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Kings - 15/3/2009 9:52:50 AM   
Captain Black


Posts: 6605
Joined: 30/9/2005
Don't anticipate there to be a huge level of interest for this, but it's the certainly the most ambitious of the new network programmes to be broadcast in the 2008/09 season.

It stars Ian McShane as King Silas Benjamin of Gilboa, whose capital is Shiloh: an alternate-reality New York, and it's vaguely described as a modern retelling of David versus Goliath. 'David' is played by Christopher Egan, and Goliath by, well, a tank. Some of the reviews have thrown the word 'Shakespeare' as well in describing its delivery. But as something that doesn't involve superpowers, law-enforcement or medical professionals, this strikes me as a cable show wrapped up (hopefully not neutered) in network clothing.

Reviews so far have been positive, or at least veer on the side of 'interesting'.

Salon.com

The royal treatment: NBC's "Kings" is a rare and beautiful thing -- cinematic, poetic, ambitious television on prime time network TV.

Tim Goodman

Starting with a two-hour premiere on Sunday, "Kings" is a curious piece of television that ultimately may not end up going anywhere satisfying. But in the premiere and two subsequent episodes, it keeps you wondering just what in the world it wants to be. And in a TV landscape of cookie-cutter formulas, that's a rare feat indeed.

Alan Sepinwall

...odd duck of a show, which is almost always interesting but never quite as engaging as I wanted it to be.

Maureen Ryan

All "Kings” (7 p.m. Sunday, WMAQ-Ch. 5; three stars) had to do was give me an excuse to watch Ian McShane. Happily, this generally well-told tale of a modern-day king and his restive court has more going for it than a charismatic performance from the dependably wonderful "Deadwood” star.

Edit: Oh yeah, it starts tonight in the States, with two episodes. Fingers crossed it'll see three before it's cancelled.


< Message edited by Captain Black -- 15/3/2009 9:54:25 AM >


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RE: Kings - 15/3/2009 10:03:13 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54428
Joined: 1/10/2005
I was wondering where this had gone from the initial new shows thread. Those reviews look very interesting, particularly good for McShane - certainly on my 'to watch' list.

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RE: Kings - 15/3/2009 11:08:26 AM   
Joedini


Posts: 2878
Joined: 1/10/2005
From: Kent
I'm actually quite looking forward to this one. So I'll probably wait until its a few episodes in before I start watching.

I'm very much a cancellationaphobe now. Probably should have done that with Castle too, already invested.

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RE: Kings - 18/3/2009 9:22:29 PM   
Captain Black


Posts: 6605
Joined: 30/9/2005
Ratings weren't good - as much as anything it'll probably depend on what else NBC has to show; fingers crossed they'll broadcast the completed episodes though virtually no chance of a second season. Which is a real shame, because....

It's grand, almost HBO or BBC on their best form levels in terms of production and style, but the obvious ambition at work is occasionally offset by the limitations of television - notably a few of the combat sequences and some of the additions to New York's skyline. I was really impressed by Christopher Egan as David (after fearing he could be a weak link) but he's solid as David, giving the impression of a young Matt Damon. Perhaps to be expected, McShane steals the show as King Silas; he's just made for the role and revels in every second of it. So, while it doesn't always work, it also has moments of very high quality throughout and it really does a fine job in creating a believable alternate universe (thankfully both Mercedes and Bentley appear to be in existance). By far the best network pilot of the season.


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RE: Kings - 22/3/2009 6:45:27 PM   
princessa


Posts: 732
Joined: 6/6/2006
I agree with you CaptainBlack...the best pilot i have seen in ages.  It is what you would expect as they spent $10 million on it!

The performances were solid; the acting great.  It had enough plot twists to keep me hooked.  Sadly though it looks as if it will be cancelled.  The ratings haven't been good...oh why couldn't the makers have gone to HBO with this or some other cable channel?

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RE: Kings - 22/3/2009 7:33:27 PM   
Captain Black


Posts: 6605
Joined: 30/9/2005
This is from NBC's head honcho Ben Silverman:

quote:

Q: Any thoughts on "Kings"? Could something have been done differently, and do you still think it can pull it out?

Silverman: I’m hoping because intent [to view] went up and awareness went up after it aired, clearly people responded to it, and it grew over its two hours. That gives me some hope. It's just hard to launch things that are not obvious. We may get nailed for it, but I'm proud of the show, and we need to keep taking chances like that.


Reading between the lines a bit, that's more a defensive 'I tried my best, you can't criticise me for it failing', rather than 'We'll do whatever we can to keep it on the air'.

And it's definitely tonally a cable show, but aside from the ratings pressure I don't feel as if it's losing anything in terms of content by virtue of being on a network. I'm hoping that they'll receive sufficient praise for it that it loiters as one of their (few) prestige shows in the same way 30 Rock did. As a network they've just fallen so far from grace it's a vicious circle, I don't even think (off the top of my head) that they've got a big reality show that they can launch new programmes behind.

As much as the budget thing will be stick to beat the show with if ratings drop, there's also the flipside that execs don't like to admit failure by yanking shows when they've invested that much in them. The figure for the pilot isn't excessive - it's high, but a lot of pilots take a bit hit as they construct sets that last the whole series. It sure looked its budget to me anyway.

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RE: Kings - 31/3/2009 10:35:40 PM   
Captain Black


Posts: 6605
Joined: 30/9/2005
And thus, I'll keep posting in this thread as if 'twere a great soliloquy.

Second episode Prosperity continues the strong start, indeed in some ways it feels like the final act of the pilot, with some cross and double-cross leading to the peace treaty with Gath being signed. Also: Brian Cox in a surprise guest role, just great to see him act against McShane again.

Third episode First Night on the other hand, is the weakest so far, featuring a B-plot that seems to be more appropriate to Gossip Girl than the far more ambitious preceding three hours. It does however contain a much stronger thread involving Silas's son Seth, even though the dying son concept is straight out of a medical drama and, considering this show isn't going to be on the air much longer, seems a bit of a waste. Still, it maintains its place as the best-looking-show-on-TV (by my reckoning) and there's still some good stuff, much of it extracted by McShane's magnetic screen presence.


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