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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Delight, June 27, 2009
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This review is from: Kingdom: Season 2 (DVD)
Stephen Fry is a genius, pure and simple. And while he didn't write this series, or at least isn't credited , his very presence in the show anchors the series, allowing it to swing from the touching to the ridiculous in sure even measures.

Fry plays Simon Kingdom, a lawyer in a picturesque village on the Cornish coast. What the English would call a confirmed bachelor, Simon is the iconic country lawyer, rumpled, wrinkled, and un-coifed. Without playing the spoiler, he is bedeviled by deep family problems--a wayward brother, a depressed sister--all the while being the dependable accessible lawyer for what it seems like is the whole village. Assisted by an able secretary and Lyle, a young legal assistant working toward his final legal certification, Simon deals not only with the mundane day to issues that plague his town, as when the local cricket team contracts a sponsorship with the local sexual toy store, but also with the continuance of his British countryside lifestyle, threatened by local development and often tangled town histories.

While the series could fall over the edge to schmaltzy excess, Fry and his cohorts have kept a firm hand on it through the two season that I have seen. (Season one is only available in the US on-line--this boxed set is Season Two--it is enough of a soap opera that you should see season one before watching season two.) Touching yes, but never does it succumb to temptation and fall into pure trickle. The comedy is sharp, character driven, and occasionally bizarre; classic Stephen Fry. Watch for Fry's reaction shots--his most compelling acting is most often when he's not speaking. At these moments you can see Simon soaking up information, either as a lawyer or as a family member, in each allowing the moment to impact his character and his actions. I don't mean to suggest that this is a one man show however. This is an excellent ensemble work. The entire cast is filled with dependable, solid actors, many familiar from other British series. Part of the joy, for the anglophile, is recognize the actors from their past shows. Part of the sorrow is to understand that America can't produce such fine character actors.

Go now, and start watching the first season. Halfway through you should order the second season so that it will get to you by the time you end the first season. You will go through withdrawal when you are done--- Season three is just now finishing up in the UK. Enough of us buy season two, and we in the US might get a chance to see season three sooner.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 5, 2011 2:56:18 PM PST
Brit Abroad says:
Kingdom is about a country lawyer in Norfolk, not Cornwall, and Stephen Fry plays Peter Kingdom, not Simon Kingdom, the deceased brother!
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