I missed last night’s premiere of the newly minted Syfy Channel’s Warehouse 13 — though judging by Ken Tucker’s take, I didn’t miss much — in favor of catching up with a couple of DVR’d episodes of Kings. You remember Kings, don’t you? That fantastic NBC show that reconceptualizes and recontexualizes the story of David, he who slew Goliath? The one that has Ian McShane melting a hole through the screen with sheer acting luminescence? The one nobody watched and is now being unceremoniously burned off on Saturday nights?
That Kings. So, as I was sitting there, basking in the plummy, almost Arthurian dialogue and the stentorian production design, I had an epiphany: Why doesn’t Syfy pick up Kings? Given that part of their whole name-change raison d’etre is to be able to program beyond the sci-fi spectrum, they could do far worse than roll the dice on a show as well-produced as this one.
Yes, I know, there is the whole “Kings had less viewers than my honeymoon video” problem. I firmly believe that isn’t the show’s fault; it’s NBC’s. They had no idea how to market Kings, so they mismarketed it: all those mysterious butterfly posters and trailers that told you nothing about the show besides that it was pretty and it had McShane in nice suits. Was it science fiction? An alternate reality? A soap opera? All of the above? John Rogers, executive producer of TNT’s Leverage, summed up the misfire — and missed opportunity — quite succinctly: “After years of the cultural Right bitching and moaning about how Hollywood doesn’t provide for them, NBC could have gone to every evangelical church in America and said ‘We’re serializing the story of King David in a modern, very relatable way. Here you go, a multi-million dollar series, in prime time, based on a Bible story. You’re frikkin’ welcome.'”
That’s still money left on the table, Syfy. Money that could be yours. The stink of failure would fade, in time, and you’d be left with one of the best shows on television, one that could fill the sucking vacuum left by Battlestar Galactica, and you could sell those DVD sets to church congregations, Sunday schools, and synagogues until kingdom come.
Just look at this clip; listen to the words, watch McShane work like the devil himself, and wonder why you don’t deserve more of this on TV:
Did you know about Kings while it was on? Would you watch it if someone levied some confidence behind it?