NBC KINGS – Pilot Screening Review
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down and watch the 2-hour pilot for NBC‘s upcoming drama “Kings” from Michael Green (“Heroes” exec-producer). Afterward the Michael Green sat down for questions alongside “Kings” stars Dylan Baker (“Spider-man” franchise), Susanna Thompson (“Once and Again”), Allison Miller (“Lucy’s Piano”), and Eamonn Walker (“OZ”), all of which you can watch here.
Before I get into my review, here is NBC’s official “Kings” plot synopsis:
“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.
David Shepard (Egan) is a small-town mechanic who leaves his family behind to follow his father’s and his brother’s footsteps into the seemingly perpetual “Unification Wars”. On the battlefield he faces the opportunity to rescue captured soldiers and amidst his struggle David becomes a national hero, saving King Silas’ (McShane) only son, Jack (Stan), from the enemy’s hold. From there, David’s climb is steep and swift. He is thrust into the spotlight, to the King’s side, and even before the eyes of Silas’ beautiful daughter, Michelle (Miller). As to be expected, not all goes smoothly as Jack grows jealous over David’s share of attention and even his new military post, one Jack had sought for himself. Silas’ adviser, General Abner (Studi), shares a similar dislike for David and warns that the only way to handle him is “with a bullet.” Even Queen Rose (Thompson) looks to distance her daughter, Michelle, from the “commoner” David. With a story so deep and rich as that of the Biblical David to draw from, “Kings” has the potential to easily become one of NBC’s tent pole programs.
Having watched not just the pilot, “Goliath”, but also the following two episodes in the new series, “Prosperity” and “First Night,” I can tell you that “Kings” aims to go big. From the smallest background detail to the massive cityscapes designed to bring the viewers deep into the fictional country of Gilboa, it all goes for broke. I was impressed not only by creative teams’ ability to rapidly develop my interest in the characters, but also the high-gloss polish of the series giving it a cinema-ready feel. The cast is filled with long resumes of actors and actresses from both the small and big screens. Many times I’ll watch a new series and see an attempt to bring in one or two big names in the hopes they’ll hold everyone else up, but with “Kings” I never had the feeling of a weak link.
“Kings” is one of those series that will easily draw a following. Whether it goes on for years or becomes one of those shows cut short before its time will all depend on how well NBC markets this series. I believe the shift from Thursday’s late night to Sunday’s 8pm primetime slot is fitting for the topic and subject matter. “Kings” will be a series that an entire family could share and enjoy and one in which I am anxiously looking forward to finding out what happens next in the world of Gilboa.
“Kings” premieres Sunday, March 15th at 8pm on NBC.
“Kings” photo gallery:
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