The Last Kingdom on Netflix: The hype is real for ‘next Game of Thrones’

Credit: The Last Kingdom - Joe Alblas/Netflix
Credit: The Last Kingdom - Joe Alblas/Netflix /

I finally gave in and started to watch The Last Kingdom on Netflix after hearing so much hype and praise for the show. is it worth the hype?

The Last Kingdom season 4 was just released on Netflix but I’m just getting started on the Netflix series to see if the show is worthy of all the hype it’s getting as “the next Game of Thrones.”

I actually started watching The Last Kingdom in 2017 shortly after the release of season 2. It looked like an interesting show based on the thumbnail image and the short trailer that would play when you hover over the title on Netflix. It was late at night but I figured I’d give it a shot and watch the first episode. I made it about five minutes before I turned the TV off and fell asleep.

This was all about me not being in the right mood to make the dive into a new show. It wasn’t a reflection of the show because the opening minutes of The Last Kingdom was quite good. I was shocked to see Matthew Macfayden of Succession as part of the cast. I had no idea he was in this before starring in the HBO series years later. But if you read the episode synopsis before watching the episode, there’s a sizable spoiler about his character, so he wasn’t in the show for long.

But I finally committed to the show after the release of season 4 and hearing all the hype from my friends and colleagues. I avoided the internet chatter so I didn’t get any spoilers, but I was excited to hear the show is as good as its ever been.

That was all the motivation I needed to give it another shot and finally finish an episode.

At the time I’m writing this, I’m four episodes through the first season’s eight episodes. Judging by the IMDb episode ratings, I’m about to get into some great stuff, which is expected in the second half of a season.

Alexander Draymond plays Uhtred who for comparison is the Jon Snow of the show. He’s got a complicated family history which serves as the jumping-off point for the show and the character.

Like Game of Thrones, there is a ton of swordplay, back-stabbing, political aspirations by kings and would-be kings, romance and a lot of death. I wouldn’t go into the show expecting this to be Game of Thrones, however, but it’s an easy comparison to make. But if you like that show, you’ll like this show.

I’m surprised Draymond is not a huge global star. He’s tall, handsome and can swing a sword with the best of them. He’s the true leading man of the series that all characters and plot lines orbit around.

The drama is only just beginning to build but I like where this is going and can’t wait to get caught up so I can have full-on conversations and go in-depth with fans of the show to hear their thoughts and reactions to what happened beyond where I’m at in my watch.

My initial response was I like how it’s shot and has some closer-up shots and tracking shots, especially when Uhtred and Brida were being chased. I like the violence but I also like that it’s not gratuitous like Ramsey Bolton or King Joffrey from GoT. And I like how the element of religion, spirituality and holiness are a big presence.

One thing that helped me in my watch was turning on captions. There are a lot of names that will be unfamiliar with American audiences. There’s no Matt, Chris or John. These are Viking names. And there are a lot of them and it can be difficult to keep up with them all and know who is who without getting confused while watching. I may turn them off later as I get used to all the different characters and names, but for now, it’s been a nice asset as I immerse myself in Wessex, Northumbria and the world of The Last Kingdom.

If you’re like me and have had The Last Kingdom on your watch list for years but just haven’t started yet for whatever reason, I would take the plunge and start. It’s really enjoyable. I’m only half-way through the first season, but I can’t wait to finish work today and start watching more. That’s going to be my routine until I’m all caught up with season 4 and I’m with the rest of you counting down the days until The Last Kingdom season 5.

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