Review of "The Last Kingdom" on BBC America From The TV MegaSite

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Alexander Dreymon and Emily Cox

"The Last Kingdom" review by Suzanne 10/21/15
Airs Saturdays 10/9c on BBC America

This is a really well-done series about the beginnings of England and its history with the Danes (AKA the Vikings). There are only 8 episodes, although I'm sure that there will be more seasons if this one is successful.

Nowadays what constitutes a series, or a season, or a miniseries, is very convoluted. This is cable, where 8 episodes is a normal amount for one season. Still, they're calling this a miniseries. Whatever. The point is, it's fairly short (not 22 episodes) but very enjoyable.

The hero of the show is young Uhtred, who's kidnapped at a very young age and sees his Saxon father slaughtered. He's raised by the Vikings, and then he sees most of that family killed as well. He's torn between the two lands, which are fighting each other for control of England (and for the natural resources). Uhtred wants to gain control of his title and fight for the Saxons, yet he still has some ties to the Vikings. In the meantime, he grew up and fell for the young Saxon girl Brida, who was also taken from her family and raised by the Danes.  It's a very good story, both about the over-all history and figures in it, as well as the story of Uhtred and his ordeals.

It's way better than "The Vikings," but if you like that show, you might like this one as well. It's not quite as gratuitously violent and filled with sex as that one. It's not boring or anything, but it's much classier.  The acting is excellent and you'll see many familiar faces. You don't want to miss it!


The Last Kingdom premieres Saturday, October 10 at 10/9c. It is a contemporary story of redemption, vengeance and self-discovery set against the birth of England. This historical drama comes from BBC America, BBC Two and the Golden Globe® and Emmy® award-winning producers of Downton Abbey, Carnival Films.

Adapted from Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling series of books “The Saxon Stories,” by BAFTA nominated and RTS award-winning writer Stephen Butchard, The Last Kingdom combines real historical figures and events with fiction, re-telling the history of King Alfred the Great and his desire to unite the many separate kingdoms into what would become England.

Alexander Dreymon (American Horror Story) heads up the international cast from eleven different countries. Emily Cox (The Silent Mountain) stars as Brida, David Dawson (Peaky Blinders) as King Alfred, Rune Temte (Eddie the Eagle) as Ubba, Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street) as Lord Uhtred, Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner) as Ravn, Ian Hart (Boardwalk Empire) as Beocca, Tobias Santelmann (Point Break) as Ragnar the Younger, Peter Gantzler (Italian For Beginners) as Earl Ragnar, Adrian Bower (Mount Pleasant) as Leofric, Joseph Millson (Penny Dreadful) as Aelfric and Henning Valin Jakobsen (The Bridge) as Storri.

Set in the 9th century AD, many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, only the great Kingdom of Wessex stands defiant under its visionary King Alfred the Great (Dawson). It is the last kingdom.

Against this turbulent backdrop lives Uhtred (Dreymon). Born the son of a Saxon nobleman, he is orphaned by the Vikings and then kidnapped and raised as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested. What is he — Saxon or Viking? On a quest to claim his birthright, Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, recapture his ancestral lands.

The Last Kingdom is a show of heroic deeds and epic battles but with a thematic depth that embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love, loyalty and our universal search for identity. Combining real historical figures and events with fictional characters, it is the story of how a people combined their strength under one of the most iconic kings of history in order to reclaim their land for themselves and build a place they call home.

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Page updated 10/21/15

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