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Kings’ Captivates Audiences

Observer Scene | Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Everyone loves a good David and Goliath story. Something about the success of the underdog is captivating to audiences. A new drama from Michael Green, executive producer of “Heroes,” offers a fresh and modern take on this beloved tale. Set in a modern-day monarchy, “Kings” focuses around a humble soldier who appears to be destined for greatness.

Not unintentionally, “Kings” centers around a young soldier named David. David lives in the monarchy Gilboa, which is ruled by King Silas Benjamin. Silas is said to have brought order and unity to Gilboa, establishing his monarchy in a land previously given up to destruction and despair. In the capital of Gilboa, Shiloh, Silas has created a shining beacon of hope and prosperity for his people.

We first meet David as a boy living on a farm with his large family. He offers help to a strange man having car trouble. This man is Reverend Ephram Samuels, the spiritual leader of Gilboa. Through their discussion we learn that David’s father died in a war. The audience cannot help but sense that these two characters will meet again.

From there, the story fast forwards several years, and finds David fighting in a war of his own. This war, between Gilboa and the neighboring nation Gath, seems to have been going on for many years, and it is clear that the citizens of Gilboa want peace. When a group of Gilboan soldiers are captured by Gath, David goes against orders and rescues them. Little does he know that he has just rescued the son of the King, and that his life is going to change forever. He is whisked off to Shiloh to be shown off as a hero and soon gets caught up in the politics of city life.

The plot of “Kings” purposefully models itself after the David and Goliath story from the Bible. In accordance with the Biblical connection, there is a heavy religious influence in the show. While they are not specifically any one denomination, King Silas often references his own religious beliefs. He speaks of his monarchy as being ordained by God and relies heavily upon the approval of the Reverend Samuels. A favorite anecdote of the King recounts a moment when a great swarm of butterflies came down upon his head. At that moment, Silas knew God approved of his work. Ominously, a similar event occurs to David upon his arrival to Shiloh, perhaps foreshadowing a royal future of his own.

An ambitious undertaking by any producer, Green seems to have made his modern adaptation of David and Goliath work – at least for the time being. At times the plot and dialogue of “Kings” can be seen as overworked or insincere. There is no doubt that the story is packed full of archetypes and symbols, but many go by too quickly for the audience to catch on. Still, there is something strangely enthralling about the show. There is deceit and trickery, lies and secrets, romance and passion, and it is all wrapped up in a story from the Bible. While it may be a stretch to say that this series is groundbreaking or award worthy, it is, at least three episodes into the first season, hard to stop watching. If nothing else, the desire to find out what the future holds for David keeps this author coming back.

“Kings” airs on NBC Sunday nights at 8 p.m.