The poster has been at my subway stop for months. It’s a bright, sharp photo of a man in a suit, his back to the viewer, looking over the water at the New York City skyline. It could be a Bank of America ad, except that the man is waving an enormous orange flag stamped with a butterfly crest.
It’s the promo ad for NBC’s Kings, an alternate-history drama based on the life of King David. Warring kingdoms stand on an erstwhile New York. When young soldier David Shepherd (get it?) saves a young man who turns out to be King Silas’ son, David is taken under the ruler’s wing and catapulted to fame and fortune. I’m guessing that over the course of the first season, King Silas’s initial offer to David of “half my kingdom” comes back to bite him.
The literal David-and-Goliath setup certainly comes with a lot of soap-opera-worthy source material. Not a lot about the premise is revealed on the website, but the biblical King David had a pretty juicy life. I can’t wait for sweeps week in Season Four, when David sends Uriah to the front lines so he can marry Uriah’s wife Bathsheba the moment she becomes a widow. Love triangle!
Until then, we’ll have to see how the premise spins out. They seem to have done a lot of subtle world-building and some great location-scouting, which should provide a nice point-and-identify drinking game. First up: the Royal Mumblechamber in the photo above is Jazz at Lincoln Center, off Columbus Circle. Drink!
Some of the cast is stellar: the legendary Ian McShane, Oz‘s Eamonn Walker, and Wes Studi, who has spent decades acing supporting roles that require people to be the shit. I don’t have the same faith in the under-30 cast, mostly because they’re coming from gigs like Eragon and Gossip Girl, and we might get stuck with a pile of wistful gazes and jawlines carved from granite. (I’ll let you know after I see the pilot.)
I’ll admit, though, I’m excited. I love a good alt-history, and NBC’s recent success with other speculative shows means that this one might get more than five episodes to prove itself before it’s canceled. The show also gets a boost from having Heroes‘ Michael Green as executive producer; with him at the helm we probably have a great season ahead of us. After that we just have countless dead-end subplots and time-travel stunt episodes to deal with, so enjoy Kings while you can!
Kings premieres Sunday, March 15 at 8/7c on NBC.