Vikings: The Complete First Season Blu-ray
There are a lot of really nice sets out this week, but none really compares to the Vikings: The Complete First Season set, which was carefully designed to impress fans. The collectible outer packaging swoops down into a stylistic “v,” and opening the outer shell reveals a 3-disc Blu-ray set jam-packed with hours of extras. A&E Home video typically puts together the sets for The History Channel’s shows, but Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is behind the Vikings: The Complete First Season set, and it shows.

If the set is nice, the episodes are even better. There’s a lot of detail in Vikings, from the costumes to the weaponry, and it all looks spectacular in HD picture. Vikings is a drama that is unlike anything else on television. It has its own pace, its own rhythm, its own time period and setting. Creator Michael Hirst did a good job of placing Vikings in a unique world for television, and it’s no surprise that millions of viewers stuck with the drama through its first season run.

Season 1 largely focuses on a young Viking called Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), a dreamer and a schemer who wants more for his wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and his son, Bjorn (Nathan O’Toole). During the course of the first ten episodes, he puts in motion a set of events that will change his Viking community forever by building a set of longships with his friend Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) that leads to raids in a brand new territory. Clive Standen, Donal Logue, and Gabriel Byrne also star in the first season of the drama.

What is most enjoyable about Vikings is its storytelling, which intertwines moments of escalating violence and hardship with mystical premises and sharp dialogue. History’s new series is the full package, and if you give it a shot, it’s doubtful you’ll be disappointed.

You can order Vikings: The Complete First Season over at Amazon.

Best Special Feature: I can’t say enough nice things about this set. During the extras, I felt as if I was halfway watching documentary material and halfway invested in a set that looks like the The Lord of the Rings. There are interactive maps and behind-the-scenes segments. There are videos featuring professors of history talking about the historical relevance of the series and cast members talking about their experiences. My favorite segment is “A Warrior Society: Viking Culture and Law,” which really goes into depth about what we know about the Vikings and how this information is used in History’s series.

If I have any complaints, it is that the audio commentaries and deleted scenes are spread across several of the discs and the menu isn’t extremely easy to navigate. Most of the time, sets have the pop-up menu feature available, but with this set I kept having to find the back button to return to the main page.

Other Special Features:
Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary on Select Episodes
“A Warrior Society: Viking Culture and Law”
“Birth of the Vikings”
“Forging the Viking Army: Warfare and Tactics”
“The Armory of the Vikings”
“Conquest and Discovery: Journeys of the Vikings”

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