Kings, which premiered on NBC Sunday, is one of those rarest of TV series to air on one of the original networks. Kings is a retelling of the story of King David, set in an alternate, modern reality. Kings is thus original and also based on some of the oldest material written.
Kings stars Ian McShane as King Silas Benjamin of Gilboa, essentially the King Saul figure. McShane plays King Silas as part benevolent ruler/part hooded eyed monster. He wants what he thinks is best for his people, but is not above doing murder and double dealing to get it.
Christopher Egan plays David Shepherd, and who he represents is obvious. David Shepherd is a young farm boy who enlists in the Army of Gilboa in its war against the neighboring country of Gath. An act of courage brings David Shepherd to the attention of King Silas, who thinks some use might be made of him to raise the moral of his people. David Shepherd is dispatched to the capital city of Shiloh (a kind of CGI altered New York) to become a tool of propaganda. David approaches his new job with a kind of innocence mixed with something deeper. Little does King Silas know of the destiny his new, young protégé has in store.
King Silas, like too many other rulers of history, has children who are trouble. His son Jack (think Jonathon) who is outwardly a playboy, has a somewhat darker secret. Silas’s daughter Michelle (think Michal from the Bible) is taken with David and is a headache to her father. We first see her trying to convince poppa to enact health care reform. Poppa’s response is a bemused but firm no.
Kings is not above shoe horning contemporary political themes. King Silas’s brother in law is an evil capitalist who is enriching himself from the war with Gath and would like it to continue, even as King Silas would like there to be peace. He is quite annoyed when David single handedly arranges for a truce.
Even the Prophet Samuel, in the form of a black preacher named Reverend Samuels, makes an appearance. Reverend Samuels speaks for another character, unseen, but very prevalent. That character is God himself, who can grant and then withdraw favors from King and commoner alike and does so in the course of Kings.
There are a number of in jokes in Kings. David defeats a Goliath tank, for example. He is a skilled musician, like his Biblical counterpart, but instead of the harp, he plays Liszt on the piano. The alarm is sounded at the front with the sound of a ram’s horn.
There are a number of questions about the world of Kings. For example how does it come about in a universe where not only Liszt lived and composed, but which also follows the same dating system as our own world?
Kings may not last long, but it can be said to be something new and fresh. It seems to be one part soap opera, one part political intrigue story, one part biblical epic told is a 21st Century setting. While it lasts, Kings will be enjoyed and ever after be written and talked about.
Source: Kings, IMDB