Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TV: Kings

As I said in my opening post, I'll be using this space to write about all sorts of things, and TV series will be a big one. For years I didn't watch TV except casually or with only half my attention, but ever since I was home bored one Saturday night four years ago and decided to rent the first disc of Deadwood, I've seen the light.

Whenever there is an adaptation of a famous book that comes to the big screen people always complain that the book was better--because it was richer, had more depth, so on and so forth. Well, television series, when given their freedom, have the ability to develop at their own pace and slowly reveal character and plot the way a great novel does. Honestly, at this point I don't even waste much time with movies that are dramas, because two hours is just not enough time to spend with characters for me.

Anyways, expect to see many entries on whatever stable of shows I am currently watching, because while many of my favorites have ended, there are always more. In that vein, we have NBC's Kings, a new Sunday night drama that is a re-imagining of the David and Goliath/David and King Saul story from the bible. The setting has been updated to a kingdom named Gilboa, which looks every bit as modern as our society, but is of no specific era. There are computers and cell phones, paparazzi and night clubs, taxis and traffic--but people speak like it's the 1500s. It stars Ian McShane (Deadwood) as King Silas, and Chris Egan, a relative unknown, as David Shepherd. Also with Wes Studi (The Last of the Mohicans, Heat), Eamonn Walker (Oz), veteran That Guy Dylan Baker, and recurring roles for Brian Cox and Sarita Choudhury, the cast is very strong, and most are equal to the task of series creator Michael Green's flowery dialogue, which has a vaguely Victorian or Shakespearean quality to it. If you've ever seen McShane as Al Swearengen on Deadwood, you know he can tackle this kind of writing in his sleep, and he is, as always, a joy to watch.

I'll avoid a plot synopsis of the first three hours of the show, if only to encourage you to go online and catch up. The show melds political intrigue with theological undertones and character spotlights, and it definitely only tells you what it wants you to know and when. If you don't have the patience for that, then steer clear. But all who are in search of a grand, slowly unfolding epic, Kings is just the ticket.


J.O. said...


Hatfield said...

I know, it's terrible. But they're gonna show the remaining episodes over the summer, so at least I'll get some closure

Dan said...

Why did they advertise this show so poorly? It didn't seem like compelling TV at all.

Hatfield said...

Because NBC sucks, Dan. You'd think they'd try harder; they clearly sunk a lot of money into the show, but that network doesn't know good material when it has it.

On the plus side, there is one whole season that will live on in DVD form forever: http://www.amazon.com/Kings-Season-One-Susanna-Thompson/dp/B0024FAD88/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1248418437&sr=1-1

Damn, I wish I knew how to hyperlink something in the comments!