Monday, March 16, 2009

NBC Kings


Hats off to the makers of NBC's new show "Kings." I'm not one to say that I think something on TV was good, but this was a show that kept me saying, "Wow. They're really doing this."

I've read a few reviews already, and I'm surprised to see how few people are catching the immense use of symbolism in the movie. Everyone gets the "David vs. Goliath" thing, but few people seem to understand that this show is not just an allegory to the story of the Bible's King David from 1 and 2 Samuel; this show IS the story of King David set in contemporary times. In case you missed it, here are some of the analogues I found tonight:
  • (TV) Silas = Saul (Bible)
  • (TV) David Shepherd = David the shepherd son of Jesse and King of Israel (1 Sam 16:11)
  • (TV) David Shepherd's brother Eli = Eliab son of Jesse, brother or David (1 Sam 16:6)
  • (TV) Reverend Ephrem Samuel = Prophet Samuel (from Ephraim) who anoints King Saul and King David. (1 Sam 1:1, 1 Sam 1:20, 1 Sam 10:1, 1 Sam 16:13)
  • (TV) Reverend Samuel says to King Silas "Because you rejected God's command, he has rejected you as King" = Prophet Samuel says to King Saul "Because you rejected the Lord's command he has rejected you as King" (1 Sam 15:23)
  • Reverend Samuel's pre-Goliath appearance to David Shepherd = Prophet Samuel's pre-Goliath appearance to David son of Jesse (1 Sam 16:12)
  • (TV) Shiloh = The place where God's word was revealed to the prophet Samuel (1 Kings 3:21)
  • (TV) Six brothers of David Shepherd = 7 brothers of David (1 Sam 16:10)
  • (TV) David's friend Nathan = Prophet Nathan? (2 Sam 7)
  • (TV) Goliath = Goliath (1 Sam 17)
  • (TV) Gath = Hometown of Goliath (1 Sam 17:23)
  • (TV) Shoulder mounted Rocket = Sling (1 Sam 17:49)
  • (TV) Silas' daughter dating David Shepherd = Saul giving daughter Merab to David (1 Sam 18:17)
  • (TV) Jack Benjamin, son of Silas = Jonathan son of Saul of the tribe of Benjamin (1 Sam 9:16, 1 Sam 13:2)
  • (TV) Historian saying "And it happened that" = Very common Biblical Hebrew narrative "vayehee" sequence which translates "And it happened that"
  • (TV) Silas' commanding officer Abner = Saul's commanding officer Abner (1 Sam 14:50)
  • (TV) David Shepherd, Piano player = David son of Jesse, Lyre player (1 Sam 16:16)
  • (TV) Homosexual Jonathan = One interpretation of "Jonathan's soul became bound up with the soul of David; Jonathan loved David as himself... Saul's son Jonathan was very fond of David." etc. (1 Sam 18:1. 1 Sam 19:1)
  • (TV) Silas promotes David to Captain = Saul promotes David to "chief of a thousand." (1 Sam 18:14)
There are more, but I wanted to point out the ones that jumped right out there. I'm surprised that the producers managed to write a story that felt new enough that many critics did not see all the biblical allusions right away. It seems as though the writers are really trying to do a modern rewrite of the Biblical story of King David. They're not trying to allude to it, they're not trying to bring in subtle details and make a new story of it, they're writing the story of 1 Sam. as if it happened today. And I think they're doing it quite well.

All that to say, if you missed Kings, check it out. Yes it is grandiose, but it's a story about the most famous King of Israel, one of the most famous Kings of all time. It should be grandiose. Critics are wrong in critiquing the show for overreaching. It's supposed to feel grandiose, it is recreating epic Biblical stories. Silas has to be a King, and wierd things like butterflies lighting on David to coronate him should happen as signifying God's selectin of David over Saul. These aren't cheesy moder devices of lazy writers, they are an attempt to couch Biblical narrative in modern images, and it's fun to watch.

Oh, and if you watched it and saw any symbolism I missed, go ahead and include it in the comments... I'm curious to hear what people found that I didn't pick up on. I'm particularly curious to hear what people thing Crossgen represents...

12 comments:

joeldaniel said...

i read someone else post a real positive review of this the other day & so i'm hoping that it shows up on hulu.

also, i hadn't been to the site for a bit...i really dig the new header :)

Joshua said...

Hey Joel! Glad you like the header. I change it pretty frequently so...

I hope you get to catch it on Hulu, I'm guessing it'll go up there, but if it doesn't, I think you can watch full episodes on NBC's website.

Rachel Elek said...

I have been saying for weeks that I want to watch this new show and you doubted it...even up to the opening scene. I was curious to see it because I wanted to see how close to the story they came!

I am cooler than you.

Joshua said...

It's all true.

joeldaniel said...

just finished it. amazing. entrancing. the script was alternatively off-balance and brilliant. i agree with your observation allowing for grandiose theatrical elements as showing the epic nature. i think it's also pretty amazing how they have basically created their own genre...it's not sci-fi or fantasy or historical fiction or present day or anything except what it is. which is where i think some of the critics are struggling, because they want to fit it into some box they understand. it definitely has some weaknesses...but overall a very strong start.

Joshua said...

So it is on Hulu then? Or did you catch it on NBC's website?

joeldaniel said...

on hulu :)

Ryan Battles said...

I watched it on hulu, already am addicted. I love it when a show comes along that keeps my attention the way this one did. It was like a good movie. I can't wait to watch more. I liked the line when he said, "anything you'd like, up to half my kingdom, as the saying goes" from Esther.

Oh, and your title image rocks.

Tim and Deane said...

Like Rachel, I have been saying for weeks that I want to see this series. I am so excited about it. It is on NBC too.

Crossgen, I think, is the spirit that came over Saul and tormented him and caused him to throw spears at David.

Sean said...

amazing show, we need to spread the word so it doesn't get canceled!

Rachel said...

so i'm 5 months behind here and don't even know you, but i watched the first episode on hulu today and then found your blog as i was trying to see how far the parallels went. i just saw on IMDB that the David Shepherd's mother is "Jessie Shepherd". Nice.

Anonymous said...

In the bible, David eventually married Saul's daughter Michal. Silas' daugther's name is Michelle.