“Kings,” a modern day spin on the Bible story of King David, is the new drama series from NBC which premiered on March 15th. Starring Australian actor Christopher “Chris” Egan (Eragon) and Ian McShane, “Deadwood”), the 2-hour premier of Kings is full of palace intrigue. From executive producer Michael Green (NBC’s “Heroes”) this series about a modern day monarchy is well made and and well acted.
The premier episode of “Kings” is a contemporary re-telling of the Bible story of David and Goliath. Young David Shepherd works on cars on the family farm. The day the new capital city is dedicated, David fixes the car of Reverend Ephram Samuels (Eamonn Walker, “Oz”). David gets some grease on his forehead which Samuels wipes off, appearing to see something in the young man as he does so.
A few years pass, and King Silas Benjamin (Ian McShane), the king of Gilboa, is ruling his kingdom from his brand-new capital city of Gilboa is Shiloh, where King Silas rules his kingdom. The national flag bears a divine butterfly symbol, representing the day the king was anointed by God with a living crown of butterflies. But Silas is dealing with a war on the Northern border of Gilboa with neighboring nation Gath. When several prisoners of war are captures, David Shepherd, who is now a young soldier, defies orders and crosses enemy lines to save them. The prisoners are guarded by “Goliaths” – imposing high-tech tanks. One of the soldiers David saves is Jack Benjamin (Sebastian Stan, “The Covenant”), the son of King Silas.
The king brings David to Shiloh where he meets beautiful princess Michelle Benjamin (Allison Miller), and where David begins to reluctantly be involved in palace politics as his life changes forever. As the two-hour premiere nears its conclusion, King Silas watches butterflies light on young David’s heads, creating a circlet of fluttering wings.
“Kings” promises to be an epic story of greed and power, war and romance, forbidden loves and secret alliances. High points included the Biblical parallels and the impressive stellar cast. Susanna Thompson (“Once & Again”) plays Queen Rose Benjamin, the supportive wife of King Silas. Allison Miller (“Lucy’s Piano”) stars as King Silas’ intelligent and outspoken daughter, Michelle. General Linus Abner (Wes Studi, “Last of the Mohicans,” “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”), Reverend Ephram Samuels (Eamonn Walker, “Oz”) and William Cross, Silas’ brother-in-law (Dylan Baker, “Spiderman 2”), all try to influence King Silas in various ways. Rumor has it Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone) may soon join the cast as the exiled nephew of king. (1)
In a recent scifiwire.com interview, Christopher Egan who plays David said, “I was always interested in the story of David growing up. I heard the story in church, and I was always very inspired by the story. Actually, I always imagined, … it was kind of like a dream to do it, to play David… So, yes, I was very inspired by the character and to see a story like this come to life.”(2)
However, “Kings” takes many, MANY liberties and is definitely a very loose retelling of the Biblical tale. After watching for two hours, I never heard one word about God escape David’s lips, although King Silas does make several references to God. And Jack (the character based upon Jonathan) is a apparently a homosexual who harbors jealousy towards David and as well as forming a secret alliance with his uncle (Dylan Baker) to overthrow King Silas.
From Universal Media Studios, “Kings” is executive-produced by Michael Green, Erwin Stoff (“I Am Legend”) and Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”), who also directed the “Goliath” pilot. It is too soon for me to give “Kings” a thumbs up or thumbs down, but this will definitely be a show to keep your eye one!
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