Kingdom Hospital is the first television series written and produced by Stephen King, the legendary master of horror. Kingdom Hospital is not like other hospitals - it is built on the wreckage of two horrific fires. The first fire, during the civil war, burned down the gates falls mill where small children toiled away under nightmarish conditions - nearly all of the long-suffering children were trapped and died in the fire. The second fire destroyed the "old Kingdom," a creepy hospital where an evil doctor performed hideous experiments on patients. The "new Kingdom" is the site of strange, paranormal phenomena, where the unquiet dead still roam.
Kingdom Hospital is horror novelist Stephen King's adaptation of Danish director Lars Von Trier's cult miniseries The Kingdom, geared very much for an American audience. The story unfolds across 15 hours, telling the story of a hospital in Maine that's been built on the site of a 19th-century mill fire that killed most of its young occupants--themes that King fans will be familiar with. In the present day, Kingdom Hospital is haunted by the ghost of 10-year-old child worker Mary and, even more bizarrely, a fearsome giant anteater-like creature called Antubis. It falls to the ace doctor Hook (Andrew McCarthy), the paraplegic artist Jack Coleman (Peter Rickman), and the hypochondriac psychic Sally Druse (Diane Ladd) to enlist the help of a surreal assortment of hospital staff and patients to help Mary and save Kingdom Hospital itself from certain doom.
Fans of Stephen King will probably enjoy the blend of black comedy, spectral horror, and general weirdness, which owes a big debt to previous television series like Twin Peaks and even ER. But too often, Kingdom Hospital seems to be trying too hard to make itself into a cult series, something which King is just not a subtle enough writer to carry off. But Kingdom Hospital looks good, especially the CGI Antubis, who steals every scene in which he appears. Generally, though, the series is more of an entertaining experiment than a cult-in-the-making. --Ted Kord