Watching a few episodes of Under the Dome, I couldn’t help but wonder: how is this absurdity on TV when so many other, better series failed to get past a first season run? (I’m astonished that Under the Dome even got a season one pickup, but that’s another rant for another day.) One show came to mind in particular, a show I think of often despite its absence on Netflix and Amazon Instant Video — Kings.
Kings is weird, don’t get me wrong. It’s a re-imagination of the Bible’s King David story, set in a world that resembles modern-day America but functions as a full-fledged monarchy. NBC aired the series in 2009 before The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones made “genre” TV cool again. Shocked that the series failed to pick up substantial audiences after little marketing and a heavy-handed appeal to premiere the season during Easter time, NBC shoved the remaining episodes to Saturdays and then summer after airing only four episodes in its regular slot.
Starring Christopher Egan, now playing an ironically similar role on Syfy’s Dominion, as David and Ian McShane as King Silas, the show’s version of King Saul, the show mixed royal intrigue, romance, Scandal-esque political drama, and family melodrama all within the trappings of (Maybe) God’s Mysterious Plan.
The highlight of the series is Sebastian Stan’s performance. Pre-Winter Soldier and even pre-Jefferson the Mad Hatter, Stan brought his brooding magnetism to the role of Jack, Kings‘ Jonathan. Arrogant, hotheaded, and brimming with angst, Jack struggles with gaining his father’s approval as a worthy heir to the throne as well as his sexual identity. Despite playing the part of the ladies’ man for the tabloids, Jack has a secret boyfriend, a relationship forbidden in the Kingdom of Gilboa.
Not to get too far into spoiler territory, the series picks up some intriguing, although not all successful, arcs. Eamonn Walker pops up here in there as Reverend Samuels, leaving a palpable aura of creepy religious prophecy in his wake. There’s a strained romantic subplot between David and Michelle, which would work better if there was actual chemistry between the actors. Plus, Macaulay Culkin shows up for some reason!
NBC has yet to release Kings on Blu-ray. Here’s hoping Netflix, Amazon, or another streaming provider buys the rights to the series, so that all can more readily enjoy the crown of monarchs (rather than the Monarch under the Mini Dome).