This series puts you in the midst of one tribe's adventures as they decide to start exploring the West and take from the rich land they've only heard rumors of - England. Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel, The Beast) is a Viking farmer with a family and dreams of bigger riches than his chieftain's current raiding plans can produce. Against the express permission of Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne, The Usual Suspects, End of Days), Ragnar takes a band of friends to the open waters. Armed only with a new boat design and a novel way to keep track of their bearings while out at sea, Ragnar, his brother Rollo (Clive Standen), Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) the shipbuilder, and a few others eventually hit land and raid a small monastery.
Ragnar's party returns with all of the monastery's treasures and a few new slaves. Among them, Athelstan (George Blagden, 2012's Les Miserables), and many of the tidbits we learn about the Viking culture come from Althelstan's new masters telling him. Because Ragnar went against Haraldson's wishes, the chieftain decides to take all of the plunder, leaving the raiders only one piece of plunder each. Ragnar chooses Althelstan and uses the monk's knowledge to learn more about the land he came from. With the new knowledge, Ragnar convinces Haraldson to allow them to return with an even bigger party and sack a town not far from the monastery Althelstan is from. This time, Ragnar has his wife, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick, Bones) join the party and leaves Althelstan to look after their children.
With each return to England, rumors of Ragnar's raids increase and he soon gets met with stronger and stronger forces, but his growing knowledge about the land and England's inability to deal with the strange new threat has Ragnar returning with greater and greater rewards. Eventually, Haraldson starts to feel threatened by Ragnar's growing influence and it isn't long until the two must come head-to-head in a fight for rule.
While the season is only nine episodes long, this fight isn't the season's finale. The tribe gets much acclaim because of the recent growth in wealth and eventually even get a visit from King Horik (Donal Logue, Grounded for Life, Max Payne) where they are asked to go on a negotiation mission before being allowed to once again return to the West for even more loot.
As for special features, the Blu-ray version of Vikings: Season One features a few deleted scenes and a couple of commentary tracks, but it also has a ton of featurettes. One is about the show's creation, and the rest are about various facets of Viking culture. These focus on how the culture handled justice, while another was all about their warfare. There are also two interactive menu options. One traces the various locations the Vikings visited during the time period this show takes place. The other lets the viewer select the different weapons that Vikings used and learn more about how they were used in fighting.
All-in-all, I enjoyed this first season of Vikings. While I can't speak for the show's authenticity, I feel like it is better to treat it much like The Tudors. It's a fictional period piece that is there to entertain, and in that regard, I think the show does just that.