"You come at the King, you best not miss" Omar Little
Towards the end of the first season of Heroes, Aerial Telly intuited that the show was about to implode and he stopped watching immediately. He was proved devastatingly right when they dropped a second season so blindingly awful it could only be viewed solar eclipse style via a piece of card with a hole in it. A mixture of pretension, stupidity and generally being too pleased with itself did for Heroes and NBC experienced the kind of scenes BBC saw when they played with Aerial Telly with regard to Bonekickers1. So they need to come back strong with credibility and integrity. Kings is their answer. And it’s really rather strange.
"Aerial Telly intuited that Heroes was about to implode and he stopped watching immediately. He was proved devastatingly right when they dropped a second season so blindingly awful it could only be viewed solar eclipse style via a piece of card with a hole in it."
A modern day update of the story of the biblical King David, it’s a period drama set in the fictional kingdom of Gilboa (you know, from that The Bible). Ruled over by the iron fist in a velvet voice of King Silas Benjamin (Ian McShane) Gilboa looks very much like present day America. And, just like present day America, it’s at war. The conflict with the kingdom of Gath sees the King’s son Jack Benjamin (Sebastian Stan) taken hostage by armed bastards. But he is rescued by a brave young soldier David Shepherd (Christopher Egan) who defeats the enemy’s Goliath Tank (see what they did there?) by a combination of daring and luck. Saving the King’s son gets David promotion to officer and the cushiest job in the Armed Forces – the royal press liaison in the heart of the kingdom’s capital. He gets to deal with journalists all day. Lucky bastard.
“David gets the cushiest job in the Armed Forces – royal press liaison. He gets to deal with journalists all day. Lucky bastard.”
Old Dave doesn’t know what to make of it. He’s just a smalltown boy who got lucky with a slingshot. The huge financial rewards, massive upgrade in lifestyle and promise of pussy from the King’s daughter Michelle (Allison Miller) aren’t enough for Dave. He wants to be back on the front line being shot at by the Philistines. Takes all sorts.
But he’s stuck right in the heart of a troubled kingdom. Silas had to take shit from Rev. Ephram Samuels, the country’s spiritual leader, Eamonn Walker somewhat reprising his role as Kareem Said on Oz. Then there’s Silas’s warmongering brother-in-law William Cross (Dylan Baker) pissing in his ear about keeping the conflict with Gath going. Cross has quite a few financial interests in the war and as his gold is bankrolling Silas’s operation he had quite a lot of clout.
"This is a strange idea but they pull it off with quite a bit of style. Silas was written specifically for Ian McShane and there’s a lot of the lyrical speechifying that made Al Swearengen great."
So yes, this is a strange idea but they pull it off with quite a bit of style. Silas was written specifically for Ian McShane and there’s a lot of the lyrical speechifying that made Al Swearengen great. McShane is terrific of course – charismatic, blackhearted and compelling as Silas, the King of cunning.
“You being a bunch of godless fucks who were probably surprised by the ending of Jesus of Nazareth won’t have to worry about spoilers.”
The biblical parallels are neatly handled. Silas is Saul, Jack is Jonathan, Samuels is Samuel and David is, well, David. There’s treachery, lust, war and intrigue. If you know your Old Testament you probably already know who’s going to be fucking who, who gets killed by whom, who runs, who fights, who smites the Zemarites. Aerial Telly knows but you being a bunch of godless fucks who were probably surprised by the ending of Jesus of Nazareth won’t have to worry about spoilers.
The overnights suggest that only roughly three people watched this. That’s too bad. I hear the original was a bestseller.
The best thing about it: Ian McShane
The worst thing about it: Princess Pie needs a bit of work
The verdict on Kings: At prime-time NBC a quality period drama did decree. And lo, no fucker watched. And NBC did weep.
Marks out of 10: 7.5
1 Don’t get Aerial Telly wrong. Heroes is not Bonekickers. Heroes is a pretty good show that got boring. Bonekickers is the worst TV show ever made.
Imagined March 18, 2009