A modern-day retelling of the biblical story of King David will be premiering on NBC this weekend as a network television series.
The premiere episode of "Kings," created by Michael Green ("Heroes," "Everwood"), will air on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET as a special two-hour event. The new NBC series centers on the drama surrounding David Shepherd, a young soldier in the fictional war-torn country of Gilboa who will rise to fame after inspiring the nation through his fearless rescue of the king's son.
"['Kings'] comes at an interesting time, I think — when we have a whole new-world order being put in place," commented Golden Globe-winning actor Ian McShane, who plays King Silas Benjamin. "This is what 'Kings' is about. ... I think the show has come along at a good time, when people want to see some of those big themes back on television."
The show also comes as NBC attempts to step back into the prime-time arena as a major player after taking quite a fall. Once a ratings ruler with the top-rated shows of the year for four years running, NBC is now the lowest-rated TV network, having not had even a single show ranked among the Nielson Top 10 last week.
"[T]he powers that be at NBC are probably hoping some of that little-guy magic rubs off," expressed a TV critic for the San Diego Union Tribune, alluding to one of the oldest and best known underdog success stories in history.
If the new series does find success, it will likely be due to its potential appeal to both the religious and the non-religious – the latter because of epic style and dramatic feel, and the former because "Kings" is expected to draw much of its inspiration from the Old Testament, which Green says provides enough material to shape at least several seasons.
The story of King David itself, as Green points out, is one that has transcended religion and has become a part of several different cultures.
"There's something really compelling about it that's attracted people – secular and non-secular," Green told MovieWeb last year at the Comic-Con in San Diego, where the series was unveiled for the first time. "It's much more operatic than it is necessarily religious, even though the source material is, obviously."
Still, NBC and "Kings" producers will likely be hoping to strike a chord especially among the nation's religious audience, which Hollywood began tapping more frequently since the success of the blockbuster movie "The Passion of the Christ."
"[F]or the people who are very in tune with the Bible ... we have a lot of 'Easter eggs' – or elements that they would sort of recognize and think 'Oh my goodness, they're actually telling a story that's a really familiar event,'" said Green, whose mother is Israeli. "You don't have to know the story to like it, but it could make the story a little richer to get all the references."
So far, all 13 episodes of the first season have been completed and there are already ideas for a second season.
"I wanted to tell this story for a very long time, and I made sure that when I got the opportunity to tell it, I knew what I wanted to do," said Green, who reportedly got the idea during a trip to Jerusalem several years ago.
"Our goal with the show is to do something different, something that hasn't been seen on TV a thousand times already," added Green, according to Newsarama.com.
"Kings" stars Chris Egan ("Eragon") as David Shepherd, Ian McShane ("Deadwood") as King Silas, Susanna Thompson ("Once and Again") as Queen Rose Benjamin, and Allison Miller ("Lucy's Piano") as Silas' daughter and David's love interest.
Following Sunday's two-hour premiere at 8 p.m., "Kings" will air regularly at 9 p.m., facing off against "Desperate Housewives," "Cold Case" and a combo of "Family Guy" and "American Dad."