Because of last week’s website outage, I didn’t get to post the notice to watch Kings until Sunday and the e-mail notification has a delay, so you might have missed it on Sunday night. Worry not! If you’re still interested in it, you can watch it on-line at Hulu.com by clicking here. It was a 2-hour premiere, so be sure to take some time to watch it.
So what did I think? Without spoiling it for folks, I thought it was a superb program. Is it word-for-word from the Scriptures? Heavens, no! Nor would I want it to be. But it definitely captures the spirit of the books of Samuel. There are direct correlations between the characters and their Biblical counterparts. David Shepherd, the lead character, is a young mechanic in the country (tending cars and not sheep) who is good at “fixing things” (which I think describes the Biblical David nicely). He is honest and wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s also a rule-breaker, which I imagine will come in to play later as he falls into the pattern of undermining Saul, or Silas as he’s called in this show. King Silas is the ruler of the fictional country of Shiloh (which had a funny connotation to me since we have a Shiloh here in Harris County). He has unified the country, although you find quickly that they are at war with Gath, a neighboring country to the north. The actor who plays Silas, Ian McShane, is simply wonderful playing the part of Saul. He’s insecure, yet cocky, with many secrets and many people pulling his strings. As in the Biblical narrative, he is criticized by God’s chosen prophet (or in this case, preacher), the Rev. Samuels. Even the parts of Silas’ children, Jack and Michelle (Jonathan & Michal) are played well, and there’s a very interesting scene with a very bold theological point between Silas and Jack.
They take some liberties, of course, as this is a modern backdrop of an ancient story. The “anointing of David” is a scene that is not like the Biblical story at all, and I can’t help but think that it would have been neat for the Rev. Samuels to go through all of David’s older brothers before choosing David himself. I think they could have updated that scene well.
Perhaps the neatest scene was the David vs. Goliath scene, and the truth that is later revealed at the end of the show about David’s character. While appearing very brave and innocently at the right place at the right time, David becomes much more human by the end, and it is this dichotomy of courage and fear that makes David such an identifiable character in both the Bible and on this show.
I also think the modernization of this tale is also very helpful in understanding what’s going on in the Biblical narrative. Seeing Silas standing over millions of people in the middle of a huge city gives an allegorical perspective of Saul’s power in 1 Samuel. Laying the parallels between our world and the ancient world can, in this case, allow us to identify more with the thoughts, feelings, and concerns of the ancient Israelites. The show was also done in good taste, I thought, keeping the violence and sexuality at an appropriate level (and at times even less graphic than the Bible!).
Overall, I thought it was a fun show and am looking forward to watching it again next week.