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October 14, 2015

Kings: Prosperity

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 23rd 2009 1:33PM
Ian McShane in Kings
(S01E02) - "You're just one boy. What good can you do here against all that?"

Kings is a show about a lot of things: love, money, greed, power, guys in suits that cost more than one year of college tuition. Mostly it's about action and consequences. So if the show's premiere episode was about war as a consequence, then naturally the next episode should be about its root cause: politics.

We finally get a taste of the aristocracy from the inside in the second episode. All the scheming and conniving that makes the greatest primetime soap operas and dramas like The Shield and The West Wing so great to watch. The fun comes from figuring how people like Vic Mackey and President Bartlet are going to get themselves out one bear trap without chewing their own foot off and choking on the marrow.

In Kings' case, however, the plot seems to have found its way out of one bear trap and inadvertently stepped right into another.

The premiere ended on a great cliffhanger. David received the divine blessing with the crown of butterflies and is starting to fall for King Silas' daughter. The King now sees him as a threat, so he does what any rational, level-headed king with almighty power and military superiority would do: have the little bastard taken out. All right! Kings is about to go old testament on your ass.

Things get even more amped up when Gath comes to Shiloh to sign a peace treaty after a long and bloody war that David helped to end. Gath's king and his general, played by uber-scary actor Miguel Ferrer, don't like the terms of the treaty and decide its time to take their bullets and go home. Then just when things couldn't get any worse, Silas' gold treasury runs dry. Uh oh, sounds like someone is having a case of the Mondays.

The villains really get a chance to shine in this episode. Ferrer pounds his fist on tables and gets nose-to-nose with the people who get in his way. Dylan Baker, who plays corporate schemer William Cross, stews over the king's latest troubles from his ivory tower and shows an eerie pride in wearing Gilboa's lust for war like a cheap cologne. If the Emmys gave out an award for Best Portrayal of a Douchebag, the jury would have a hard time picking between these two, assuming that Jeff Zucker hasn't been nominated.

The problem is ALL of these problems are resolved in under an hour. The characters in Kings found themselves dealing with some interesting problems, but the plot took away almost all of them with the exception of Silas' son, Jack, who aims to undermine David and prevent him from stealing his throne. The only way the episode could have ended on a happier ending is with a group hug and a picnic.

So where does the show go from here? Writer Michael Green might have a few tricks up his sleeve and may have tied up these loose ends early because he's worried the show would be cancelled too soon. It seems after the second episode that the biggest conflict within Kings is finding new ones that will hold a regular audience's attention.

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I judge a TV show by whether or not I "can't wait for the next one". From the moment the Kings pilot ended, I couldn't wait for the next installment.

I think this show is AWESOME. Of course it'll get cancelled, because all the TV shows I like get cancelled. "Everyone" else watches American Idol, Survivor, and whatever other reality shlock that clogs up our prime time.

Sadly, the good, original dramas that do not involve cops, lawyers, doctors and CSI agents rarely make it past Season 1.

Kudos to NBC for airing this...but will they have the balls to keep it on the air? I hope so, I hope so...

March 24 2009 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

@Shana: Speaking of awesome music, the score playing through the first scene (Silas screaming at the clouds) caught me by surprise. Wow, that sounded cool.

March 24 2009 at 1:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show is absolutely fantastic. I love the grand scale of it all. The characters are all interesting, and we're only just beginning to meet and understand them. Since it's available on hulu, I have been pushing everyone I know to watch it. That said, this feels awfully close to another case of "America just doesn't get it". I sincerely hope I am incorrect!

I found it quite interesting to see the "fallen" king Silas has hidden away in a cellar, and the odd exchange with Michelle later must have led others to also wonder if she was in that photograph?

I agree that the title sequence is lame, but the music was awesome and triumphant/motivating, if I recall correctly. New Amsterdam, Mad Men: now THERE are some title sequences. (And I still dance to Without A Trace if ever I catch the first few minutes of that show.)

March 24 2009 at 12:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really liked this second episode for some reason. It seemed to flow really well and the darker moments with McShane were very well-played. I found myself wanting to keep watching the way I do with BSG, or Lost, or season 1 or Heroes. (Alas, I felt a bit spoiled by the pilot, 'cause this one seemed too short!)

@Ziggy: Yeah, what was up with that? I rather liked the minimalistic title card from the pilot.

March 23 2009 at 10:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm enjoying it while I can. This one looks like a quick exit; it got beat like a drum in the ratings again.

There were yet again nice little twists in the show. I loved the reveal that Silas has had quite a big ace up his sleeve all these years and knows how to milk it quite well. The queen's iron fist in a velvet glove turn with her brother was also entertaining and promising at the same time.

I'd love for the show to succeed, but I suspect that what others have said may be right. This would have done better as a mini or maxi series.

March 23 2009 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love this show. I don't know what it is specifically, but there is just something moving - an stirring - about the themes running through the episodes: war, love, betrayal, secrets... all wrapped up with a pseudo-fantasy element.

I will miss Battlestar, but Kings gives me hope that there is something else out there I can watch, and enjoy, and it not feel like a cheap guilty pleasure.

Kudos to NBC... for now.

March 23 2009 at 6:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Kings is about to go old testament on your ass. "

I think that might be a better catch phrase than, "Don't make me throw an Iraqi shoe at you."
I'm going to have to remember it. :D

March 23 2009 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tv junkie

I tried my best to like the show, but it's just not working. i find the over-the-top theatrical dialogues are less annoying now, but the miscast young actors are distracting. the darker moments with veteran actors are great, and they kept me interested. But, those good-looking bunch from Gossip Girl and plot right out of Dirty Sexy Money are not working at all. those young actors are so not in the same league as the otherwise superb older cast that they should have hire more mature actors to play those younger parts, even the lead, and especially the king's daughter. sometimes looking pretty on screen just isn't enough when you're acting with much better talents.

March 23 2009 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tv junkie's comment

@tv junkie: I agree; the older characters are just more compelling, more fleshed out than the do-gooder/no-gooder young characters. I'm hoping, with time, there is more reason to care about David, et al.

Overall, I think the show is promising, but may get bogged down too much in the prophetic schtick, something I write about here (tubatv.wordpress.com).

March 26 2009 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another fantastic episode, to bad it was slightly brought down by a horrendous title sequence. The titles were like a cheap soap opera. I expected more!

March 23 2009 at 3:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

pirates marked this ep S01E03 so you should follow, eh? what's the point of using these markings otherwise? :)

March 23 2009 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to chuck's comment

Because it is Prosperity Ep S01E03, last week's episode was Goliath Ep 1 & 2

March 23 2009 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Danny Gallagher

The first episode "Goliath" had a "two-hour premiere" and was one episode. Hence the 02 for "Prosperity."

March 23 2009 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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