It’s a numbers game. Everybody knows the true value of a person can be gauged by the number of social media followers they have: no followers, nobody. Such a reality can be particularly harsh in a place like Tokyo, which is powered by mobile phones. Those in the Japanese capital’s modelling and entertainment industries, needing acolytes more than most, suffer greatly from a lack of friends. So when you are a bit-part actress and stand-in model keeping the studio warm for the stars, and your friends tell you, “we’re living in an age when your value is quantified,” you should hang on tightly to the day job (even if it is delivering food by bicycle). However, deceptively meek country girl Natsume Hyakuta (Elaiza Ikeda) won’t be deterred, despite giving the impression that ripped jeans will forever be the haute of her haute couture. And hey presto, Natsume is magically transformed into Cinderella, suddenly attending the fanciest VIP functions at the stroke of an Instagram benediction bestowed by fashion photographer and society page darling Limi Nara (Miki Nakatani). Instagram, instant fame. Today that’s all the talent you need. This is the message Followers (Netflix, series one now streaming) only seems to be imparting, as there’s more to the story than the idea that if you are not trending you are ending; and the entwined lives of these two women – one desperate for recognition but frightened by the thought of it, the other desperate for a partner and a baby – make a ready vehicle for the telling. Seeing through the superficiality of it all, each recognises that while “social media is the gateway to the world” and amassing followers a power trip, its intrusiveness and pressures threaten to overwhelm their essentially decent characters. Followers, it seems, are nothing if not fickle wherever bling is king and where you’re only as good as the last handbag brand that hired you as an ambassador. The sixth and final series of Vikings now available in entirety on Amazon Prime Perfect for vicarious daydreams of slaying implacable foes is Vikings , which recently completed its sixth and final series on Amazon Prime and is available in its entirety. Now, it is unlikely that philosopher Thomas Hobbes (born 1588) had in mind conflict interpreted for streaming services when he wrote that life during wartime was “nasty, brutish and short”, but you never know. Either way, our Scandinavian friends back him up here, laying on thick all the casual brutality and sudden, violent death you’d expect from everything you’ve ever read about berserk Vikings. Actually, for the most part they are Scandinavian only insofar as they are part of an Irish-Canadian co-production for the History network, which combines the words “historical” and “fiction” to make entertainment and has therefore consistently run afoul of the authenticity police. But no matter. Better just to revel in the political chicanery and battlefield exploits of Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen), Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig), shieldmaiden Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and Prince Oleg (Danila Kozlovsky), from Norway to the Silk Road to Kiev to Iceland. Laughs are at a premium, but now we can understand the heredity of all those bleak Norse crime thrillers. Maybe Hobbes knew something about your average Scandinavian knees-up after all. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.