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The Fantasy Drama That Everyone's Binging On Netflix

Amid the current science fiction and fantasy renaissance, streaming giants HBO Max and Disney+ have been rolling out multiple series within their respective DC, Marvel, and Star Wars universes. For the most part, the avalanche of new sci-fi and fantasy programming has been well received. "The Mandalorian" revived waning excitement in Star Wars, while shows like "WandaVision" and "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" continued Marvel's domination of superhero cinema. Amazon, like its streaming competitors, has found success in adapting comics like "The Boys" and "Invincible." The behemoth known as Netflix have also returned to adapting comics, including hit show "Jupiter's Legacy."  

Netflix has also been investing incredible amounts of money acquiring intellectual properties from all over the world, like the German-language sci-fi series "Dark." Another Netflix import, this time from Norway, captured the attention of many when it premiered last year. "Ragnarok," the second season of which arrived on May 27, impressed both critics and fans with its new take on Norse mythology. Move over, Chris Hemsworth, there's a new Thor in town.

Ragnarok is a modern Norse tale

"Ragnarok" stars David Stakston as Magne Seier (which translates to "Great Victory"), a young man whose family moves to the fictional Norwegian town of Edda and discovers he is the reincarnation of Thor. Of course, that doesn't mean Magne will be relocating to Asgard any time soon ... not when there's still high school to finish and nefarious plots to thwart in Edda.

Similar to Clark Kent in "Smallville," the teenage Magne finds himself entangled in the machinations of a wealthy family, the Jutuls, whose corporate interests will spell disaster for Edda and the world if realized. The Jutuls, however, are more than just one of Norway's richest families. They're actually jötnar — powerful beings with godlike abilities in Norse mythology  – posing as a human family. The Jutuls, composed of "parents" Vidar and Ran and "children" Saxa and Fjor, control Jutul Industries, which Magne learns is polluting the town's natural resources. Unlike the Marvel film, in which Ragnarok referred to the destruction of Asgard, the series' title relates to the end of our world as a result of climate change.

Ragnarok has its own Thor, Loki, and Odin

Over the course of the first season, Magne begins to learn the extent of his new-found powers, which include super strength and speed. As he begins to investigate, the Jutuls, the family likewise comes to learn of Magne's true identity. Other familiar names from Norse mythology also appear in the first season, such as Magne's half-brother Laurits, who is Loki reincarnated, and Wotan, the reincarnation of Odin. And, yes, there is a hammer. 

While the subtitles may be off-putting to some (though the English dubbing is quite good), "Ragnarok" is a worthwhile watch that incorporates the dark and mature tones common in Nordic television and movies. Strong performances and an intricate storyline have earned the series a 67% critic score and 81% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Though the series' title will obviously lead some to expect a Marvel-like show, "Ragnarok" is its own entity, and an impressive one at that.