Saturday, March 28, 2009

Being king means never sleeping through the night again

Well this isn't too bad. Kings is a modern retelling of the David story, with Ian McShane as Saul, Chris Egan as David, and a tank as Goliath. It does a more or less 1-to-1 mapping from Biblical Israel to alternate universe America, which is smart: When your source material is one of the greatest stories in ancient literature, there's no reason to change it.

There's a comic book series, Testament, which did the same thing with the book of Genesis. I didn't like it. The mapping was odd, the appeal of the original legends was lost by trying too hard to be clever. Kings, so far, does not. Michael Green maps Bronze Age to Internet Age in a way that is both creative and mostly faithful to the story.

I'm not sure about Jonathan, ("Jack"). He's gay, which the original story hinted at, (one of many delightfully inconvenient passages in the Bible), but also shifty, possibly treasonous, and unlikely to hook up with David. It's an odd departure from the source. There's also an evil corporate presence I don't remember from Sunday School. But - I'm beginning to sound like a nitpicking Watchmen-fan.

The tone of the show is well done: Contemporary, with a sideways step towards the mythical. It's the only example of Biblical SF on television I can recall, and I want to see where it's heading. (Even if I know how it ends. Probably. Unless this is all a ruse leading up to a shocking departure later on.)



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