7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Should've been produced on Cable,
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This review is from: Kings - The Complete Series (DVD)
I love Ian McShane. He made "Deadwood" one of my all-time favorite programs, and he seems to be reprising that role here with some of the rough edges filed down. Which is great- his "Deadwood" characterization was incredible and elevated the entire tenor of that show. The look of this program is a little troubling- it's generic, the city looks like Oakland, the Palace looks like a Holiday Inn. The production values overall are just kind of 'blah.' It feels like they could have reached out of the box and made this thing look as singular as it actually is. In fact, the whole production just feels like a compromise: the vernacular used is sort of biblical & sort of pedestrian. The result is a muddle- characters speak generally in non-spectacular, contemporary English, intermittently broken up by odd Old Testament flavored declarations, and the effect is jarring, as though two shows were wrestling for supremacy. Had David Milch (Deadwood's creator) scripted it the show would have been infinitely more compelling.
The problem seems to be the compromises necessary to create a successful broadcast network program. The premise (a modern day retelling of the biblical David and Goliath story) requires an understanding and depiction of a real mythic problem. The show should have taken the viewer beyond the workaday world into a more complex, more vividly rendered universe. Instead, we got a middle-brow soap opera; something so watered-down that it could easily be, like, a 'Falcon Crest' spin-off. It should have looked much more like something out of Mervyn Peake's "Gormenghast," with the mythic themes driving the plot. Had this been done on HBO, it would have been a far better thing. It also would probably have lasted beyond the single season we have here.
On the plus side- at least they tried. And McShane is brilliant as always. The story is interesting and inasmuch as its soap operra, it's at least a compelling soap opera. And always there is the promise in the show that it's about to burst into bloom and become the thing that it could have been. Bummer about the ending and the cancellation- maybe another producer with vision could pick this up and run with it on a channel that doesn't need to dumb it's product down to sell fabric softener.