The History Channel utilized some legendary source material to bring its hit series Vikings to life. Like the show, the legend of Norse king Ragnar Lodbrok is historically suspect. But there's no lack of action as the ruler battles to protect his kingdom and family from King Ecbert and a slew of fellow existential threats.
Like Lodbrok, viewers looking to binge themselves up to speed on the show face powerful challenges, as the fourth season of the series is currently well underway. Thankfully, with 20 episodes, this season is a long one — double that of the past two seasons — so there's still plenty of time to get up to speed and plenty of ways to do it.
As is so often the case, the best (and usually free) way to watch already-aired episodes from the current season is through the network's website. The History Channel lets viewers watch episodes from the current season without logging in. To watch episodes from Season 3 or earlier, however, you'll have to switch between the History Channel's offerings and a couple of streaming services. But it's totally possible to watch the entire series without purchasing a single à la carte episode.
For streaming video, your two best options are Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu (sorry Netflixers, no such luck this time around). Subscribers to those services will be able to binge to their hearts' content on the first three seasons. Amazon, along with all the other prominent TV downloading services, also offers the show as a download, either on a per-episode basis or season by season.
The prices don't differ all that much from service to service, though the fourth and current season will ultimately run a fair bit more, given its length. We've assembled the best (legal) ways to watch Vikings below. For the sake of simplicity, we've rounded the many prices ending in 99 cents up to the nearest dollar.
The History Channel's Website
If you just need to do a bit of catching up before the latest episode airs, look no further than the History Channel website. The network's site offers the three most recent episodes [note: it's three right now, but the show is currently airing, so this could change] without requiring you to sign in (though you'll have to sit through some ads, naturally). No such luck for older episodes, though the site does offer some exclusive short clips and behind-the-scenes footage from across the series.
Amazon Prime Video
Good news: Aside from all that free shipping, $99 a year will also get you access to the first three seasons of Ragnar and crew. To watch the current season through Amazon, on the other hand, you'll have to pay up — $2 or $3 per episode, depending on whether you choose the SD or HD format. You can also purchase past seasons, if you're the possessive sort.
Sorry, Hulu squatters, no free episodes here. But just as with Amazon, a subscription will let you pillage the first three seasons of the show. Season four, however, has yet to make an appearance. The subscription runs $8 per month with limited commercials, and $11 per month to enjoy Hulu's content ad-free.