A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Last Kingdom is a weighty drama with serious themes that's punctuated by bloody battles and other violent visuals, including severed heads and people being tortured and burned alive. Romance is part of the plot (as is adultery), but the series suggests sex with tasteful cutaways. Language is light (with rare use of words such as "hell" or "ass"), with occasional social drinking.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When invading Vikings kill his Saxon nobleman father in battle, young Uhtred is kidnapped by Norsemen who raise him as one of their own while the Vikings continue their attack on England's various kingdoms. Years later, a now-grown Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) -- accepted as neither Saxon nor Dane -- finds himself faced with the task of claiming his birthright under the weight of his heavily divided loyalties. Meanwhile, the ambitious King Alfred (David Dawson) of Wessex, which is THE LAST KINGDOM standing, makes plans to unite England and spread Christianity.
Is it any good?
With high production values, strong writing, and compelling characters, this series rivals some of the best and bloodiest epics on TV -- a good thing, considering it's a pretty crowded race. And though it lacks the fantastical elements of, say, Game of Thrones, it bears the stamp of Downton Abbey's Emmy Award-winning executive producers and injects an intriguing mix of personalities (albeit most of them male) into the classic vengeance/redemption plot.
Life in The Last Kingdom is dreary, messy, and rightfully bloody, considering it's adapted from the first book in Bernard Cornwell's historical fiction series The Saxon Stories, which in turn is based on actual events in British history. But the show takes a surprisingly less graphic approach than some of its peers when it comes to sex, making this brooding drama a decent choice for older teens (and their parents).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Last Kingdom's portrayal of life in ninth-century England. How close to the truth do you think the series gets in terms of violence, social politics, and conflict among the real-life Vikings and Anglo-Saxons? Is it important for a television show that's set in a specific time period to be historically accurate?
How does The Last Kingdom compare to the series of novels that inspired it? What makes a TV adaptation successful, and how faithful should it be to its source material?
How big of a role do women play in The Last Kingdom's plot? Why do men make up so much more of the main cast?
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