Kings — a little bit biblical, a little bit sci-fi

Kings — a little bit biblical, a little bit sci-fi July 31, 2008

A few days late, this post, but better late than never, as they say. One of the many shows that had a panel at last week’s Comic-Con was Kings, the NBC series that modernizes the biblical story of David and his complicated relationship with King Saul.

I had always thought that the series would be taking place in “our” world, to the extent that most works of fiction set in the present usually do — I had vaguely assumed that all the references to “soldiers” and “kingdoms” in the earlier reports were basically metaphorical — but it turns out the series is a little stranger than that. Liz Shannon Miller, writing at Anne Thompson’s blog, reports:

The pilot sets up an alternate universe where, after a devastating civil war, New York and the surrounding area has become a kingdom led by King Silas (Ian McShane). David (Chris Egan) takes on Goliath-brand tanks. . . .

Creator Michael Green (“Heroes”) spoke candidly about getting the opportunity to pitch a pilot to NBC: His response was to “give them the weirdest idea I had.”

Audience questioned both the religious and political overtones of the story. Green denied intending a Biblical context — “it’s just a hero’s story” — despite the pilot beginning with King Silas giving a speech full of references to God.

“Is the fact that it’s a monarchy meant to be omnious?” one audience member asked, admitting, “it made me feel a little uncomfortable.” But the panel refrained from drawing comparisons between the political structure of “Kings” and the current American government, preferring to point toward the parallel between the power held by corporate CEOs. . . .

Carmen Andres also links to this interview that series creator Michael Green did with

But Green said the series is not literal in that he plays with the iconic story and that it veers into what he calls “soft sci-fi.” “I’m not afraid of sci-fi, and I love it,” he said. “We didn’t want to do this as a space opera. We wanted it to be a familiar world, but at the same time we are inventing a world. We had a lot of fun inventing what this world is going to look like. We are taking New York and impressing our own aesthetic and own iconography. We got to have a lot of fun with that. I remember talking to David Eick about this when he was doing Battlestar, and he said they were always asking themselves the question ‘What do doorknobs looks like?’ We decided that we wanted to have things look like they could fit in our worlds, but you’re not sure what city it is.”

Green said that part of the SF element has to do with the idea of “magic, faith, happenstance, luck, God.” “I look at it as the hand of faith guiding the heroes,” he said. “I’m curious to see how people perceive that. The ongoing discussions when people see it are ‘Is that magic? Did something just happen beyond physics? Is it something special or luck?’ I won’t answer that and will let people interpret that.”

Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly‘s Vanessa Juarez passes on the news that pilot director Francis Lawrence and producer Erwin Stoff “had been working on a classic D+G film at Universal”. Is that “D+G” as in “David and Goliath”? Are they referring to the script that Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski wrote about a year and a half ago? What’s the status on that project these days?

Finally, NBC has provided this video of the panel — and miracle of miracles, I can actually watch it here in Canada:
Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.

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