Vikings TV Poster Image


Violent, mature drama has amiable, legendary hero.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The protagonist is motivated by adventure, family responsibilities, and a sense of destiny, and his actions challenge a status quo that relegates most of his compatriots to a mediocre existence under a controlling chieftain. The story is set in a time when conflict, violence, and corporal punishment were the norm and children were raised to accept it.

Positive role models

Ragnan challenges tradition in ways that threaten trouble for his family, but he risks it for the hope of a better future. He lives in a violent time, so the fact that he kills and abducts to get what he wants isn't surprising, but the story shows that he's also a loving father and husband and a spiritual follower of the Norse gods. Other characters aren't as noble; his brother has designs on his wife, and the Viking lord throws his weight around to keep the locals in line.


Gratuitous and realistic. Bloody battles show close-up sword fights, stabbings, and agonizing death. Corporal punishment is carried out by beheading (in one scene, the victim's head is held up after death to the crowd's cheers) and a stoning gauntlet, among other varieties. Sexual assault and physical attacks are a constant threat to women and children as well.


Bedroom scenes show moments before and after intercourse, but not the act itself. Steamy foreplay involves kissing, fondling, and one partner mounting the other; afterward they lie together in various stages of undress (men are shirtless, women's breasts are covered by a blanket). Sexy talk, as when a woman tells her husband, "I want to ride you like a bull."


Rarely "piss."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Vikings drink what's presumed to be ale or beer of some kind, and kids "of age" (which turns out to be 12) get to partake. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Vikings is a gritty historical drama that chronicles the rise of legendary Norse revolutionary and hero Ragnan Lothbrok from a common raider to eventual Viking king. The series is violent, often exceedingly so, with graphic battle scenes that show close-up fighting, stabbings, stonings, beatings, and even the occasional beheading. Other mature topics like rape emerge, and steamy love scenes keep nudity to a minimum (women cover their chests with blankets, men are shirtless), but play up sexy foreplay and explicit bedroom talk. But set against the backdrop of this brutal era is a dynamic story of a loving family man whose foresight and determination took him to unexplored lands and eventual fame and power.

What's the story?

VIKINGS centers on Ragnan Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), a farmer and hired raider under the direction of chieftain Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne). While Haraldson is content sending his men to pillage the impoverished lands to the east of Norway, Ragnan is drawn to the unexplored western sea, guided by new directional tools and a strong sense of destiny. He enlists the help of his friend, Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard), to create a stronger, faster ship that can weather the unknown, and joins forces with his brother, Rollo (Clive Standen), for the dangerous journey, leaving his wife, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), at home with their children.

Is it any good?


From the writing genius of Michael Hirst (The Tudors, Elizabeth) comes an inspired, artistic series based on real people and events that gives viewers a unique inside-out look at this mysterious clan of historical players often represented as ancient street thugs. Vikings tries to change that long-held impression, putting a surprisingly sympathetic spin on Ragnan and telling the tale from the point of view of this celebrated visionary, devoted father, and spiritual devotee who rose to power because of his impulse to push boundaries. Crafty cinematography drops viewers into a land of long ago, carrying them along for the dangerous but exhilarating ride alongside Ragnan, his family, and his men.

But for all of Vikings' historical value, the show is never lacking action, adventure, romance, intrigue, and suspense, making it an extraordinarily enjoyable watch. Don’t sweat it if your knowledge of Norse legends is limited to Thor; you'll find yourself quickly caught up in this real-life drama played out by the talented Fimmel and a sensational supporting cast. If your teens can stomach the raw violence and mature sexual content, this is a fantastic series that will introduce you to a whole new set of historical figures and may inspire some supplementary research into the legends that inspired the show.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the challenges that accompany new adventures. How do you know when a risk is worth taking? What can be learned from failure? Is success any sweeter because of the risks taken?

  • How reliable are cultural legends and oral history? What role do they play in your beliefs about history or religion?

  • Is Ragnan a heroic character? Is he violent, or is that a product of his surroundings? How do we assign fame today? Are modern-day heroes any more or less deserving of their stations than someone like him?

TV details

Premiere date:March 3, 2013
Cast:Gabriel Byrne, Katheryn Winnick, Travis Fimmel
Topics:Adventures, History
TV rating:TV-14

This review of Vikings was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byluvbunni86 March 14, 2013

More sexual scenes then told.

To add to all the other sexual situations, a viking rapes a woman ( though no skin is shown its implied that isnt what the woman wants. Many scenes are shown with a man and woman physically abusing each other in between there make out moments. I thought this would be an educational show to watch considering its the history channel, but there are many things that I dont need or want children to be educated about. ( take the sex out ) and it would be a lot better.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 14 years old Written byHeq073198 March 31, 2013

I love it

I really really like this show. And honestly, it's a show about the Vikings, who are notorious for being gruesome. I am not a squeamish person, at all, so honestly I haven't even cringed at the blood. Did you honestly think this was going to be a family show? The "disrespect" towards other cultures is an accurate depiction of Vikings' relationships with other civilizations. There are constant hints at the imminent conversion to Christianity this culture faced. The monk was interrogated by a Viking priest, where he is asked three times to deny his faith. Now even the least educated in the Christian faith will understand the symbolism there. I think the amount of sex and violence is accurate to what the Viking society was actually like, and being historically accurate is the point of this show isn't it?
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 16 years old Written bySquatch April 2, 2013

"Vikings" IS BAD

This Common Sense Media review doesn't accurately review the show because it is only based on the 1st episode. The review doesn't add the fact that their are multiple scenes of rape (some attempted and some successful). The main character can be a postive influence but he like many other characters in the show disrespect the culture of other lands, like Christianity in England. This is likely due to the creator's desire to accurately display the vikings. Few scenes with some sort of strong drink. Lots of violence in this show during fight scenes. It's a good show for adults, but it's not for kids due to sexual content and violence.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking