Kings on NBC: Who Knew?
How have I missed this? Kings on NBC: A show…based on the rise of David to the throne…set in a monarchy that is culturally and technologically more or less modern-day American. David Shepherd slays a Goliath-class tank, to become a feared darling in the court of King Silas of Gilboah, in the modern city of Shiloh. And I don’t know about it? Clearly I need new minions.
On Hulu, I have watched the first three episodes of five. I will not offer a review, except to say that I remain intrigued and am enjoying it enough to keep watching (and I don’t watch much).
A thoughtful reviewer at Epic Beat reflects on the fact that, while Christian Americans are supposedly always asking Hollywood to give them something biblical, Kings is not dominating our culture’s discourse or the ratings charts.
I think that Kings has been under Americans’ radar because it is not extreme. It is not beholden to a precise adherence to the biblical narrative nor to irreverent iconoclasm, preferring to work more fluidly and thoughtfully with the biblical plots, themes, and symbols. It is not beholden to the Vast Conservative Conspiracy™ or to the Left Wing Liberal Agenda™: for example, a major character describes another’s gayness as “disgust[ing]” to him, but at the same time presupposes that it is “what God ma[kes]” that person. The God of Kings is, so far, an offstage character, invoked on screen but not entering pyrotechnically to take anybody’s side in a decisive display of disambiguation.
That is, Kings is using the David story to ask questions about God, not to deliver answers. The irony is, this may be just the kind of show that the religious 90%-ers—those not served by the bullhorns at any given polarized extremes—could take ownership of. But it may be just because the bullhorns aren’t sounding off about the show that it dies of anemia before anyone takes notice.