Remember my “Game of Thrones” post I wrote here last year? I know two things about that post. One: people either loved it or hated it. Two: it set a record for most views that entire month. Many people were super-mad I didn’t watch seasons of material I find distasteful before I made my decision about whether or not I like the show. But I’m allowed to say I’ve tried to watch and got grossed out by the gore and tons of naked women and rape scenes aplenty. Others understood and shared their reasons for not watching the popular show. And there were other people in the middle, who continue to watch even though there are graphic aspects that they don’t like.
Whether you’re a fan of GoT and looking for another fantasy show to fill the void until the next season starts (probably not for about a year), or you’re not a fan for some of the same reasons I’m not a fan, I wanted to tell you about a show that’s a little bit like “Game of Thrones” minus dragons and lots of gore and naked women and rape. It’s called “The Last Kingdom” and it’s a British BBC show that will be starting a second season on May 5.
“TLK” takes place in the late 9th century in England. It follows the life of a young boy who is born a Saxon but who is taken prisoner by the Danes (think Vikings) and raised as a Dane. Fate leads him to lose his adopted family and then be exiled from the Danish community. He roams the land as a rebel to both sides; accepted by neither, feared by both, trying to find his place. The actor’s name isAlexander Doetsch and he is indubitably very handsome, but not unbelievable as this Saxon/Danish wanderer.
One of the things I love about this show is the female lead who is with him for the first episodes of season one. Her character, Brida, is also a former slave and she and our lead man have only each other to trust and rely on. What I love about her is that she is bad-ass in the way sci-fi and adventure-y lead females are, but she’s not drop dead gorgeous like a lot of these sci-fi and adventure-y females tend to be. She’s very plain looking and there are even comments about it in the show: men comment that she’s not pretty, but our lead man seems perfectly taken with her and he’s super foxy, so it’s all working really well for me.
I also like that while there are battle scenes and some blood, the plot is what drives this show; not gore. In the same way, while there are sexy scenes and romantic intrigue, they aren’t the focal point of any of the relationship plot lines. I’ve maybe seen a woman’s breast very briefly maybe twice, but everyone has a ‘normal’ woman body, no one is a supermodel, and it feels totally non-gratuitous.
Many of the actors are European and it was filmed in Hungary. It’s not a complicated show; you can follow it pretty well and they do a handy recap at the beginning of each episode. It’s gotten me very interested in pagan versus Christian battles, and I’m told to try “Vikings” next.
I’ve been really comforted by the fact that there are shows out there that I can enjoy without being grossed out or forced to watch women being tortured routinely. It’s also not a show about wonderful people becoming horrible or about anything post-apocalyptic and scary. It’s just my speed, and it’s even pushing my comfort zone a little bit which is sometimes a good thing.
I highly recommend you try out “The Last Kingdom” and see where the adventure takes you.