Inspired by early sagas of medieval Scandinavia, Vikings loosely follows the life and legend of Viking chieftain Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), a Norse hero notoriously known as a scourge of France and England. Lothbrok was the first Viking to emerge from folklore and etch himself into history, blending history and myth to create a war-torn tale prime for television.
The series began at the start of the Viking Age following Lothbrok from his early days as a farmer to his rise to fame as conqueror and King of Kattegat. Lothbrok and his crew and descendants explore and raid distant shores, led by their own ambition, innovation and hunger for conquest leading to ruthless warfare, bloodshed and gore. Despite its barbaric front, the show also explores themes of family, brotherhood, religion and superstition, diving deep into Ragnar’s familial patchwork and love for his wives, first, Lagertha and later, Aslaug.
The series returns to complete its fifth season later this year, but you can watch Vikings streaming online now and catch up before it’s back. Here’s how you can watch it.
How to Watch Vikings Online & Stream the Complete Series
In the United States, the first four seasons and the first half of the fifth season of Vikings are all available on both Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Here’s how to watch via either service:
If you have Prime, or if you want to sign up for a free 30-day trial of Prime, you can watch the first 59 episodes of Vikings on your computer right here, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
Hulu: If you simply want Hulu’s extensive on-demand library, which includes all previously aired episodes of Vikings, you can sign up right here. It costs $7.99 per month for the limited commercials plan or $11.99 per month for the no commercials plan.
Hulu With Live TV: If you want to watch new Vikings episodes live as they air in addition to old ones on-demand, you can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV”. This option gives you access to Hulu’s extensive on-demand library, as well as a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels, including the History Channel. It costs $39.99 per month for the plan that includes limited commercials with the on-demand content or $43.99 per month for the plan that includes no commercials with the on-demand content.
Once signed up for either of the above options, you can watch every episode of Vikings (old and new) on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead
How Many Vikings Seasons Are There?
There are five total seasons of Vikings, with Part 2 of its fifth season coming later this year. It’s also been announced that the show has already been renewed for Season 6 which will air sometime in 2019.
Vikings Season 1
9 Episodes | March 2013 – April 2013
Season 1 introduces viewers to Viking chieftain Ragnar Lothbrok and his crew, and follows Lothbrok’s quest to become Earl and raid England. A former farmer, his ambition slowly pits him against the current earl, Earl Haraldson, whose plan consists of sending his raiders to the poor east rather than the uncharted territory of the west. Ragnar teams up with Floki, a boat builder, to craft a new generation of ships fit enough to navigate the rough northern seas. With a new fleet at hand, Ragnar is armed and ready to take over and make some serious moves.
Vikings Season 2
10 Episodes | February 2014 – May 2014
Ragnar is now an Earl and allied with King Horik. With his new status comes more power, fueling his desire to sail further west and explore new territories. His thirst for exploration remains seemingly unquenchable. Season 2 tests the loyalties of those close to him, including certain friends and brothers, while unlikely alliances are formed for strategic purposes. Ragnar’s unfaithfulness puts his marriage to Lagertha in jeopardy, and ruins his relationship with his son. Under the watching eyes of the gods, plots and scores are put into action, while blood is spilled over everything the vikings touch.
Vikings Season 3
10 Episodes | February 2015 – April 2015
Still enchanted with the idea of England, Ragnar leads his people to uncertainty on the shores of Wessex. Despite his accomplishments, Ragnar’s restlessness churns inside him as he constantly searches for something more. The answer seemingly lies in the city of Paris. After a few unsuccessful attempts, Ragnar and his men come together to break down the impenetrable city’s walls to cement the Vikings’ legend in history.
Vikings Season 4
20 Episodes (10 each for Parts 1 and 2) | February 2016 – April 2016, November 2016 – February 2017
Ragnar returns home with a victory under his belt, but is dangerously ill by the time he reaches Kattegat. His health status motivates those wishing to succeed him as king, including his second wife, Queen Aslaug, and his oldest son, Bjorn. Lagertha’s power struggles with her former second in command, Kalf, continue. Floki is seized for his actions toward the Christian priest Athelstan. Ten years pass in between Parts 1 and 2, and Ragnar’s reappearance sets off an unpredictable chain of events that ends in tragedy: he’s thrown into a pit of venomous snakes at the hand of King Ecbert.
Vikings Season 5
20 Episodes (10 each for Parts 1 and 2) | November 2017 – January 2017, Part 2 to come in 2018
The series shifts focus after the death of Ragnar and departure of actor Travis Fimmel. The show now follows the adventures of Ragnar’s sons who are engaged in a state of civil war. Ivar claims the title of king over Kattegat, while Ubbe sides with Lagertha against their alliance. In England, King Aethelwulf and bishop Heahmund wage war against the Nordic invaders. Bjorn follows his destiny (and father’s footsteps) as he begins exploring northern Africa. Floki makes a discovery that will change the world of the Norsemen forever.
What Are the Best Vikings Episodes?
Battles, betrayals, bloodshed! So many epic moments have occurred so far in the first five seasons. Here a few of the best Vikings episodes.
Season 3, Episode 10: “The Dead”
Ragnar’s army has one final chance to invade Paris, pulling a Trojan Horse-style tactic to get inside. They place the supposedly dead Ragnar in a coffin that gets escorted inside the city walls. Ragnar surprises the French, takes Princess Gisla hostage, and forces the guards to open the gates and let his crew inside. All this excitement is topped off by the episode’s final moments when Ragnar tells Floki that he knows he killed Athelstan.
Season 2, Episode 10: “The Lord’s Prayer”
In the explosive Season 2 finale, Ragnar and King Horik meet again in Kattegat where a final showdown between viking leaders is about to go down. To gain his trust, Floki poisons Torstein, which gets Horik to reveal his plan to kill Ragnar and his family. Horik then orders Siggy to kill Ragnar’s children, but once Horik’s attack on Kattegat begins, he finds Torstein alive, revealing that Siggy and Floki’s loyalty remains to Ragnar. Ragnar and his circle kill Horik and Ragnar claims his King’s Sword.
Season 4, Episode 14: “In the Uncertain Hour Before the Morning”
Aslaug surrenders to Lagertha, making Lagertha Queen of Kattegat. Lagertha promises the former queen safe passage out, but instead kills Aslaug with an arrow to the back. Ragnar and Ivar are seized by King Ecbert’s son, but later, Ecbert frees Ragnar and promises no harm to Ivar. The two leaders discuss Valhalla and the death of Athelstan, which continues to weigh heavily on Ragnar.
Season 2, Episode 7: “Blood Eagle”
Floki and Helga decide to wed after Helga reveals she’s carrying his child. King Ecbert continues making shady alliances, and marries King Aella’s daughter to seal the deal. Ragnar and Horik disagree on what to do with Jarl Borg, giving Borg hope for escape. When he’s finally freed and emerges from his cell, he finds the entire population gathered to watch his horrific, tortuous death (a ceremony known as the Blood Eagle) done at the hands of Ragnar.
Who Are the Actors in the Vikings Cast?
Fimmel played the show’s main character and king for the first four seasons. He’s previously known for starring in The Beast with Patrick Swayze. In 2016, he appeared in the Warcraft: The Beginning as Anduin Lothar.
Brother to Alexander and son to Stellan, Gustaf is far from the first well-established actor in his family. In 2017, he appeared in HBO’s Westworld as Karl Strand.
Lagertha is a mighty and respected warrior who’s also the Queen of Kattegat. When it comes to protecting her family and the throne, she’s devoutly independent. Winnick is a Canadian actress who’s also known as Hannah Burley in Bones.
Roll is Ragnar’s older brother, a warrior renowned for being fearsome and impulsive. He can also be seen in the Starz series Camelot playing Sir Gawain.
Bjorn Ironside is the oldest son of Ragnar and Lagertha who followed in his father’s footsteps as a formidable badass and explorer. Ludwig bathed in the mainstream spotlight when he played Cato in the original Hunger Games movie.
Ivar is the fourth son of Ragnar and Aslaug. He’s a psychopath who seeks revenge for the death of both of his parents, putting Lagertha and Kings Aelle and Ecbert on his hit list.
The first son of Ragnar and Aslaug, Ubbe is married to Margrethe, but is sleeping with Torvi, his brother Bjorn’s former wife. Scandalous.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind Vikings?
Vikings is written and created by a true master of the period piece.
Michael Hirst: Vikings Creator, Executive Producer and Writer
Before Hirst took on the tale of Ragnor Lathbrok, the Viking ruler from age old Norse sagas and poems, he had plenty of experience writing period pieces. He penned the Cate Blanchette-led Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age films, and also created and wrote The Tudors series from 2007-2010, as well as the short-lived Starz series Camelot.
Ken Girotti: Vikings Director
Girotti directed 14 episodes for the show from 2013-2016. He’s also directed episodes of Orphan Black, Daredevil and Rescue Me.
Where Vikings Ranks in the Television Pantheon
Vikings remains a huge win for History, which proved its capability of producing a successful historical fiction show in conjunction with its typical docudramas fare. Two months before the show’s fifth season aired, the network made a gutsy yet affirming decision to renew Vikings for a 20-episode sixth run. Despite the network’s faith and dedication to the series, it’s unclear if Season 6 will be Vikings‘ final quest. Regardless, the show continues revving up, having upped its narrative styling and production values as the seasons progressed.
Vikings‘ unique mix of violence, romance, history and striking visuals has captivated audiences and critics alike. Its epic battles and strong writing has garnered an overall 93 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, thanks in part to Hirst’s writing, the product of a creator who has found and perfected his niche. Though the show attracts a similar type of viewer to its distant cousin Game of Thrones, Vikings proved it could stand the test of time, forging its own place on TV by showcasing guesstimates on what might’ve happened throughout history when opposing cultures from the Dark Ages went head to head.
The show is often lauded as one of the best character-driven historical dramas on the air thanks to its dedicated performances and alluring blend of politics and mysticism. While its grim brutality may keep some away, it has raised the bar for historical television and fantasy thanks to its Emmy-nominated special effects, wowing makeup and costume design, and its characters’ belief in superstition.