Downton Abbey may be ending after this season, but the executive producers on the show aren’t resting on their laurels. Instead, they’ve signed on for The Last Kingdom, an historic TV drama looking at the birth of England in 9th century Northumbria. That description doesn’t sound particularly over-the-top, but if you check out the first full trailer for The Last Kindom, you should see that violence and warfare will reign supreme.
The battle-driven The Last Kindom looks nothing like Downton Abbey, with its polite pleasantries and detailed silk costumes. Instead, the closer comparison is Vikings, the History Channel original drama that began its story in the late eighth century. The Carnival Films co-production with BBC America will follow a Saxon who sees Danes invade as a young man. He’s kidnapped and later adopted by a Danish family, and sometime later that young Saxon, Uhtred, will see a group of Danes set his surrogate family’s home ablaze. Uhtred will find himself caught in the middle—neither truly a Saxon nor truly a Dane. In addition, his Saxon lands have been taken by his scheming uncle. It all sounds pretty complex, but we don’t see a lot of it in the trailer.
Instead, we see men in chain armor and carrying wooden shields. We see swords getting drawn and horses being ridden fast and furiously. We even see a couple making out in a dark room, because a period drama wouldn’t be a period drama without a little romance.
The upcoming series stars American Horror Story’s Alexander Dreymon, The Silent Mountain’s Emily Cox, Peaky Blinders’ David Dawson, Ripper Street’s Matthew Macfadyen, Rune Temte, Rutger Hauer and Ian Hart. Eight episodes will be produced for Season 1 of The Last Kingdom, which is one of the few things the new BBC America series does have in common with Downton Abbey.
The Last Kingdom is based on a series of books written by Bernard Cornwell. Like Outlander, there are a ton of books in the series and thus a ton of material for a TV show. We first learned there was interest in The Last Kingdom a little over a year ago. At the time, we also learned that the ambitious project would feature both fictional and real historical characters, and so far the results look intriguing. Let's just hope it can compete with the other period dramas on the air.
We’ll find out soon enough. The Last Kingdom will hit the schedule on Saturday, October 10 at 10 p.m. ET, only on BBC America. In the meantime, you can find out what else is coming out with our fall TV premiere schedule.