I just finished binging the first season of The Last Kingdom in Netflix.
There’s plenty of good in this show, mainly history, and lots of it! The actual main events happening around the main character is more or less all real (that I know of). You can read up on Wessex and Alfred The Great and Guthrum and other details and find how close the show actually depicts what went down in the 870s in England. Costuming is well made. There’s chain with actual holes and I don’t remember spotting any royalty in artificially elaborate clothing as usual for big money shows. Combat was well made – in most fights people are as vulnerable as you’d expect and even the main character wants to run rather than fight in most cases. And last but not least, not everyone carries a sword; weapons are depicted as rare valuables, as they should.
SPOILERS AHEAD: Having said that, there’s things I didn’t like in particular. As per traditional fantasy writing, every main woman character ended up killed or imprisoned or with some other fate of no power, which is probably historically accurate to some degree, but the writers chose to not use any plots they could have to even leave some of the women free. Bah for that. The main character Uthred is a selfish murderer who would not have survived. The writing is in some places downright sloppy, with Uthred being excused from any behavior and forgiven everything he’d done without that much justification. He’s also written as selfish to the point where his survival instincts should have overridden his personality many times in the show given the era being depicted, which again felt sloppy and put me off the show multiple times.
So the verdict – the first season was worth a watch, but I’m pretty sure I’ll leave it at that and not view the second unless someone convinces me otherwise.