market to satisfy the public’s fascination with the Viking age.

Set in 790 A.D. in the settlement of Norheim, Norsemen is a spoof on ancient Viking life with a twist: the characters may look the part of ruthless pillagers, but the plot involves thoroughly modern problems. A woman broods that her warrior husband cannot match her intellect, a slave feels artistically unfulfilled, and a chieftain roleplays his sham marriage with little success.

The original Norwegian series is called Vikingane [“The Vikings”] and the same versatile cast re-filmed every scene in English for Norsemen, so the humor carries over and there is no need to read subtitles. Unfortunately, the original Norwegian version is not available to North American Netflix viewers.

Lines are delivered in irreverent deadpan or with melodramatic bluster, and the occasional violence plays out comedically rather than for the glorification of gore. Filmed in Avaldsnes, Karmøy municipality in Rogaland county, Norsemen takes place in locations that were once actual Viking settlements.

Season 1 of Vikingane averaged one million viewers per episode—one fifth of Norway’s populace. It won a Gullruten [Golden Screen] award in 2017 for Best Comedy Show. The Gullruten Awards are Norway’s annual award ceremony for excellence in the Norwegian TV industry. In 2017, The New York Times put Norsemen on its top 10 list of best international TV series.

The first season of Norsemen garnered so much attention that it was picked up as a Netflix Original, with the second season following shortly thereafter. Season 3 premieres in Norway this fall on NRK and is expected to be available for North American viewers in 2020.

View the Season 1 trailer of Norsemen on YouTube.