March 18, 2009

How Soon Before NBC Cancels "Kings"?



I ask in all seriousness because NBC is infamous for cancelling shows before they even get a chance to acquire a viewing audience or delve into really meaty storylines. "Kings" is probably one of the most innovative, unusual, creative shows I have seen in a while - - which means that the NBC PTB are probably chomping at the bit to write it a pink slip.

Take "The Black Donnellys". Totally different from anything on regular (i.e., non-cable) t.v. Sort of the poor man's "The Sopranos". Relative unknown actors in the lead roles but that can be good, because you don't associate them with anything else. Cancelled.

Or "Journeyman". Not necessarily innovative, as time travel has been dealt with before, most notably with "Quantum Leap". But "Journeyman" had a devoted following, as well as the spectacular assets of lead actor Kevin McKidd. The show was just hitting its stride when NBC pulled the plug.

How about "My Own Worst Enemy"? This show was advertised so much prior to the fall season starting, I honestly thought I wouldn't even need to watch the premiere episode and probably could have recited the commercials in my sleep. "Enemy" had the additional noteworthy talents of Christian Slater in the lead, dual roles of Henry and Edward and a plethora of storylines the show had not even begun to tap into when NBC drug out the axe.

"Kings" comes in, I suppose, as a mid-season replacement ("Medium's standard role, it seems -- another show not treated well by NBC, that deserves much better). The incomparable Ian McShane stars as King Silas Benjamin in a country that used to be the United States but after a great war some 20 years earlier, is now a place called Gilboa, with the King residing in a city called Shiloh. Unlike the reserved and not a hair out of place Queen Elizabeth, this King Silas is both a good guy and a bad guy. I certainly wouldn't want to work for him. There is so much backstabbing and illegal activities going on in his court or palace or administration or whatever you would call it, as it is no longer a presidency. Enter David Shepherd (Chris Egan, who looks so much like Matt Damon in certain scenes, it's disturbing), a member of Shiloh's military, who saved the King's son from a hostage situation, along with another soldier, and is rewarded by being pulled out of the line of fire in the active battlefield against a country called Gath and put in a position as publicity adviser. The "reward" is most definitely one of a questionable nature, as one of the King's advisers does not like Shepherd and has an itchy trigger finger that he is not hesitant to use. The King's son, rather than being appreciative of Shepherd risking his life to save the King's son, is angry that Shepherd got the position he himself wishes. After all, he was the one that was taken hostage, he should be getting the press and the rewards, not his savior. Oh, and apparently despite his actions and image as quite the ladies' man, the King's son appears to bat for the home team, albeit secretly, but the King knows. And the King has a longtime mistress, who has had his child - - another son. The King's daughter seems to be the only normal person living in the palace - - even the Queen is a snotty type who loves her position far more than her children or even her husband - - but she and Shepherd have developed feelings for each other. Much to the King's chagrin.

Quite a tangled web, wouldn't you say? I'm curious to see where "Kings" goes - - if NBC doesn't cancel it before it's given a chance to shine.

Check it out on Sunday nights at 8 pm.

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