TV shows and movies set in the Middle Ages can be entertaining as well as educational of sorts. In the latter part, they can provide a shortcut or easy way to understand History during that period though this cannot substitute for real references (not to mention artistic license). Some of them border on fantasy, incorporating mythical creatures. Some of them are even more in the science fiction realm. Here are five of the must-see TV shows on Netflix for 2019 set in the Middle Ages.
The series is based on the book series of the same name by Andrej Sapkowski. If there is one reason you would want to watch The Witcher, especially if you are fans of Superman or Justice League, it is the lead actor Henry Cavill. Cavill trades the cape and tights for armor as he becomes a Geralt of Rivia, the monster hunter who tries to find his place in a world where humankind are more savage the monsters he kills.
This is a historical fiction drama series originally aired on History. Among its cast members are Mark Hamill, Tom Cullen, and Simon Merrells. Filmed on location in Croatia and the Czech Republic, the series recounts the history of the Knights Templar. They were a special order of knights created in the 12th century during the Crusades. They were given recognition by the Pope who was impressed by their strong devotion to the faith and their bravery in battle. But they were more than just warriors, they were the early form of businessmen who developed skills in finance that made them the envy of many, especially King Philip IV of France who orchestrated their persecution. The side story here is their quest for the Holy Grail.
Also from History, the series is inspired by the story of Ragnar Lothbrok who started from humble beginnings to become leader of the Vikings. In later seasons, the series follows the exploits of his sons as they venture further out to distant lands outside Scandinavia. The series stars Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen, Jessalyn Gilsig among others. Some critics compare it to Game of Thrones (GoT) though Vikings does not have GoT’s narrative ambition and does not have complex characters.
When one mentions Merlin, it is quickly associated with King Arthur and Camelot. It stars Bradley James as King Arthur and Colin Morgan in the title role. The reimagined series is set in the time the two characters are young and are contemporaries. In this story, magic is forbidden in Camelot imposed by none other than Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon. Merlin is forced to keep his powers a secret. The shows follows Arthur and Merlin as they gradually developed into the legendary characters they came to be.
The Last Kingdom
This historical fiction series, The Last Kingdom, is based on the series of novels by Bernard Cornwell titled The Saxon Stories. The setting is the 9th century AD in the early stages of the Middle Ages. England then was divided into seven smaller kingdoms. The main protagonist is Uthred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymoon) who is and Anglo-Saxon raised by Danes. He has two objectives – avenge the death of his adoptive Dane father by a disgruntled Viking and to reclaim his rightful place in Beddanburg usurped by his uncle. He is torn between a loyalty to his original ancestry and his adoptive ones which has been put to the test on many occasions.