Wow, that was bad.
Let me explain. I watch TV on my iPhone. I download shows and watch them a few days late. I’m going to start a new series of TV episode reviews for the shows I watch.
I just finished watching the pilot episode of Kings. Wow. Very brief setup: we’re in a small, made-up country with a stupid flag. The main characters are the king, his wife, activist daughter, playboy son, and some random staff and nobles/congressmen. Then there’s the other main character, a private in the army who is a farm boy down to the blond hair. He’s fighting with his platoon, who all like and respect him.
The first half of the show, not so bad. It starts off by rapidly introducing the main characters in a way that doesn’t really distinguish itself, but gets the job done. I lost my suspension of disbelief a little bit at about the 15-minute mark when the King’s son, captured during a border skermish, was held 50 feet from the front line in a sparsely guarded tent, but still, it wasn’t that bad. And the scene of the rescue was very well done. I have to admit, I was really enjoying myself. After the rescue, the hero, David, gets brought back to the capital city, Shiloh, for a banquet in his honor.
He meets the beautiful princess while playing a Liszt tune on the piano (showing off our hero’s renaissance qualities). He also interacts with the country’s religious leader at the banquet, who gives us one of the episode’s better lines, “you’re at a party in your name, drinking a scotch that G-d himself only brings out of the cabinet but once a year….” I liked that.
Anyway, the King asks him what he wants for a reward, saying “up to half my kingdom, as the saying goes. Well…speak up or you’ll end up with a car you can’t afford the insurance on.” Then the crowd parts, showing us the Princess, and the king mutters, “Ahhh. Half my kingdom it is.” David trades his reward in for a dance with the Princess. Nice scene, actually. Even though I had my second suspension of disbelief when David is able to dance without a misstep after having said he doesn’t know how. ONE, twothree; ONE, twothree. He doesn’t even move his lips.
David is promoted to Captain and given the role of press liaison. Really part of the King’s desire to distract his people with a hero because…well, I’m not sure yet. So David gets up in front of the press and curses, and then has a phone call with his buddies, who fall under attack while on the video conference.
Now is when it all starts to unravel. Right about the 40-minute mark.
The King has one of his ministers assassinated. The playboy prince turns out to be a homosexual, borderline pedophile, we’re not sure yet. The King’s brother-in-law, the richest man in the kingdom, blackmails him into restarting the war (after a truce) because the brother-in-law’s company wants to make more money…the truce came before they could recoup their investment in weapons. I’m losing interest here, but it’s redeemable…my television interests are not, shall we say, highbrow.
Then it just gets worse. Our hero, after just a day before being barely able to speak in the King’s presence, now forcefully argues with the King when told to announce the new offensive. Argues with the King, “You can’t do that, the people want peace.” In public. In front of the country’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs character. But it goes downhill from there, if you can believe it.
David then goes to the front, to make the announcement supposedly. While there, his brother dies from wounds sustained at some undetermined point in the past. David takes a towel that, I don’t know, his brother was lying on, or something, and is all bloody. David goes to the battle line and, I’m not shitting you, yells out a speech to the opposing side about wanting to know more about them, that they’re not just the enemy, that they’re people too, and holding the towel yells about them just wanting more blood, and to take his. And, no I’m not shitting you, an enemy three-star general drives up and talks to David…though we don’t hear what they say.
Next thing you know, peace treaty.
I’m laughing out loud at this point.
The brother-in-law then schemes with the playboy son about possibly deposing the King. Unspoken is the potential for regicide.
First half: B+
Second half: F-
Overall: won’t even get a second episode purchase out of me. Usually, I’ll buy two episodes of anything, because you need more than the pilot to tell. But unless this becomes the smash hit of the season, I’m skipping the rest.