Sunday, May 23, 2010

TV Review: Kings

Michael Green's "Kings" started with a compelling premise - a modern, divinely-inspired absolute monarchy - but never seemed to find a solid focus. Was the show an action-adventure tale, a sci-fi style alternate reality drama, a profound religious allegory or a star-crossed love story?

It was interesting, though, for taking the idea of direct communication with God and direct divine intervention in human affairs as legitimate plot devices and not an example of mental illness. Green himself complained about the refusal of NBC to directly market the series' themes to religious audiences, and it's easy to understand why he was disappointed - network shows that take religious faith seriously without reducing it to soft-focus, family-friendly platitudes are mighty scarce.

The series gets a big plus for Ian McShane's nuanced and emotional role as King Silas and Susanna Thompson as the detail-oriented Queen Rose. There's also the tantalizing question of what would have become of Macaulay Culkin as the son of the kingdom's manipulative villain William Cross (Dylan Baker) had the minimal screen time of his role stretched past its initial five episodes. And of course Brian Cox is good in everything he does, including his 3-episode arc as the deposed and imprisoned King Vesper Abaddon.

Recommended to Old Testament fanatics, monarchists, and anyone who ever wished Carter Baizen from "Gossip Girl" was gay.


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