While History hasn’t become a major player in the original programming game, it’s big scripted drama Vikings has certainly found success over at the cable channel. The network is gearing up to air its fourth season on the network, and this week, Vikings got some very good news. The show already had a huge 16-episode order for Season 4, but now History is actually ordering 20 episodes of the drama, which is closer to a network order than that of the average cable series.

Here’s what’s happening. Instead of rolling straight through all of the episodes this winter/spring, History is splitting the season, similar to how AMC's The Walking Dead airs its lengthy season, or how Outlander aired its first season over at Starz last year. An announcement from History indicates that Season 4 will hit the schedule on Thursday, February 18. Then, with no gaps, History will air the first 10 episodes of Season 4 every Thursday for 10 weeks. Then, the other 10 episodes are expected to hit the schedule later in 2016.

If you’ve been keeping tabs on the critically acclaimed period drama, you may know that ratings were down a bit during Season 3. However, Vikings was still pulling well over 2 million viewers each week, which is better than decent for a cable series. The question is whether the mega-order is happening in order for the drama to wrap or if it is happening in the hopes that if Vikings is on our TVs on a more regular schedule, more people will stay engaged with the series year round. Maybe Season 4 simply needed 20 episodes to tell its story, as well. History does seem pretty confident with its drama, renewing the show well before Season 3 finished airing, so I’m guessing this is more of a confident move than anything else.

We don’t have too much longer to wait to find out whether the additional four episodes will include some filler eps or be a wholly engaging narrative. The drama’s coming back in just a couple of months, picking up where Season 3 left off. When last we left the series, the crew had headed up the Seine and into Paris, culminating in a huge battle that left our protagonist Ragnor the victor but ill. Things should continue to be pretty epic in Season 4,as evidenced by the trailer released at Comic-Con this year:
In addition, the show has already announced some guest stars, including Peter Franzén, Jasper Pääkkönen and Dianne Doan.

You can catch the series' big return on February 18 at 10 p.m. ET. In addition, here's what else is coming up at midseason.

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