There was a time, nearly a decade ago, when The History Channel was largely there for your father to watch shows about World War II battles and Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg could have PTSD from wars they never fought. These days, it's all Hitler and aliens, Hitler and the occult, Hitler and Bigfoot. But there are exceptions, like the critically acclaimed original Vikings. Ironically, a fictional show on The History Channel is more faithful to, you know, history, than most of its ghost hunter documentaries.
Vikings follows the rise of Ragnar Lothbrok, a Norse legend and the bane of England and France. The battle scenes are realistic and brutal, with plenty of bloody swordfights and even death by giant mallet.
It's also somewhat refreshing watching a show that, though it lacks the ambition of something like Game of Thrones, audiences know right off the bat just how doomed the characters are - it's just a matter of time.