Short Television Review: Kings

*Kings* was an ambitious, well-made, unique piece of television and thus, doomed from its very start to cancellation at the hands of the network. As such it still wins my choice for best show of the season, an (dubious?) honor it shares with past ventures such as [*Pushing Daisies*](http://doombot.com/2007/10/23/watch-this/) and [*The Middleman*](http://doombot.com/2008/07/22/short-television-review-the-middleman/). At turns biblical, Shakesperean, with a dash of both *The West Wing* and even *Carnivale*, *Kings* was a complex epic set in a world that sported many of the trappings of our own whilst maintaining a distinctly alien feeling. The complex relationship between King Silas Benjamin (Ian McShane), a once-honorable man who united his nation, and David Shepherd (Christopher Egan), the young hero who is destined to succeed him, twisted and turned, but portrayed a bond that was believable and even, at times, touching. The show was further enlivened by supporting performances such as Eamonn Walker as man of God Reverend Samuels and—my personal favorite—Brian Cox as Silas’s deposed predecessor.

*Kings* carved itself a difficult path: some speculated it was the heavy biblical allusions that were the problem, but I give the show kudos for being willing to take on the role of religion in a way that was neither sappy and sentimental nor out-and-out castigating. While the series at least got to complete its 13-episode first season, the final episode left plenty of room for the plot to continue onwards (in that, it reminds me of another early-cancelled NBC shows, *Kidnapped*). The show’s poor ratings made it hard to justify its renewal—though the *cause* of those low ratings could be laid at least partially at the feet of poor marketing by the network—but it does make me wish once again that more viewers *and* networks would take a chance on something that’s not just a police, medical, or legal procedural.

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I also very much enjoyed Kings, anyone interested in checking it out might like to know that the entire run is available on Hulu.



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