The Violent Fantasy Genre is Getting Old

The History Channel’s second season of the brutish and pillage-y saga Vikings premiered Thursday night and was... wait for it... bigger and bloodier than ever. At the end of the episode, audiences were left with a little teaser trailer for what lies ahead in Season 2 and by the looks of it, things get a lot more stabby. In fact, there was so much gratuitous violence in the 45-second teaser that I’m not actually sure what happens in Vikings besides people throwing axes through skulls, punching women (that happens a lot), and having sex (and yes, there’s an alluded to rape).

Is it me or have period piece television developers gotten incredibly lazy since the Game of Thrones phenomenon started? When something like HBO’s mega-smash fantasy drama happen, plenty of execs and showrunners tend to try to ride on the coattails of its success. And in this now over-saturated genre of medieval(ish) fantasy, there is an overwhelming supply of violence and sex. Because that’s so new.

In the Season 2 trailer for Vikings, we get bombarded with guys covered in leather and armor hitting each other, axes, beard braids, just one tough chick, and a curious amount of hot tubs. History Channel, I’m just not sold on this one.

There are plenty of ways to expand on the period/fantasy realm without having to be hyper violent and hyper naked. The Lord of the Rings franchise seemed to manage it just fine. Here are a few suggestions:


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What’s always intrigued me the most about Queen Victoria was her relationship with her husband Albert. The pair were first cousins who had nine children together. And while Victoria, a most powerful and influential monarch, was pregnant, Albert often took over many royal duties. You know there had to be some epic squabbles over that. And come on, we’re all obsessed with things proper and British — ne’er was there a time in history quite like the Victorian era where manner and refinement ruled... with a price, of course. There’s so much juicy history here. And you know, a woman in power.

True Artists

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Along the lines of True Detective , during each season of True Artists, we could step into the world of history’s most celebrated artistes. Spanning thousands of years and thousands more masterpieces there are guarantees of love, betrayal, strokes of genius... and THERE WILL BE OPIUM. And plenty of exploration into the Dark Arts.

Marie Laveau

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Yes, yes American Horror Story: Cove n has already touched on America’s most intriguing Voodoo priestess... but COME ON. There’s so much left to explore. There were also three generations of Marie Laveau — her daughter and granddaughter who practiced the same craft. With so much haunted history in New Orleans, a series based on the three generations of Laveau would be such a trip.

Image: Vikings/History Channel