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The Boston Globe

Television

Television review

‘Vikings’: History casts a spell

It’s a little strange to “like” the new History channel series “Vikings,” which is set in the Dark Ages. The Norse hero of “Vikings” is a forward-thinking pillager who decides to break tradition and go west to wealthy Great Britain, rather than east to Russia, to do his brutal raiding. By the end of episode 2 of this nine-part series, we’ve seen him and his boatload of crusty savages massacre the population of a monastery off the coast of England and steal their gold icons. Plus, the guy has a mohawk that even a professional wrestler would scorn.

But I like “Vikings,” History’s first foray into scripted episodic series after the huge success of the scripted miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys.” It’s flawed, with the kinds of cheesy trappings and historical freedoms that turn off some viewers. The show, which premieres Sunday at 10 p.m., falls loosely into the love-it-or-hate-it category of heated-up period dramas such as “The Tudors,” “The Borgias,” and, most of all, “Spartacus.” Not surprisingly, “Vikings” is the creation of Michael Hirst, whose credits include “The Tudors,” “The Borgias,” and “Camelot.” The guy knows his way around torch-lit basements, milords, and their lusty lasses.

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