March is the month of epics on television. From the opening History Channel epics Vikings and The Bible to the return of HBO’s Game of Thrones at month’s end, March comes in and goes out as a lion – and an Irish one at that, as all three shows have roots in the Emerald Isle.
Vikings is a nine-part original drama created by Michael Hirst, of The Tudors fame. Many of the same costume and production designers, casting directors and others who worked on that epic about Henry VIII, which ran for four seasons on Showtime, are back for this saga. Filmed at Ireland’s Ashford Studios and with a cast headed by a number of Irish actors, among them Gabriel Byrne, it is little wonder that these Vikings speak more often with a Gaelic lilt than a Scandinavian bark.
While the story does highlight the positive side of Viking culture and family life, as well as note their contributions as traders and explorers, no film on this subject would be complete, accurate or marketable if the producers did not unleash the famed fury of the Norsemen. There are battles and bloodshed aplenty in this TV-14 rated epic, which airs Sundays at 10 p.m. (and is repeated several times during the week).
The Bible is similarly Irish in nature, as it comes from Irish actress Roma Downey (still best known from Touched by an Angel) and her husband, veteran producer Mark Burnett (of The Voice and Survivor). Their five-part, ten-hour, dramatization of key events in the Old and New Testament is shown on Sundays in March, and also on the History Channel. The Bible, too, has epic battles, violent storms and high drama. It airs at 8 p.m., and is the lead-in to Vikings. The final episode is timed to air on Easter Sunday, March 31.
Easter Sunday is also the day Game of Thrones returns on HBO. Like Vikings, much of it, too, is filmed in Ireland (although in the north, in Belfast), and many of its cast and crew are Irish. Game of Thrones has more blood, more battles, more storms and more sex than the History Channel epics – yet is still far tamer, at least relatively speaking, than another epic airing in March: Spartacus, War of the Damned, on Starz.
March is definitely the month of epics, and one that not only is roaring in like a lion, but also will roar out like a lion – the lion of House Lannister, a son of which, at least for this third season, still sits upon the throne for which others game Sunday nights on HBO starting March 31.
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Mark G. McLaughlin is a Connecticut-based free lance journalist and game designer (of Irish and possibly Irish-Viking descent) with over 30 years of experience as a ghost-writer and columnist. An author whose first published book was Battles of the American Civil War, Mark continues to be enthralled by history and war. To view and pre-order what will be Mark's 16th published design, the American Civil War Naval strategy game Rebel Raiders on the High Seas, visit http://www.gmtgames.com/p-238-rebel-raiders-on-the-high-seas.aspx
Mark’s latest work, the science fiction adventure novel Princess Ryan's Star Marines, is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle e-book formats at http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Ryans-Star-Marines-Save/dp/1466218487/ref...
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