Norsemen – only on Netflix
Maybe it’s someone else’s cup of tea, but it certainly wasn’t mine. I got through 1 and a half episodes before I had to quit. Like it was bad enough I was considering putting out my eyes like that one slave guy in episode 2.
The whole whopping pile of problems started with the writing. They had crowd scenes that felt empty because the other actors weren’t given any direction in what they should have been “talking” about. They were drinking, but it visually didn’t look like they were having any kind of party where people were drunk or getting drunk. No one was laughing too loud. No one was collapsing off their bench and getting laughed at. I could FEEL how confined the filming space was and could tell when they were deliberately framing shots to avoid showing anything from the modern time period.
The dialogue itself was very stilted. There were awkwardly long pauses between characters speaking, leaving space for any joke there might have been there to fall on the ground and die, gasping in the void. It felt like they were improvising their lines, but weren’t very good at it and didn’t have any grasp on who or what their characters were supposed to be. The only one who was tolerable was that one slave guy with the short beard, though even he couldn’t decide if his character was mentally deficient or incredibly savvy about surviving being a slave.
The times I did catch on that there was supposed to be a joke, it only consisted of “Look at these godless barbarians! They have tiny pricks and limp dicks! Worse, they can’t keep their wives in line!” PRAISE ODIN when their accents weren’t slipping.
When they weren’t making fun of the lack of sexual prowess of the men, the physical comedy setups were telegraphed so blatantly I saw it coming a mile away – like that slave that got his eyes shot out in episode 2. Additionally, they took too long pulling it off – like when the arrows were pulled out of that guy’s face in episode 2. Too long. Not funny. It should only take a few seconds for the audience to see the trap before it is sprung on the victim. Not five minutes later after an extended monologue about the common use of eyes listing all the common words and phrases in the English dictionary.
On the plus side, the costumes were really well done. However, I’d count that as a negative too. I really wanted to take the show seriously since they’d put so much effort into the costumes. That was the only thing they put effort into, though. They only knew one supposedly Norse word that they shouted all the time unless they were sprinkling “Odin” or “Loki” into their lines liberally. There WERE other Norse gods, yknow, and I don’t think anyone praised Loki with joy upon seeing their father back from Viking. The buildings were wrong as well. How hard is it to stack sod and put a roof on it for a show, guys? You just needed 2 walls to get the illusion. Instead they went all out with wood planking on the outside and just kinda… made stuff up as they went.
I would have more to say on how terrible this show was if I’d watched more, but I’m not a masochist. I’m just … disappointed. It had potential but their writers need to be fired. … at the stake. How I think it could be improved? Embrace that you don’t know much about Norse culture and have someone discuss whether chickens are anachronistically accurate. Have someone using a prop sword to scratch their ass. Throw in someone standing in the background holding a Starbucks looking lost as last year’s Easter egg. Have an extra accidentally walk into the boom mic or trip over a prop. Take a page or two from Monty Python.
But DO cut out some of those awkwardly long pauses between lines. Those didn’t work at all.