If "Vikings" was a cheeky, pleasant surprise in its first season, this History series has blossomed into a genuine pleasure on its second voyage, with precious little guilt involved. Parlaying its success into a deeper cast, and thrusting ahead in its storytelling with the lusty abandon of a Scandinavian raider, the scripted drama takes big chances in the four episodes previewed, and most pay off. The show may have benefited from "The Bible's" lead-in initially, but series creator-writer Michael Hirst has clearly decided that if "Vikings" dies, it's going to be with a sword in its hand.
EXEC PRODUCERS: Michael Hirst, Morgan O'Sullivan, Sheila Hockin, Alan Gasmer, Sherry Marsh, James Flynn, John Weber
CAST: Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen, Jessalyn Gilsig, Gustaf Skarsgard, George Blagden, Alexander Ludwig, Alyssa Sutherland, Donal Logue, Linus Roache, Thorbjorn Harr