Kings: An Overview

From the directors of the movie I Am Legend, (Francis Lawrence and Erwin Stoff) and hit TV series Heroes, (Michael Green) comes NBC’s Kings, a modern-day twist on the story of King David.  

The show is cast with some big name stars including Ian McShane (Deadwood) and Chris Egan (Eragon and Resident Evil: Extinction), and some fresh into the limelight including, Sebastian Stan (Gossip Girl) and Allison Miller.  

Set in the sci-fi-esque country of Gilboa (think Gotham City), King Silas (McShane) has come into power. Its new capital, Shiloh, has been reclaimed by Silas and turned into a thriving metropolis. But the king must handle the rising tensions with its neighboring nation, Gath.  

Several soldiers are taken as hostages, but a row of Goliath tanks prevents Gilboa's army from rescuing their companions. A young mechanic and now soldier, David Shepherd (get it?), disobeys orders and ventures over into enemy territory to help rescue the hostages. He comes face-to-face with one of the Goliaths, and destroys the tank to save the hostages. In a strange turn of events, one of the hostages David saves turns out to be the royal prince, Jack Benjamin (Sebastian Stan).  

For saving the king's son, David is thrust into the public eye and heralded as a hero. Paparazzi follow him everywhere as he is brought into the royal court. The king shows his gratitude and offers him “half my kingdom” as the biblical saying goes. David doesn’t want money, but he does have his eyes on the king’s activist daughter, Michelle Benjamin. 

The king has bigger plans for David, promoting him to captain and forcing him to become the spokesperson for the ongoing war. As a result of poster-boy David’s meteoric climb to the top, many in the palace begin to plot against him, including the king. 

When Gath finally offers a peace treaty, the king accepts. But in the king’s blind hunger for power, he decides to continue the war. The war turns for the worst and many soldiers die. Later, the influential Reverend Samuel comes to King Silas with a message from God. Since Silas has chosen war, God has abandoned him and will choose another king. 

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Clearly, the show is chock full of biblical parallels. What's interesting is the clever way Kings brings well-known biblical tales into a modern setting. For instance, in Samuel's anointing of David, he bestows a watch upon him rather than pouring oil over his head. The king's armor becomes an ill-fitting tuxedo, and instead of the harp David is a whiz on the piano. 

In spite of all this, the show should have mainstream appeal for those unfamiliar with the biblical story of David. The plot is labyrinthine, seeming a bit like a soap opera at times with affairs, romance and a plot for revenge. Ultimately, though, it is the character development that makes the show worth watching. Between the bravery and honesty of David, the rebel princess, the partying prince, the superficial queen and the conniving king, viewers will be left wondering if the sheep, David, has been thrown to the wolves.




Roren commented…


If you missed it on TV, you can catch it on for free.



Robert Graham


Robert Graham commented…

Jack is a variation of John (ie Jonathan), like Bob is a variation for Robert. (Remember John F Kennedy was refered to as Jack). In the Bible it is said that Jonathan and David "loved" each other - some suggesting a homosexual relationship. I think that was just some reading into it for their own agenda, but not to spoil it for those who missed it, the show suggests that Jack is gay, or at least bi-sexual.

Johne Cook


Johne Cook commented…

The problem I have with Jack's character is that if his character is gay (and he clearly is, his womanizing philandering is a show to cover his true predilections), the whole reason he is to justify his man-love for David. (He's the man whom David loved, ergo...) However, the show does something even more puzzling; it makes Jack gay and then, on top of that, has him hate David, not love him. That seemed couterintuitive to me at first. I mean, David saved Jack's life. You'd think that counted for something. But in so doing, he earned the favor of King Silas, Jack's politically estranged father (not to mention the hand of Silas' attractive daughter, Jack's sister). In one sense, making Jack gay /and/ hate David struck me wrong. On the surface, it only seemed to exist to take one of the great phileo relationships of all time and twist it 180 degrees, making it the opposite of what it historically was. That bothered me as a Christian.

However, as an author, it clicked yesterday why they made this choice and why they wrote Jack the way he is.

Conflict is what drives story, and the longer the story, the more seeds of conflict you need. If you're only writing a two-show mini-series, you don't need the extra conflict and can accurately depict the Jonathan / David relationship. However, if you're planning on a 25 show series (or whatever), you need far more agents of conflict, therefore, Jonathan becomes Jack, becomes gay, and hates David, the innocent savior who waltzes in and effortlessly secures the love and respect of the King, a man who Jack has never, and will never, be able to please. In that sense, taking the long view, I can see why his character was changed so radically - the series' writers hope to have a very long run and needed all the grist for conflict they could get. I can understand the decision from a pragmatic, long-term, 50,000 foot view.

I still don't like it, but I understand it.



schla commented…

I am guessing that this initial hatred Jack has for David is not going to last. I think something is going to happen to make him loyal to David. He may even fall in love with him, though I doubt it will be requited.

Johne Cook


Johne Cook commented…

As of last night's episode (number three?) Jack's enmity is as strong as ever. He lied to David and then took him through a trip of the city's nightspots, each lit more in red than the last, and sought to lead him into temptation while one of his minions snapped pictures to release to the tabloids. Meanwhile, Jack's former gay lover tried twice to talk to Jack, and was finally physically thrown out of the club. His motives continue to be murky, and he is least like his origin character.

What was more interesting was the discussion of sacrifice on the part of the king to a God who was no longer listening to him because of earlier disobedience. The king tracks down the reverend and has him dumped off at a remote roadside. When the king shows up, the reverend misunderstands his motives, initially accusing the king of attempting to kill him. However, the king has bigger things on his mind than vengeance. The king's bastard son is dying, and he surprises the reverend by saying, "I did not come for treachery, but counsel." It is a great scene, if a trifle confused about the purpose of sacrifice before the cross.

Perhaps the coolest scene was where King Silas (played by an ever more incandescent Ian McShane) had a spitting match at a art function with the reverend, and while the holy man was leaving the palace, he stopped in front of large portrait of the king and tilted it so it was crooked. It was even more amusing when the king was trying to escape from the same function and slipped away from the queen while her back was turned as she was straightening the same portrait.

The series continues to be uneven but entertaining enough to continue to watch. For now.

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