Set in 800s Britain, The Last Kingdom tells the tale of Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon), a Saxon lord who was robbed of his birthright by his uncle and raised by Danish invaders. Years later, after his adopted father’s murder, Uhtred finds himself among Saxons once again. He is trapped between two cultures, compelled by hard-sworn oaths and feels a newly-kindled desire to reclaim the title that was stolen from him as a child.
The Last Kingdom is a BBC series based on the Saxon Stories series of novels by Bernard Cornwell. With two seasons already released and a third due out next year, The Last Kingdom has enough content to make it both binge-worthy and anticipating, and with the series of novels currently comprised of 10 books, there is plenty of material still to come. Add that to the fact that The Last Kingdom has been generally well received, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the show sticks around for a while.
Admittedly, I have little to no actual knowledge of that era of British history, so I can’t speak to the show’s historical accuracy. Still, the overall tone and look of The Last Kingdom makes it feel authentic and is perhaps more important to the viewing experience. The fact that the show depicts the ninth century as suitably dismal, grimy and completely dangerous lends to the air of credibility. The story is also well written and compelling. It takes a few episodes to get wound up, but once it gets rolling it really draws you in and keeps you hooked.
Game of Thrones comparisons seem inevitable, though there are honestly more differences than similarities. While both shows hit the mark with a nice combination of action, intrigue, drama and humor, the overall feel of the two are notably different. The Last Kingdom has a clear protagonist in the character of Uhtred and makes for a different style of storytelling. Then there’s the fact that The Last Kingdom is looking toward history for its roots, which doesn’t leave room for magic or the supernatural. These differences are a good thing and only serve to add to the enjoyment of The Last Kingdom.