Back in 2007, NBC gave the go ahead of a series that had not filmed a pilot and had only the beginnings of casting with just one character. The actor was Ian McShane. I was at first skeptical of NBC’s decision but after watching the first four hours of the show called Kings on NBC, they made the right decision, for once!
What NBC says: “From executive producer Michael Green (NBC’s “Heroes”) comes a riveting new drama about a modern day monarchy. “Kings” is a contemporary re-telling of the timeless tale of David and Goliath. This series is an epic story of greed and power, war and romance, forbidden loves and secret alliances — and a young hero who rises to power in a modern-day kingdom. King Silas Benjamin (Ian McShane, “Deadwood”) is the well-entrenched king of Gilboa, whose flag bears a divine butterfly symbol. Gilboa has its capital in Shiloh, a clean new city that is unspoiled by time or litter. Silas must deal with the tensions rising between Gilboa and neighboring nation Gath. When several prisoners of war are taken, a young soldier, David Shepard (Chris Egan, “Eragon”), defies orders and crosses enemy lines to save them. Unknown to David, the soldier he saves is Jack Benjamin (Sebastian Stan, “The Covenant”), the son of the king. From that day forth, David’s life will never be the same. Susanna Thompson (“Once & Again”) plays Queen Rose Benjamin, a distant, yet supportive wife. Allison Miller (“Lucy’s Piano”) stars as King Silas’ beautiful, intelligent and outspoken daughter, Michelle. General Linus Abner (Wes Studi, “Comanche Moon,” “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”), Reverend Ephram Samuels (Eamonn Walker, “Oz”) and William Cross, Silas’ brother-in-law (Dylan Baker, “Spiderman 2”), try to influence King Silas. From Universal Media Studios, “Kings” is executive-produced by Green, Erwin Stoff (“I Am Legend”) and Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”), who also directed the pilot.”
Fun Facts: The entire series is filmed in New York City and I really hope they stick around if they get a season two. The city makes the city of Shiloh and the series is just amazing to look at. Also in the subsequent two hours after the pilot we meet faces of the enemy in the form of Mark Margolis and Miguel Ferrer. Also in the third hour, the mysterious Brian Cox. In the later episodes such guest stars as Leslie Bibb, Saffron Burrows, and Macaulay Culkin all play recurring roles.
The Plot in My Words: In the first two hours that make up the first episode on March 15th at 8.7c called “Goliath” the episode surrounds the introdution of the country of Gilboa and more importantly the introduction of our hero David Shepard (Chris Egan). The episode is a meaty one just like the entire series, and the first twenty minutes alone are all about David, and how he got to be in Shiloh. Then the episode takes a turn to briefly show you the King (Ian McShane) and Queen’s (Susanna Thompson) life as they prepare for David’s gala after saving the prince (Sebastian Stan) in combat. We meet the lovely innocent princess who advocates in front of her dad for health care that is never put through and of course young love sparks with David.
The two following hours, the first entitled “Prosperity” and the next called “First Night,” are much more what a normal KINGS episode will be with focus on a particularly aspect of the story in an episode. The first focuses on the relashonsip with enemy country Gath, and the third focuses on Queen Rose and her part in the kingdom along with the Prince’s as well.
The Good… Kings is amazing, plain and simple. The acting is just suberb, the story is very compelling, the directing is top-notch, and the whole show is just comptivating. The show is all about the King and it should be. Ian McShane is just great in the role that is so flawed in a good way. You will learn everything about this fictional contury including just some of the secrets that the King hides. Chris Egan as David Shepard is a fine casting, not great but fine. He brings an innocentance to the role that is needed at times, and is also our way into the city and kingdom.
The supporting cast is just amazing. Susanna Thompson is great as the very complicated Qyeen Rose. You would not think that this women is a complicated person but by the 3rd episode comes around you will definitely see why. Allison Miller is a joy as Michelle the hard-working Princess. As well as the great Sebastian Stan who plays the troubled party boy Prince that has a very deep secret that will be revealed in the 2nd hour (I love the secret and it is a great story). The greatness does not stop there, Eamonn Walker as Reverand Samuels, Dylan Baker as William Cross, and Wes Studi as the General, are all as mysterious as any of the others, particullary William Cross, who is just amazingly selfish and cynical. Whoever is the casting director on the show, give that person a raise!
On the plot side, the story is strong. It is a show that is very complex with multiple ideas and a lot of historical and religious references. The most fascinating part I feel in the show is the relationships and problems of the role family, if it is from Silas’ secrets, to Michelle’s desires.
The Not so Good… On the other hand, sometimes the shows best strength can be its weakness. It took me the fill four hours to say “I love this show.” That is because the story can sometimes get too complicated. Also a little bit of the problem is Chris Egan who I am not fully okay with as David but he definitely grows on you especially in the fourth hour.
Overall: Fabulous! If you just stick with the series at least through the first two hours, you will find something you will love I promise. Just give NBC a hit already, and punish them for not promoting this at the Super Bowl. KINGS airs starting Sunday, March 15th at 8/7c for two hours, then is one hour for the rest of the season.