TV Review: Netflix's Fantastic 'Ragnarok' Season 1 Rocks Hard

Ragnarok Magne David Stakston Laurits Jonas Strand Gravli Netflix
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Season 1 of Netflix’s “Ragnarok” gives Norse mythology a modern twist that will leave enthusiasts spellbound. At least, it did this viewer. The six-episode first season is a crash course in how to tell an origin story with a riveting sense of conviction and narrative know-how. Hence, there is no personal doubt about it.

“Ragnarok” is one of the first great shows of 2020. Season 1 weaves the high school teen drama that viewers have seen countless times into a wondrously unique new story. Just like last year’s surprise Netflix treat, “The Order,” “Ragnarok,” showcases an uncanny ability to balance the human moments with the superhuman ones.

“Ragnarok” is set in present-day Norway in the fictional town of Edda. That is where viewers encounter Magne (David Stakston), who, along with his family, is returning to Edda. Magne’s family includes his younger brother Laurits (Jonas Strand Gravli), and their mother Turid (Henriette Steenstrup). The trio had been living elsewhere for many years, following the death of Magne and Laurits’ father.

Related: Has Netflix Renewed 'Ragnarok' For Season 2 Yet?

Not long after arriving back in Edda, Magne immediately sets out to help someone. His kind-hearted nature is not lost on a convenience store worker who witnesses Magne’s actions. After she (Freya?) touches Magne’s forehead, his eyes change, and it is clear something of mythic proportions is at work. Magne’s heart holds the superpower of kindness, and that is not all.

What follows is Magne and “Ragnarok” viewers’ journey into discovering what it all means, and how Magne fits into the puzzle of Norse mythology. It is not as straightforward as you may think, and figuring out how the villains fit into things makes it all the more compelling. Hence, there is no shortage of intriguing characters to keep your mind busy.

If you have watched the History series “Vikings,” you have received an education into Norse mythology. The same mythos that tells of Thor and Loki, aka the legendary figures that have fueled Marvel’s “Thor.” The fifth season of “Vikings” ended with the telling of Ragnarรถk. A core part of the mythos and, as its title suggests, the one comprising “Ragnarok.”

Related: TV Review: ‘The Last Kingdom’ Season 1 through 3

Those same legends are packaged in a fresh way for “Ragnarok,” which does a great job of steadily wading into it. On that note, the Netflix series proves it is in no danger of burning through story. A lapse that can damage a series beyond repair. To its credit, “Ragnarok” paces itself as it crosses off each box in its hero’s journey.

The first episode is one of the more emotionally gripping debut installments I can remember seeing in some time. “Ragnarok” grabs its audience right out of the gate thanks to the sweet friendship that unfolds between Magne and Isolde (Ylva Bjรธrkaas Thedin). You have to believe their connection for the series to work, and “Ragnarok” succeeds in beautifully crafting the rapport between them.

There are a lot of impressive aspects to “Ragnarok.” The cast is excellent and believable. None of it would work without a good hero and villain to go at it, and the Netflix series lands that as well. In the case of “Ragnarok,” Magne gets a whole family to contend with.

What writer and executive producer, Adam Price, has conjured with “Ragnarok” strikes all of the notes you want to see a superhero series hit. Season 1 possesses the charm of “Smallville” and the skillful turn of “Tidelands.” “Ragnarok” is fantastically fun and poignantly moving where it should be, and the result is captivating. Fingers crossed for Season 2!

Rating: 9.5/10

The first season of “Ragnarok” is currently streaming on Netflix, and it is not the only great show streaming on the platform. There are more!