A modern-day retelling of the biblical story of King David will be premiering on NBC next month as a network television series.
"Kings," created by Michael Green ("Heroes," "Everwood"), centers on the drama surrounding David Shepherd, a young soldier in the war-torn country of Gilboa, who will rise to fame after inspiring the nation through his fearless rescue of the king's son. Amid Shepherd's thrust toward destiny and peace for the kingdom, however, the country's power players will go to great lengths to see him fall, blurring the line between his allies and enemies.
It's "the new coming from the old," said Green last year at the Comic-Con in San Diego, where the series was unveiled for the first time.
"Taking an old story and retelling it in a way that's both familiar and very different," he told MovieWeb.
The series is expected to draw the religious and the non-religious – the latter because of epic style and dramatic feel, and the former because it is expected to stick closely to 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," said Green. "It's much more operatic than it is necessarily religious, even though the source material is, obviously."
Still, the show is expected to strike a chord among the nation's religious TV audience and with those familiar with the story of David, which has been of immense importance to Jewish and Christian culture.
The biblical King David, the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel, was an acclaimed warrior, musician and poet who is traditionally credited with the authorship of many of the psalms included in the Book of Psalms.
Among Jews, David's three-decade reign represents the formation of a coherent Jewish kingdom centered in Jerusalem. To Muslims, David is a prophet of Islam to whom the Zabur, or Psalms, were revealed by Allah. And for Christians, the life of the Old Testament king was a prelude to that of Jesus Christ, whose earthly father, Joseph, was a direct descendent of David.
"[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,'" Green told MovieWeb. "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."
The show will not likely be anything like NBC's earlier attempt at a religiously-rooted series – the short-lived "Book of Daniel," a show that featured a troubled Episcopal priest, his 23-year-old gay Republican son, his womanizing adopted Chinese son, and a rather unconventional Jesus, among other colorful characters.
Nor will it censor the Bible, according to Green.
"Strangely enough, they've not yet asked us to censor the Bible," he said, referring to NBC, during a Q&A panel earlier this month. "They tried, but then I've showed them what chapter it was from and they were like, 'Oh, well I guess that's okay.'"
It will, though, star Susanna Thompson, who played the priest's wife in "The Book of Daniel," as Queen Rose Benjamin. But that's about the only tie to past NBC shortcomings revealed so far.
The series also stars Chris Egan ("Eragon") as David Shepherd, Ian McShane ("Deadwood") as King Silas, and Allison Miller ("Lucy's Piano") as Silas' daughter and David's love interest.
The premier episode of "Kings" will air on Sunday, Mar. 15, at 8 p.m. ET as a special two-hour event.
On the Web:
"Kings" website at www.nbc.com/Kings/