Spoilers for the two-hour series premiere of "Kings" coming up just as soon as I give some leftovers to the guards...
I said much of what I had to say about the pilot in Friday's column -- particularly my concern that it's more interesting as a thought exercise than it is as a TV show -- so I'll just highlight a few points and then open it up for your thoughts:
• I love the look of the show, from the butterflies to the gleaming, spotless, CGI-enhanced vision of Manhattan-as-Shiloh. There's a joke about Toronto being like New York, only cleaner. The way this series films Manhattan makes Toronto look like a dump.
• You don't need me to tell you that Ian McShane is a wonderful actor who has no problem taking dialogue that would sound like gibberish -- or, in the case of David's "You want blood! Come here and take it!" speech at the frontline, like a freshman college drama project -- in the hands of lesser performers and making it sing. Whatever other issues I may have with the show -- particularly my concern that Chris Egan's resemblance to Ryan Phillipe extends past the physical and ito acting ability as well -- it's a pleasure just to hear McShane speak Michael Green's stylized prose.
• While I have reservations about Egan overall, he handles himself well opposite McShane, and I liked his work in the press conference scene, particularly the way he said "Perhaps you heard the story about my father" when a reporter asked why his mother didn't want him going into the military.
• For the most part, I think Green's done an excellent job of both translating the Bible characters into a modern context (Jack being gay seems to match what I remember of the Talmudic interpretation that David and Saul's son Jonathan were more than just close friends during David's time in exile?), and of making this alternate reality make sense. Since they'll explain more details in upcoming episodes about how the monarchy was created and how it works, I don't want to say too much, but the one question I had was the way the king's court seemed to be conducting sensitive business like strategic planning in front of what seemed to be a public gallery. Maybe everyone in the crowd is also a member of the elite in some way, but it comes across more like average joes coming to get a look at how the king gets things done.
• This is a good gig for Eamonn Walker, who always comes off as slightly theatrical in his choices. That worked on "Oz," particularly as that show got stranger and stranger over the years, and it clearly works here, but on a show like "Justice" (a short-lived, generic Fox legal drama he did a couple of years ago), it makes him seem fake.
• Is a grenade, whether or not it's duct-taped to a wrench, really what you'd call the 21st century equivalent of David's slingshot? If not, what should he have used to take out the tank?
What did everybody else think?