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A message from your king.
November 2, 2011 8:42 PM   Subscribe

What would happen if a monarchy ruled in part of America? With a monarch divinely crowned? And then a soldier, fighting in the trenches against your hated enemy, saves the king's son and is thrust into court politics? If you flimed it all in New York City, you'd get Kings, a short-lived (March 2009 - July 2009) television series that aired on NBC. It starred Ian McShane as King Silas and you can watch all 13 episodes of it on Hulu or NBC's website.

Kings received very little in the way of direct promotion. Most of its advertisements were meant to be viral, but failed to generate the necessary hype. There were a series of posters that appeared in NYC and Los Angeles, and a couple of television spots.

Stuff with spoilers: a review in the New Yorker, and the AV Club reviews most of the individual episodes. Two fan-made promo spots. Official blog with a handful of posts and super-spoilery in-universe blog that's pretty bad.

Also, the series was based on the Biblical story of David.
posted by curious nu (71 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
You mean like Elvis?
posted by jonmc at 8:44 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have this show permanently mixed up with Castle, and therefore think it is still on, despite evidence to the contrary.
posted by griphus at 8:45 PM on November 2, 2011


Needs a "US ONLY" tag.
posted by pompomtom at 8:47 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought it was a fun, if flawed show. I would watch Ian McShane read the phonebook though.
posted by saul wright at 8:52 PM on November 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


Needs a "US ONLY" tag.

It's on the dreadful Netflix service up here in the Queen's Own North America.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:52 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really tried to get into this show when it originally aired (mostly because my girlfriend was interested in it), but I just couldn't. It felt cheesy and ham-fisted.

This quote from the New Yorker article pretty much sums up how I felt at the time:
The plot is confusing when it comes to the war. For one thing, the show—at least as far as the first few episodes go—has made Shiloh real but not the rest of the kingdom. Apart from the farmhouse where David lived and the desert, we never have a sense of how big the kingdom is, what’s at stake, and whether a battle with the enemy, Gath, over water rights is significant or not—whether it’s the equivalent of Maine trying to steal New Hampshire’s entire eighteen miles of coastline, or just two countries’ egos clashing
posted by asnider at 8:53 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh my horsey god, I *adored* this show and was beyond pissed off when it was summarily cancelled. It was really like nothing else on television: hyper-intelligent, just slightly soapy alternate world fantasy set in the equivalent of the present day. I can only imagine the awesomeness that would have ensued had this aired on a cable network that did not require 10 million viewers and could have nurtured the show.

No shit: this was the best thing on a broadcast network since Twin Peaks.
posted by eugenen at 8:54 PM on November 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ah the ephemeral high budget high concept show. Never more than a season. You can see the princess now in Terra Nova, which is equally doomed.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:02 PM on November 2, 2011


The problem with Kings was that they decided to actually try to adhere to the biblical inspiration as closely as they could...and the biblical story really doesn't make any sense. So garbage in, garbage out.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:05 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think I watched 2 episodes before I gave up. Holy snoozefest, where's Al Swearingen when you need him? Or Dan. Or even Johnny.
posted by dobbs at 9:07 PM on November 2, 2011


Yeah, I really enjoyed it when it was on, but they spent a TON on the pilot episode, and thus were canceled when ratings did not meet hope of being a "Huge Show". Thanks for the link, there was talk when it was canceled of the first season coming out on DVD since those of us who were watching it couldn't see it end- or I guess missed that they relegated the remaining episodes to unpredictable times on the weekends.

It was eminently watchable and a really interesting and well-executed premise; both the production values and the depth of character felt far more like HBO than anything you typically find on network TV. It did a really good job of having an "epic" feel, with scenes such as those with (was it Brian Cox?) the long-imprisoned former king reminding me again of HBO series and their large, sprawling story lines with a richly implied backstory. I was happy that the David connection/religious angle was underplayed; it wasn't a religious show by any means, although the idea of a "Spoiler thread" for a millenia-old story was amusing on the TWoP forums. :)


One thing I will violently disagree with is the statement "Kings received very little in the way of direct promotion"; at least on NBC, the show was getting CONSTANT spots in every single other NBC show, to the point that I couldn't get away from them and found them terribly annoying. It seems to me the show got as much hype/ad time on NBC as Terra Nova got on FOX (except Terra Nova is a pile of shit show I could only force myself to get through two episodes of, begrudgingly).

Granted, the ads worked a little bit, as I gave it a chance and was pleasantly surprised- but apparently there weren't many of us.
posted by hincandenza at 9:09 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I, too, was drawn to this to see Ian McShane, and he was solid, make no mistake, but damn, I just wished he could curse....just even a little bit, it just wasn't the Ian McShane I grew to love on Deadwood. Even one well placed "cocksucker" would've made the show immeasurably better.

But as it was it just got boring and airless.
posted by Skygazer at 9:17 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I watched it for a few eps. It wasn't bad, but didn't grab me enough to make me keep watching. Ian McShane was definitely the best part.
posted by kmz at 9:17 PM on November 2, 2011


What would happen if a monarchy ruled in part of America?

I loved this show, but it never once occurred to me that it was supposed to be taking place in North America, was that actually the case or was this statement meant figuratively?

If anything, it seemed to me to be a sort of alternative universe European state, much like those featured in certain kinds of anime series.
posted by trackofalljades at 9:17 PM on November 2, 2011


Damn I loved this show. The plot, the actors, the characters, the setting - every little bit.

I will unapologeticly love "Kings" until I die. Ian McShane vs. Brian Cox? YES.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:18 PM on November 2, 2011


Ah the ephemeral high budget high concept show. Never more than a season. You can see the princess now in Terra Nova, which is equally doomed.

With the ratings it's getting 'Once Upon a Time' may get a second season.

On Terra Nova network execs forced the writers to cull the serialized elements from the plot of the first half-dozen episodes which probably hurt the show also they made dinosaurs boring.
posted by the_artificer at 9:19 PM on November 2, 2011


Kings was great. Too good to last on regular TV. It looked more HBO/Showtime, like Deadwood.
Terra Nove? Really?
Once Upon a Time had a great first show, but #2 was much weaker. We'll see.

But Kings... Bummer it didn't last.
posted by cccorlew at 9:25 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I watched this for McShane and stopped watching because it was crappy. Pillars of the Earth was also terrible.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:27 PM on November 2, 2011


I would watch Ian McShane read the phonebook though.

We can do (slightly) better than that.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:28 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The link really should have been on "slightly".
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:30 PM on November 2, 2011


...it never once occurred to me that it was supposed to be taking place in North America, was that actually the case or was this statement meant figuratively?

I thought it was fairly obviously some sort of alternate US. I think this was part of the reason I couldn't get into it -- I couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to buy the concept of America as divided into feudal kingdoms. That's a fault with me, not the show, but that doesn't change the fact that I couldn't get into it as a result.
posted by asnider at 9:31 PM on November 2, 2011


Wait sorry what? The immortal Lovejoy is slightly better than a phonebook? I wish Deadwood McShane were here to teach you a lesson about respect.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:34 PM on November 2, 2011


Lol. I liked it at the time but suspect that it hasn't held up. I must give it another go to find out, though.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:35 PM on November 2, 2011


I thought it was a fun, if flawed show. I would watch Ian McShane read the phonebook though.

This was my experience too. I think that, given time, the series could have found its legs and not been quite so hamfisted, but even with those early warts, I kept wanting to tune in next week, and yeah, McShane was probably 65% of the reason. God help me, I am actually considering watching the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie just to see his performance.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:36 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think Kings was even set on Earth. Not our Earth, anyway. It was an alternate world with the same technology and culture but different continents and history.

I watched five or six episodes, but couldn't get it into the show. These people were from a completely different civilization, but they had values and beliefs that were supposed to correspond with our own, and that seemed wrong. It would have better if they had done more world building at the start and portrayed them as more of a different culture. (Maybe they tried democracy centuries ago but discarded it and went back to prophet kings. Something different anyway.) Spend a few episodes getting us into their skins, and we'd care more about the things they cared about.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:56 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


i, too, enjoyed this show a lot.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:56 PM on November 2, 2011


For what it's worth, I think that Silas was meant to be an exception to the rule in this world. Although I also more or less assumed this was happening somewhere around Northern California, it seemed like Silas came to power in the aftermath of a pretty destructive war, and crowned himself king only because of his religious experience. Gath was ruled by what seemed to be a military dictatorship, which is nothing unusual, and we have just about no information about any other countries, save for the fact that they have a system of international finance and trade (because you can't get companies as powerful as William Cross's without such).

Needless to say, I absolutely loved Kings. No, it wasn't the best show ever, but it was so unlike any other show I've ever seen on network TV that it was absolutely worth watching.

Also, the Home Alone kid was awesome.
posted by cthuljew at 10:12 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read the first three lines of the post and was like THEY ALREADY DID THIS WITH KINGS, duh. Then I realized this was about Kings.

Seriously, dump the John-Boy kid and this would of ruled.

SPOILER ALERT: Ian McShane became king by killing the old king? WRONG. He goes into the dungeons and the old king is still alive and he asks him advice? And the old king is MOTHERFUCKING HARDCORE ACTOR BRIAN COX!

Seriously, two ultra-heavyweights as king and ex king talking it out? So fucking hooked. A bunch of incredible casting decisions hooked to a brilliant idea and a shitty script? How could it go right?

And McShane's general? Wes motherfucking Studi, the bad ass who played Magua in Last of the Mohicans?

Seriously, the casting director deserves a medal.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:18 PM on November 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, the history was (I think):

The Gath people lived in the area first. Then the Gilboans migrated in, forming three nations. The Gathians fought it out with the Gilboans, and the end result was a unified Gilboan nation (led by Silas), and a militarized Gath nation clinging to the remaining land in the north. Shiloh was a ghost town that Silas resettled and made his seat of power.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:19 PM on November 2, 2011


Needless to say, my memory of the actual details of the backstory is sketchy at best. <_<
posted by cthuljew at 10:25 PM on November 2, 2011


We can do (slightly) better than that.

I started watching the Lovejoy interview and got lost in his hair and voice for a few minutes. Then I hit the back button to come back here and I had completely forgot what this post was about.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:29 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's weird that I can remember backstory for a two year old show, but forget the names of everybody except Silas, or most of the plots. The Home Alone kid (Macaulay Culkin) was some kind of scary embarrassment to the family, right? I remember it was a big deal that he was coming home.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:30 PM on November 2, 2011


Seriously, the casting director deserves a medal.

And Saffron Burrows as the Angel of Death. Excellent.

I really liked this show, but there was no way it could survive on network TV. I wish it'd been picked up by another channel. When I become King, I will bring this show back, I swear it.
posted by homunculus at 11:19 PM on November 2, 2011


Michael Green Says Goodbye To Kings
posted by homunculus at 11:20 PM on November 2, 2011


This show was great but I don't think it was hurt by its relatively short run. It's a tight and tasty weekend watch and where would they go with three full seasons, really?
posted by mek at 11:38 PM on November 2, 2011


Ah the ephemeral high budget high concept show. Never more than a season

Lost??
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:10 AM on November 3, 2011


Mek:

Season one is as-is. Season two, David overthrows Silas and becomes King. Season 3, David succumbs to hubris and is destroyed.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:14 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Kings, the show based on a bunch of Jewish stories, with a pile of Christianity instead of the Judaism. I wanted to like it, but I just got bored a few episodes in. My father enjoyed it.
posted by jeather at 4:34 AM on November 3, 2011


The problem with Kings was that they decided to actually try to adhere to the biblical inspiration as closely as they could...and the biblical story really doesn't make any sense. So garbage in, garbage out.

Wrong. The problem with Kings was that they decided to try to adhere to the rough outline of the biblical narrative... without any reference to divine revelation.

In the biblical narrative, David defeats Goliath after he has been publicly anointed by Samuel, which comes after God publicly rejects Saul as king. Put in the correct order and you get a pretty clear narrative arc. So what we have is God rejecting one king, anointing another, and confirming that choice by having the new Anointed One pull off an impossible feat of martial prowess. On top of that, all of this is done in the background of prophecy and history which pretty clearly focus on the House of Judah, so it wouldn't have been all that surprising when David enters the scene.

In the show, David takes out "Goliath" first, and Silas sees his "anointing" later, which no one sees but David and Silas, and Silas' rejection by God also private rather than public. This completely changes the nature of the story, making ambiguous what is clear in the text. Basically, if you take God out of the Bible, it really doesn't make any sense.
posted by valkyryn at 5:12 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I seem to remember they used NYC as the backdrop. Thought the palace/seat of power scenes were painted over Bryant Park?
posted by T10B at 6:26 AM on November 3, 2011


there was talk when it was canceled of the first season coming out on DVD since those of us who were watching it couldn't see it end

Oh, it is on DVD, lest anyone think otherwise: I found a single copy a couple of weeks ago in a grocery store, in a cheapie bin with lots of Golden Girls and Everybody Loves Raymond.

The cheap DVD bin is usually 98% tedious crap that the manufacturers have made too much of and 2% AWESOME stuff that bypasses the tastes of the bourgeoisie. Once in a while, in the midst of the Big Momma II and Meet the Spartans and the oeuvre of Vince Vaughan, you find Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer or something.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:41 AM on November 3, 2011


Loved the show.

The advertising folks at NBC just completely failed to sell the show.

Bonus points to any show that finds a way to directly quote the Old Testament on prime time television without citing it as a source first.
posted by Atreides at 6:47 AM on November 3, 2011


I had mixed feelings - McShane and the overall concept were appealing, but the scripts were average at best, and the plot was already meandering a few episodes in, which suggests to me they didn't really know what to do with their big concept once it was rolling. With smart writers it could have been excellent, instead of being an average soap opera carried by a single outstanding actor. And yes, like I suspect most people, I wanted the king to be able to swear a blue streak at his minions and family, so there was that.
posted by aught at 6:52 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I loved the show, and for the first time in my life I wished I'd paid more attention in Sunday School. Fortunately I live with a guy who went to Bible school.
posted by desjardins at 7:08 AM on November 3, 2011


It's on Netflix. It's... ok. Definitely very slick, but you've seen all these stories before. (This is not a dig, as the producers are clearly using biblical/Shakespearean frameworks on which to hang the narrative.)
posted by clvrmnky at 7:13 AM on November 3, 2011


ricochet biscuit: The oeuvre of Vince Vaughan

Aw man. THAT is so going to be the name of my next band. THANKS!
posted by Skygazer at 7:19 AM on November 3, 2011


I seem to remember they used NYC as the backdrop. Thought the palace/seat of power scenes were painted over Bryant Park?

Yeah, I always sort of imagined - based on very little, I should note - that Shiloh was a kind of alternate-NYC that had been ravaged by a war amongst the little states of Alternate-America, and had emerged as a regional power. But - probably because we never saw a goddamn thing of Gilboa outside the capital, other than one damn farmhouse - I had it in mapped in my head that Silas only ruled, say, the equivalent of New York City plus a few surrounding counties in all directions - enough to be a major regional force, notable for its monarchy, but not that big in the scheme of things. The world we were given was tiny, so I assumed it was as small as I was shown. Maybe the kingdom is the size of half the US and Gath was faux-Mexico or something, but in my head, it was basically The Kingdom of Don't Call It New York vs Oh I dunno Half the Rest of New England.

When you do alternate reality stuff, especially when you aren't explicitly diverging from real history but creating a whole new world, you need some damn detail. The 12 Colonies of Battlestar Galactica were mostly only sketched, but then they all got blown up right away, so that's fine. In this case, we're seeing a whole Kingdom, and we don't even know whether its next-door neighbors are fellow monarchies or if the rest of the continent is parliamentary and mildly amused that this war-hero guy went and declared himself a dynasty.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:26 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


On the series website, it mentions that 'Shiloh' has a population of ~8 million, and the whole country has the population and area of the state of New York. I envisioned it as a kind of city-state too, but that was probably due to the lack of locations other than NYC.

Also, at one point William Cross says 'A king? In this day and age?' like he's incredulous that it even happened, so it appears to be uncommon.

I think they were having a hard time putting in just the right amount of God, not so much that it'll look and feel like something that should belong on PAX, and enough that you can actually have the (Biblical) story.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:52 AM on November 3, 2011


I really enjoyed the first few episodes of Kings, but they never quite seemed clear on what kind of stories they wanted to tell. Was it a political drama? An epic coming-of-age tale? A family-driven soap? A psychological thriller? That lack of focus extended to the acting, where half the cast performed like they were doing Shakespeare, the other half like they were in a tarted up version of Gossip Girl.

Ian McShane was mesmerising, though. I've never seen Deadwood, but this show made me a fan.
posted by Georgina at 8:13 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I loved this show. I was sad that it got cancelled.
posted by CrazyJoel at 9:28 AM on November 3, 2011


I never watched this because I successfully pitched an modern-feudal tabletop RPG ages ago (using the D20 system right before the bubble for games based on it imploded) and wanted to avoid conceptual bleed-through. Now, though . . . might give it a look.
posted by mobunited at 9:48 AM on November 3, 2011


The show was fantastic, by and large. And it's true that Silas carried a whole lot of it. But the cinematography was fantastic as well, and the orange butterflies (both real and iconic) everywhere were just beautiful.
posted by Xoder at 10:36 AM on November 3, 2011


The most amazing thing to me about Terra Nova is how cheap it looks, given all the money thrown at it. It's dinosaurs are not a patch on Primeval 9made on a fraction of the budget), and the distopian future in the pilot looked like something out a SyFy original. In fact if you told me the whole thing was SyFy I'd probably believe you.

The second most amazing thing is they've managed to take boring ass old TNG plots and make them more boring.
posted by Artw at 10:55 AM on November 3, 2011


The cheap DVD bin is usually 98% tedious crap that the manufacturers have made too much of and 2% AWESOME stuff that bypasses the tastes of the bourgeoisie.

Amen to that. Last time I went digging, I picked up a double DVD set of The French Connection and The French Connection II for six bucks. I was both amazed and horrified. Before that, I picked out a matching collection of everything Kubrick, except for Spartacus (which they didn't have). And all of this isn't exactly obscure. What gives, people?

posted by Capt. Renault at 11:29 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most people who want those movies and don't already own them now want them on Blu Ray?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:20 PM on November 3, 2011


Interesting that you mention Battlestar Galactica, tomorrowful. I'd say a better parallel to this is the prequel show, Caprica, which has a similar alternate world soap opera vibe about it. And it necessarily does go a lot deeper into the setting of the 12 Colonies than Battlestar, which blows them all up in the first act of Episode 1.

On one hand, that provides for some really interesting world building. On the other, it's harder to get around the fact that, as originally conceived, the colonies were basically shorthand characterization stereotypes. Capricans are all basically the modern American upper middle class, the Gemenese are all religious fanatics, the Taurons are all Sicilian mobsters, etc.

Like Kings, Caprica had some really strong elements, particularly some characterizations and performances, but again the writers didn't seem to know where they were going and the show basically spent its energy wandering down some really odd dead-ends, becoming singularly obsessed with goings on in Caprica's version of World of Warcraft for several episodes, and having its characters stray off so far into their own plot lines that it was hard to see why they were all in the same show after a while.

I really enjoyed both shows, but I can't argue that they both didn't deserve to be cancelled nonetheless.
posted by Naberius at 12:57 PM on November 3, 2011


Most people who want those movies and don't already own them now want them on Blu Ray?

I basically came to the conclusion that physical media is dead and stopped buying it for the most part.

posted by Artw at 1:28 PM on November 3, 2011


/withholds further comment on Caprica.
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on November 3, 2011


Naberius wrote: Like Kings, Caprica had some really strong elements, particularly some characterizations and performances, but again the writers didn't seem to know where they were going and the show basically spent its energy wandering down some really odd dead-ends, becoming singularly obsessed with goings on in Caprica's version of World of Warcraft for several episodes, and having its characters stray off so far into their own plot lines that it was hard to see why they were all in the same show after a while.

I really enjoyed both shows, but I can't argue that they both didn't deserve to be cancelled nonetheless.


I only saw the first few episodes of Kings. I thought they needed to give it a little while longer before canning it, although I wasn't terribly entranced or anything. It seemed like something that could be interesting and was occasionally interesting.

Caprica, though? I think SyFy fucked up big time on that one. They canceled it just as all the setup at the beginning was starting to pay off. Certainly, a couple of episodes dragged, but I can't think of a single dramatic series that hasn't had some growing pains in the first season and occasional throwaway episodes.

Most of the first season of Lost, and most especially episode numero uno, were complete dreck, although I did catch a few later episodes (my SO was into it) that were actually pretty darn good, even with only knowing the very basic bits of the story line.
posted by wierdo at 1:56 PM on November 3, 2011


Lost was ultimately nonsense but it's first episode set up an intriguing premise, gave you some distinct characters and hooked you in.

The first episode of Caprica... well, it just sort of sat there, not being BSG.
posted by Artw at 2:06 PM on November 3, 2011


You know what I am surprised as hell survived it's first few episodes but subsequently redeemed it seem and then some? Fringe.
posted by Artw at 2:08 PM on November 3, 2011


I think SyFy had no idea what they were getting with Caprica and expected it to be more space opera, which it obviously wasn't (and was never going to be.) NBC probably had a similar issue with Kings... we ordered a nice wholesome Bible show and there's no God in it, but a whole bunch of people being dicks?
posted by mek at 3:00 PM on November 3, 2011


I dunno about that, there were an awful lot of interviews pushing the "not really science fiction, serious drama" line in the run up to it, and it's not like SyFy actually has any kind of affinity for Space Opera.
posted by Artw at 3:03 PM on November 3, 2011


Fringe is a fascinating case. It feels like they retooled the show about halfway through the first season, redoing many of the early story "beats" later on with different people (for instance, David Jones -> Thomas Newton) and focusing more on the relationships between the three main characters. It was a big improvement.

Kings may have done something similar if they'd survived, but I guess the costs were too high and ratings too low to justify another season. NBC has had a lot of trouble with dramas in recent years.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:57 PM on November 3, 2011


It does feel like they were a bit surprised not to get cancelled at the end of Season 3 though.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on November 3, 2011


The first episode of Caprica... well, it just sort of sat there, not being BSG.

The end of the first episode of Caprica was awesome (not because it was over) and left me excited to see where they would go with it - the idea that AI preceded cyclons had innumerable neat things that could happen in a BSG context about what it means to be human or more than human, but all we got was faux-robo-angst.
posted by Sparx at 5:44 PM on November 3, 2011


I discovered Kings after re-watching Deadwood in HD and looking at stuff McShane was in. A friend had recommended Pillars of the Earth, which I enjoyed thoroughly, so I started trying out Kings.

It felt like a very cheap version of Titus (which I enjoyed) mixed with Dogville/Manderlay (too theatre/minalist/high-concept for me). It also felt like there wasn't anything that caught my attention or made me want to find out what happens next. Donald Sutherland and Rufus Seawell powered through the first few epsiodes of Pillars enough until the story got me interested enough to invest in the show to it's pretty fantastic end. Ian McShane wasn't up to that task for Kings. Just ended up not being my bag, I guess.

The first few episodes of Fringe weren't great, but the premise was good enough for me to stick with it until it got really good and the actors started to bloom, unlike Threshold where the actors kept me interested enough to accept the premise and the follow-through, but that show was ultimately humanely euthanized early.

Is Terra Nova as bad as I expected it to be, and what early critics are saying? Was Spielberg contract-bound to produce something as a Devil's deal for his WWII TV minis?
posted by porpoise at 10:05 PM on November 3, 2011


Terra Nova is a lot like Star Trek Voyager with dinosaurs, alas. But I'm still hopeful that it will get better.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:20 PM on November 3, 2011


It is just not good. I don't imagine it getting better.
posted by Artw at 7:26 AM on November 4, 2011


Late to the party, but I had to chime in. A relative of mine was involved with the making of Kings and was really excited to be working on it. He was supposed to be helping plot out the story - around the table at a family gathering, he made an offhand remark about how he wondered if the David and Jonathan characters could get together in the end.
I couldn't help but insert my 2 cents: "Ummm ... you know that Jonathan dies, right? Because David can't be king if Jonathan and Saul (Silas) are alive..."
Thus began hours of pouring through my memories of the Book of Samuel (since THAT's actually where the Saul/David story is from, despite the misleading name of the series). We had a really great time plotting out ways that the story could go and how closely it needed to parallel its source-text.
Like many misunderstood and mishandled network shows, it didn't get nearly that far and didn't love up to the promise of its premise and amazing cast (and crew, if I say so myself. :) And I never got my credit of "unofficial Biblical adviser."
Next time...
posted by bookgirl18 at 12:07 PM on November 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


So... I'm now most of the way through season 1 and I like it enough to be disappointed it didn't get a second season. I don't find myself needing anything more from McShane than he's delivering, and the supporting cast is surprisingly decent. Cox outdoes himself. And I like seeing Mark Margolis in anything, though they don't do much with him. But as season 1 wears on, the writers seem to be taking some odd detours (charitably; less so: filler). I'd still like to spend some more time in that world.

Fringe, though? Really? Seems like the kind of thing I'd have loved when I was 13 and outgrown just a couple of years later. No offense, but very far along on the schlock continuum. Well past X-Files.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:56 AM on November 5, 2011


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