The show centers on Magne (David Stakston), a dyslexic high schooler who moves back to the town of Edda (aptly named after the collection of medieval Icelandic works that is one of the primary sources for most tales from Norse mythology) with his mother and prankish younger brother. He suspects the involvement of the Jutuls, the wealthy family at the centre of the town’s economy and its education, in the mysterious death of Isolde (Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin), an environmental activist and his classmate. Vidar Jutul (Gísli Örn Garðarsson) is a local tycoon who owns the town’s polluting factories. Ran Jutul (Synnøve Macody Lund) is the school principal. Their teenage son and daughter are the local rich brats. They are also, as their family name suggests, Jötunn -- the immortal destructive beings sometimes referred to as giants who stood in opposition to the Gods. Magne, whose powers are awakened by a mysterious old woman, represents a threat to their dominance. As his abilities heighten, he can throw a hammer almost a mile away, bend metal with his bare hands and beat Usain Bolt’s world record for 100m. He may also be the mighty god of thunder, Thor, himself.
While Ragnarok’s first episode features the memorable image of a naked man staring out from a cliff while eating a raw deer heart, it is aimed at a younger audience than Netflix’s other teen dramas like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Sex Education. The show is the unlikely creation of Adam Price, the creator of Borgen, the Danish drama about the fictional female prime minister of Denmark.
Borgen managed to wring a surprising amount of depth from party politics and shaky alliances; Ragnarok, however, features an endless array of clichés. There’s an old woman who only speaks in aphorisms. She is occasionally accompanied by a one-eyed old man in an eye-patch. (It’s Odin. Get it?!!) When the villain is introduced, the oppressive soundtrack almost whispers in the audience’s ear, This is a very evil man. Magne talks to his brother about their late father and asks, "Do you ever think about him?" Maybe there really are teenagers who speak to each other in such painfully telegraphed prose. The stakes are huge but the action is limited to a small set of characters. The limited budget also means that our imagination is left to fill in the gaps.