Television
kings
In Memoriam: Kings
Network television seems to be allergic to high quality series. Every time something great comes along, they seem to let is slip away in favor of the latest reality trend. The latest victim is Kings, which failed to capture the attention of a mostly brain dead audience. It only lasted 12 episodes, including a two-hour pilot.
Kings was created by Michael Green, whose most notable credit is being a writer/producer of the first season of Heroes. He also worked on Everwood and Smallville, which makes the quality of Kings even more surprising. Those shows don’t exactly scream high caliber television. In fact, I would have expected Mr. Green’s first venture as Executive Producer, and thus creative director, to be more down the lines of a teen drama which captures the pains of adolescence accompanied with music from the Fray.
Instead, what was presented to the public was an amazing character drama of the likes television hasn’t seen before. Kings was the next step in the natural evolution of television. Something channels like HBO and Showtime embraced a long time ago, but it seems to always allude the “Big Four” networks. It’s a show that couldn’t have existed twenty years ago. Though perhaps a decade ago it would have done better. This is when the reality genre was only just beginning its verging decent [sic] in to popularity, and shows like ‘The West Wing’ were paving the way for a surge in high concept serials. But still, I feel like Kings would have suffered from immaturity. Here, with history as a showcase, Kings would have been able to stretch its wings.
Many causes can be attributed to it’s demise. The public consensus is certainly not in favor of anything that requires thought. Even shows like ‘Lost’ require more gossip and speculation than actual reflective meditation. Kings provided a sense of purpose. It was hard to finish an episode without feeling that you were better for it. There was less talk of speculation and more discussion of deciphering motifs and the true intentions of not the characters, but the writers.
However, when a show is received well by critics and still fails to find an audience there is rarely more than a single entity at fault: advertising. It is the network’s job to make sure the show is appealing to its target audience. NBC failed miserably at this task. Many thought the show would be about rich people flaunting money like so many other soap operas. Even I would have passed on the show had it not been for an extend trailer I saw at a movie theater. Kings’ failure can be attributed to the unwillingness by NBC to let the show be itself over making it appear to be something for a mass audience. ‘Arrested Development’ and ‘Veronica Mars’ suffered similar fates under the same circumstances. Both of these shows got three, albeit short, seasons to attempt to gain a fan base. Kings only got twelve episodes after premiering with the fourth lowest rated pilots of all time. A predictable fall, but hardly the fault of the series.
Perhaps a large portion of the blame can be attributed to the nature of American television. A show is considered a failure if it doesn’t become an overnight sensation. And shows are expected to produce twenty-two episodes a season with only limited exceptions. Note that that doesn’t mean twenty-two good episodes, just twenty-two episodes to appease advertisers. An order of less almost always means a show is on the verge of cancelation. Had Kings been a mini-series event from the start, it would have perhaps had better luck. The story would have fit within the short episode order, and there’s always the possibility of promoting it to a full series as was seen with the ‘4400’ which ironically went on for far too long.
The finale of Kings tied up the first season nicely, but it did not completely tie-off the overall story of the series. It takes little imagination to predict what would come next — particularly since the series is based on one of the more popular stories in the Bible — but I can’t help but want to see where the writers would take the series. Deceit and flaws were thick in this season. We started with the same innocence of the main character, David. The true colors of the supporting cast would occasionally flash, but it wasn’t until the two part finale when we would see the characters for what they are. The casting, the art direction, the cinematography; everything about the show was done to the highest standards. It was hard to watch the final seven episodes with no hope that it would return.
Had the show been aired exactly as is on HBO, it would be celebrating a victory right now. With the help of some well placed profanity on the part of Ian McShane the show would be preparing to shoot a second season after receiving several Emmy nominations. Instead, NBC is packing up the set to make room for ‘So You Think You Can Eat Road Kill’ and there were no award nominations. Thus the divide between network television and premium television channels becomes harder to ignore. I am increasingly more hesitant to commit to shows that I know will be inevitably axed. Kings predicted it from the start. Money will always rule ove kings and queens.

Network television is allergic to high quality series. Every time something great comes along, they seem to let it slip away in favor of the latest reality trend. The latest victim is Kings, which failed to capture the attention of a mostly brain dead audience. It only lasted twelve episodes, including a two-hour pilot.

Kings was created by Michael Green, whose most notable credit is being a writer/producer of the first season of Heroes. He also worked on shows such as Everwood and Smallville, which makes the quality of Kings even more surprising. Those shows don’t exactly scream high caliber television. In fact, I would have expected Mr. Green’s first venture as Executive Producer, and thus creative director, to be more down the lines of a teen drama which captures the pains of adolescence accompanied with music from The Fray.

Instead, what was presented to the public was an amazing character drama of the likes television hasn’t seen before. Kings was the next step in the natural evolution of television. Something channels like HBO and Showtime embraced a long time ago, but it seems to always allude the “Big Four.” It’s a show that couldn’t have existed twenty years ago. Though perhaps a decade ago it would have done better. This is when the reality genre was only just beginning its verging decent [sic] in to popularity, and shows like ‘The West Wing’ were paving the way for a surge in high concept serials. But still, I feel like Kings would have suffered from immaturity back then. Here, with history as a showcase, Kings would have been able to stretch its wings.

Many causes can be attributed to its demise. The public consensus is certainly not in favor of anything that requires thought. Even shows like ‘Lost’ require more gossip and speculation than actual reflective meditation. Kings provided a sense of purpose. It was hard to finish an episode without feeling that you were better for having watched it. There was less talk of speculation and more discussion of deciphering motifs and the true intentions of not the characters, but the writers.

However, when a show is received well by critics and still fails to find an audience there is rarely more than a single entity at fault: advertising. It is the network’s job to make sure the show is appealing to its target audience. NBC failed miserably at this task. Many thought the show would be about rich people flaunting money like so many other soap operas. Even I would have passed on the show had it not been for an extend trailer I saw at a movie theater. Kings’ failure can be attributed to the unwillingness by NBC to let the show be itself over making it appear to be something for a mass audience. ‘Arrested Development’ and ‘Veronica Mars’ suffered similar fates under the same circumstances. Both of these shows got three, albeit short, seasons to attempt to gain a fan base. Kings only got twelve episodes after premiering with the fourth lowest rated pilot of all time. A predictable fall, but hardly the fault of the series.

Perhaps a large portion of the blame can be attributed to the nature of American television. A show is considered a failure if it doesn’t become an overnight sensation. And shows are expected to produce twenty-two episodes a season with only limited exceptions. Note that that doesn’t mean twenty-two good episodes, just twenty-two episodes to appease advertisers. An order of less almost always means a show is on the verge of cancellation. Had Kings been a mini-series event from the start, it would have perhaps had better luck. The story would have fit within the short episode order, and there’s always the possibility of promoting it to a full series as was seen with the ‘4400’ which ironically went on for far too long. But the trend has been set and to break the set of artificial rules mandated by the faltering networks would have been a dose of common sense unwelcomed by the powers that be.

The finale of Kings tied up the first season nicely, but it did not completely tie-off the overall story of the series. It takes little imagination to predict what would come next — particularly since the series is based on one of the more popular stories in the Bible — but I can’t help but want to see where the writers would take the series. Deceit and flaws were thickly applied to the characters in this season. We started with the same innocence of the main character, David. The true colors of the supporting cast would occasionally flash, but it wasn’t until the two part finale that we would see the characters for what they are. A brutal reminder that no one is perfect and few are good. The casting, the art direction, the cinematography; everything about the show was done to the highest standards. It was difficult to watch the last seven episodes knowing it would not return.

Had the show been aired exactly as is on HBO, it would be celebrating a victory right now. With the help of some well placed profanity on the part of Ian McShane, the show would be preparing to shoot a second season after receiving several Emmy nominations. Instead, NBC is packing up the set to make room for ‘So You Think You Can Eat Road Kill’ and there were no award nominations. Thus the divide between network television and premium television channels becomes harder to ignore. I am increasingly more hesitant to commit to shows that I know will be inevitably axed. Kings predicted it from the start: Money will always rule over kings and queens.

Whatever NBC chooses to replace Kings with will not be half as regal.
3 comments
obamasux
obamasux

the show sucked. it's timing was worst of all, right after the election when obama-mania was at an all time high it almost seemed that the media was prepping us for the possibility of becoming a friggin monarchy.

Roulette
Roulette

I cannot believe this got canned!