Recently I was treated to a special screening of the two-hour pilot episode of the upcoming NBC drama “Kings” and had the opportunity to go on set while the cast was filming their penultimate episode of Season 1. Starring Ian McShane (“Deadwood”) and Christopher Egan (“Eragon”), the show is a modern day re-telling of the classic biblical tale of David and Goliath and premieres Sunday, March 15th at 8pm ET on NBC.
Egan plays David, a young man from a large family that enters the military and finds an unlikely path to fame after he makes a heroic act that captivates the nation and endears himself to King Silas (McShane). As Americans with a President and not a monarchy, we’ve always seemed to be fascinated by the English system of ruling and the pomp and circumstance associated with that, and this series taps into that curiosity.
It’s interesting to see the parallels in the story to the war we’re currently waging in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although the kingdom here is the fictional Gilboa, it’s easy to see where executive producer Michael Green drew inspiration from. The rest of the stellar cast includes Susanna Thompson, (“Once & Again”) who plays Queen Rose, Sebastian Stan (“The Covenant”) – the King’s son with a big secret, and Allison Miller as the King’s daughter Michelle.
Green said during the Q+A session of the screening that there will be plenty of storyline to run through, with the whole life of David from the Bible as fodder. So if the series is a hit, there will be plenty of juicy storylines for Season 2. “Kings” is a great blend of romance, intrigue, spirituality and betrayal.
The pilot quickly introduces us to the world of Gilboa and teases the rise of David. The King elevates David to an important position in the government, which angers black sheep son Jack Benjamin, but is there more than meets the eye going on here? David is uncomfortable at first with his newfound fame but strikes up a surprising friendship with the King’s daughter that puts him more at ease.
Just like McShane’s infamous Al Swearengen from “Deadwood,” King Silas is multi-layered and hard to pin down in such simple shades of black or white. He is a King willing to do anything for his family, yet is conflicted about the war his country is waging that is unpopular and increasingly deadly. The King’s actions in the pilot are sometimes devious, always manipulative, and just the kind of stuff that a good drama has to have.
A butterfly swarm, a missing cellphone and a lingering glance all reveal key plot points in the pilot, so keep your eyes peeled. “Kings” is definitely one of the best new shows of the year and I can’t wait to see where Green takes the story, how faithfully he follows the story of David, and where he veers off a bit. The cast he’s assembled is top notch and should open up the storytelling to encompass any direction he wants to take it in. Catch “Kings” Sunday, March 15th at 8pm ET on NBC.