You might be considering embarking upon an epic binge-fest, and one or more of these shows might be in your crosshairs while you might have watched one or two of the others. Or you might just be curious how Vikings, The Last Kingdom, and Game of Thrones compare, and which one of them is ultimately the better show.
Either way, I’ve watched these shows at least twice over, and so I decided to compare them thoroughly in different categories (story, score, casting, consistency, etc.), compile all the data I could find on what critics think (IMDb, Metacritic, etc.), and decide once and for all: Who wins the battle between Vikings, The Last Kingdom, and Game of Thrones?
- Vikings vs. The Last Kingdom vs. Game of Thrones: Which is Best?
- Average Ratings From Online Critics (Vikings vs. The Last Kingdom vs. Game of Thrones)
Vikings vs. The Last Kingdom vs. Game of Thrones: Which is Best?
Game of Thrones scores higher and is ultimately better than both Vikings and The Last Kingdom, despite an objectively disastrous ending to the show. For six seasons viewers get a gripping adaptation of GRRM’s superb A Song of Ice and Fire, with a world-class story, characters, cinematography, score, and cast.
Vikings is a more impactful show than The Last Kingdom in my opinion, but the two are very close in quality and level of entertainment and in essence show two different sides of the Viking Age coin. Vikings is more blockbuster and epic than TLK, which comes across as more authentic and down-to-earth.
Online critics hold The Last Kingdom in better regard than both Game of Thrones and Vikings; All three ranking very high in general on critic sites and review aggregators (around 85-90%).
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Here’s a breakdown of my own weighted scores as well as the average scores of other critics:
How these scores were calculated:
Even before judging the shows in each category, GoT stood out to me with its ground-breaking production and delivery. It truly held the world’s attention every Sunday for all 8 seasons (despite the last two going from superb to trash real fast), and achieved a level of global success the other two shows did not.
Game of Thrones fans were ultimately left disappointed though, perhaps explaining why The Last Kingdom ranked so close to GoT according to online critics. Overall I still say the story, cast, characters, creative value and setting of Game of Thrones is on a different level from Vikings and TLK, despite the disappointing ending.
Either way, I was very curious to see how these three shows stacked up in a more scientific comparison, so let’s dive into the categories and see how Vikings, The Last Kingdom, and Game of Thrones compare with respect to their stories, characters, cast, cinematography, soundtrack, authenticity, action scenes, dramatic impact, and consistency:
Storyline (Quality & Execution)
Which has the better story; Vikings, The Last Kingdom, or Game of Thrones?
Despite the nose-dive in quality of the final few Game of Thrones seasons, it still has a better story than Vikings and The Last Kingdom due to the sheer level of George R. R. Martin’s writing. The story of Vikings is great for 4/6 seasons, while TLK holds up better in the long run with a slightly less gripping story.
Character Interest & Believability
Which has the better characters; Vikings, The Last Kingdom, or Game of Thrones?
Game of Thrones has better characters overall than Vikings and The Last Kingdom, which isn’t surprising as it’s a character-driven story written from individual perspectives. The many iconic characters of GoT can be rivaled by Vikings to a certain extent, but TLK doesn’t quite reach those levels.
Casting Choices & Level of Acting
Cinematography & Creativity
Soundtrack & Score
Authenticity & Realism
Note: No data for ‘The Last Kingdom’ Seasons 5–8, ‘Vikings’ Seasons 7–8. Source: IMDb
Final Weighted Score
Average Ratings From Online Critics (Vikings vs. The Last Kingdom vs. Game of Thrones)
How do online critics rate Vikings, The Last Kingdom, and Game of Thrones?
Game of Thrones is rated slightly higher overall (88.1% average rating) than The Last Kingdom (87.9%) by online critics, while Vikings receive the lowest average critic score (85%) of the three. Game of Thrones also takes the top spot of the three on IMDb and Metacritic, the two most reliable sources in my experience.
Users who have rated the shows on Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, and Ratingraph seem to prefer The Last Kingdom by a wide margin, while JustWatch users lean heavily towards Game of Thrones. The only rating that goes in the favor of Vikings is Rotten Tomatoes’ Critic Score.
This essentially means Vikings received a positive critic review more often than the other two, but it does not take into account what the review score or rating was other than that. This is why the show ultimately ranks the lowest overall out of the three.
Here’s how this looks on a graph:
Average Rating Comparison Table (Vikings vs. The Last Kingdom vs. Game of Thrones
|Vikings||The Last Kingdom||Game of Thrones|
|IMDb Average Rating||8.5||8.5||9.2|
|Metacritic User Score||8.2||8.7||7.6|
|Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score||93%||91%||89%|
|Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score||88%||95%||85%|
|RatinGraph Average Rating||8.0||8.7||8.7|
|Total Average Score||84.26%||87.94%||88.07%|
So we’ve looked at what the critics and the data say and how the shows compare, now here’s a summary for each show individually:
Vikings Ratings Summary
- The acting is generally excellent
- The story is exciting and gripping
- The soundtrack is fitting and projects an intriguing, mystic mood.
- Main characters are interesting and well-developed
- Suffers in the last few seasons
- Too many historical shortcuts and compromises
- Casting in the later part of the show is questionable
The Last Kingdom Ratings Summary
- Has great customes and authentic setting
- Doesn’t go overboard (i.e. Vikings)
- Easier to follow than GoT
- Feels real and gritty
- Believable characters and good acting
- The plot armor is a bit too strong
- Main character finds himself in many “convenient” situations
- Spends too little time building up events and characters
- Villains die a bit too easy
Game of Thrones Ratings Summary
- Iconic characters & story
- Excellent acting
- World-class cinematography, action & drama
- Unpredictable and suprising
- Well-developed character arcs
- The last two seasons are garbage compared to the preceding ones
- Some characters are omitted or simply ignored compared to the books
- So. Many. Characters. Hard to keep track of them all!
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