Add yet another familiar name to the growing list of cable networks dabbling in original scripted content, with History looking to make its mark with the ambitious historical drama, Vikings.
Headed up by writer Michael Hirst, who has worked on similar adaptations such as Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Tudors and most recently, Starz' short-lived sword and sorcery series Camelot, Vikings will be a 10-episode series expected to air on History sometime in 2013.
The story will follow Ragnar Lothbrok, a real historical figure, as he rises from the Viking tribe's greatest warrior to their eventual king. According to History, the series will “will boast a polished, stylized look that pushes the boundaries of television drama” highlighted by “imaginatively choreographed battles that emphasize individual points of view, strategies and ruses rather than mindless, graphic slaughter.” So it's safe to say that Vikings won't be completely like Starz' historically based hit series, Spartacus: Vengeance.
History channel general manager Nancy Dubic had this to say in regards to the upcoming series:
“This is an amazing crossroads for History embarking on our first scripted series. People think they know about the Vikings – we see references to them all the time in our popular culture from TV commercials to football teams – but the reality is so much more fascinating and complex, more vivid, visceral and powerful than popular legend.”
Vikings marks the first series from MGM TV since the studio emerged from bankruptcy. The series was ordered last year with the intention of having Vikings go straight to series upon order. Hirst will oversee the production as executive producer on the series, which will be filmed at various locations across Northern Europe and at the recently erected Ashford Studios in Ireland.
This will be the second Norseman-related project to be announced in recent weeks, following news of the comic adaptation Cowboy Ninja Viking, which may turn the spotlight back on to such projects as Mel Gibson's proposed Berserker film - which, at one time, had Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star. Although DiCaprio is no longer involved, should History's series and Cowboy Ninja Viking prove successful, it may not require such star-power to get Berserker off the ground.
History's ambitious project may serve to not only reignite interest in Vikings, but also forever alter the network's course.
Screen Rant will update Vikings with casting and filming details as they emerge.