Review: More-so than any other prematurely cancelled series (I’m looking at you Firefly) I wish this series lasted beyond the thirteen produced episodes.
The portrayal of the Silas/Saul character by Ian McShane alone is worth the price of admission. McShane perfectly captured the emotionally volatile character of Silas/Saul. His constant flip-flopping between loving and hating David would have seemed ludicrous if portrayed by a lesser actor, but McShane brings the biblical character to life. We, at once, love and loath this king.
The setting of the show is utterly unique. It is a modern-day, absolute monarchy, surrounded by other monarchies. The show-runners went all-out creating a believable setting, and wove modern-spins into the biblical narrative.
For instance, just like in the Bible, mid-season we see Silas meeting David for the first time (unknown to Silas), playing a piano that soothed Silas in a flashback that occurred after David destroyed a “goliath-tank.”
The spiritual center of the story is Reverend Samuels who used to be a friend to the king, but because of the king’s corruption has now become his enemy as he gives Silas oracle after oracle of God’s displeasure.
The Jonathan/Jack character is portrayed as a closet homosexual (a decision based on a very poor exegesis of the text). But the show seems to both identify Jack’s homosexuality as his core identity, while simultaneously communicating that Jack, at the same core, is a very dark person. It is a very complex situation… at the very least worth pondering even if you don’t agree with the show’s view (whatever that is). Additionally, Jack is neither David’s friend, nor heroic at the beginning of the series.
Another imperfection is the sexual ethic of the world. Mid-way through the series, the ethic seems to be “sex is good if you love the person” but later on, Reverend Samuels seems to say that two characters were married long ago because of their depth of their love (or perhaps recognizing they belonged together). So, the sexual ethic is odd to say the least.
Despite these issues, Kings is a marvelous achievement. Each and every character is imperfect and must work through their imperfections under God, or be destroyed by their own sins. Even Reverend Samuels finds himself disobedient to God mid-season and needs to repent.
Wonderful storytelling, great sets, great locations, near-flawless acting and top-notch writing combine to re-tell a timeless story.
Discerning individuals should watch this show. It is, by no means perfect theologically, nor line-by-line faithful to the text… but it is faithful at its core.
I suggest reading the biblical text (1 Samuel 1-21… or 8-21 if you’re in a hurry) in conjunction with watching the show.
Rating: 5/5 (I Loved It!)