Norsemen is a Norwegian comedy television series about a group of Vikings living in the village of Norheim around the year 790.
It originally premiered in Norway under the name Vikingane (Vikings) on NRK1 in October 2016.
It is produced for NRK by Viafilm and the series is written and directed by Jon Iver Helgaker and Jonas Torgersen.
Norsemen takes place in 790’s Norway, with various characters taking leading roles as the series develops.
The story covers the life of Vikings in the village of Norheim, with day-to-day happenings and strife of varying comedic degrees.
As the series progresses, disputes with neighboring villages, including a rival tribe led by the ruthless Jarl Varg, and the efforts of a Roman slave, Rufus, to modernise Norheim’s culture, result in ongoing conflicts.
- Henrik Mestad as Chieftain Olav, the leader of the village. He finds a route to sail west, and is in possession of a much-coveted map.
- Marian Saastad Ottesen as Hildur, Olav’s wife.
- Nils Jørgen Kaalstad [no] as Arvid, the chieftain’s second-in-command. He loves to go on raids but he also wants to settle in the village.
- Kåre Conradi as Orm, husband of Frøya and acting chieftain while his brother Olav, the chieftain, is on a raid.
- Silje Torp as Frøya, a shield-maiden who joins in on raids and is married to Orm.
- Trond Fausa Aurvåg as Rufus, an enslaved actor from Rome who befriends Orm and plans to modernise the village.
- Øystein Martinsen as Kark, a freed slave who has voluntarily returned to his life as a slave.
- Jon Øigarden as Jarl Varg, a rival chieftain who desires the map to the west.
- Kristine Riis as Liv, a farmer’s wife whose husband is killed by Arvid in a duel, so that Arvid can marry her and own the farm.
- Bjørn Myrene as Torstein Hund, Varg’s right-hand man.
The series is filmed in the village of Avaldsnes in Karmøy municipality, Rogaland, Norway, and it was recorded simultaneously in both Norwegian and English-language versions by filming each scene twice.
- The first season of the English version was made available on Netflix’s video streaming service in August 2017 under the name Norsemen, and season two was made available in October 2018.
- Season two was filmed in early 2017.
- Season 03 is named ‘Season 0’, as it tells the story that led up to season 01.
The first season averaged more than one million viewers in Norway, a country with a population of a little over five million.
The New York Times called Norsemen one of the 10 best international TV series in 2017, and one of the best international TV shows of the decade. The Guardian ranked Norsemen the 29th best TV show of 2017.
Norwegian writer Marie Kleve praised the parody violence and how it reflects stories from our time while the characters are living in the Viking era.
The Guardian gave the show a glowing review, and described it as “Monty Python meets Game of Thrones.”
The first season won the Gullruten award in 2017 for Best Comedy Show, and it was also nominated for Best Sound Production (Peter Clausen and Erling Rein).
- Series 01 (2016).
- Series 02 (2017):
- Series 03 (2020):
Production & Filming Details
- Creator(s): Jon Iver Helgaker and Jonas Torgersen.
- Director(s): Jon Iver Helgaker and Jonas Torgersen.
- Producer(s): Marianne Arsky-Andersen, Odd Gunnar Iversen, Anders Tangen, and Oyvind Thoen.
- Writer(s): Jon Iver Helgaker and Jonas Torgersen.
- Music: Johannes Ringen.
- Original Network: NRK1 (Norway) and Netflix (International).
- Release Date: 21 October 2016 to 13 March 2020.
- Running Time: 30 minutes.
- Rating: TV-MA.
- Country: Norway.
- Language: English and Norwegian.