Of Kings and Prophets CANCELED

I must admit, I feel a little gypped.  I had wanted to watch the ABC TV series based on the life of David and write up my personal review and compare it to the biblical text.  Unfortunately the combination of being a father, being a Pastor, having jury duty and Easter coming up has not left me with a lot of time to add a new TV Show to my watch list. I figured it would be ok.  I mean, the TV show looked to be of high budget and I figured the network would want to get it’s moneys worth which would mean that I would have time to catch up.  After all, I am just 2 episodes behind and Easter is almost upon us.  I can catch up after that…. right?…. right?…. no…

Last night EW confirmed that ABC has decided to cancel the show after airing just two episodes.  Low ratings, especially in the demographic that advertisers love to market to has lead to its very premature demise.  What went wrong? Do Christians not watch Television? Do they not want tv shows following their Biblical heroes?

I can only venture a guess as I have not gone around interviewing people and I have not seen the show… so maybe I can speak to why it wasn’t a higher priority on my list.  After all, if this was the new Ben-Hur movie you could bet I would have found the time in my schedule to watch it!

Here is my guess… ABC didn’t know who they should be advertising to or who the story content would most appeal to. Let me explain, I am not saying this should have been a fluffy poor quality Christian movie equivalent of a TV series but the advertising even set me aback as a rather forgiving Christian TV watcher.  Look at much of the advertisement, The first two banners I saw where of half naked, or fully naked women from behind.  The first trailer for the series showed sexuality that wouldn’t just push the boundaries of a conservative Christian but rather push the boundaries of what is currently on cable TV.  The comment my wife made after seeing the advertisement was “That looks really good but… wow.” and I responded by saying “I know.” Look, I realize that some Christian’s out their are indeed looking for a sanitized fluffy version of Biblical stories but I am not.  I would be the perfect demographic to get on board. I mean, come on! I watch Hell on Wheels, you mean to tell me you couldn’t tone it down a little bit?

I believe the problem is not that this show didn’t look to please the conservative crowd… but rather the problem was they went for the Game of Thrones crowed.  They showed as much sex as they could possibly get away with and they advertised it almost like it was a peep show set during the time of David.  Vikings is a gritty show and it is far from sanitized but they didn’t even go for that crowd.

Of course, the Christian TV watchers will be blamed for not tuning in.  Some will blame them for not knowing their Bible and not realizing that their is sex in the actual text… but those same people will fail to realize, many already know this but they just don’t feel the need to be sitting in the bedroom watching it happen.  That is creepy.  Is creativity completely gone? have writers, directors and show runners completely lost the ability to find creative ways of implying something without being so in your face?  ABC, you had a product that could have worked, but in your lack of restraint, you offered a tainted product that was to raunchy for the fans of the source material and too Bible oriented for the demographic you where advertising to.  Learn from it.  Maybe some day we could actually get an Bible epic TV series… unfortunately I don’t see that time coming soon as the film industry is still trying to figure out the Biblical epic in movie form.

OF KINGS AND PROPHETS: TV Series coming this fall about King Saul. (Trailer Included)

Recently it was brought to my attention (Thank you Jason!) that ABC was planning on airing a tv series based on the biblical story of King Saul and King David.  My first reaction was excitement, but then fears crept in. I mean, it could be just like Kings, a TV series that was tried before placing David in a futuristic world. A concept I am not apposed to, I just didn’t think it was done to well.  Other fears are that it follows in the footsteps of previously done movies where in the name of telling a “fresh story” they decide to make several changes to the biblical story.  Of course these are just fears and I do have every intention of trying out the series and I intend to encourage others to give it a shot too.

Yet, even so, there is so many things already going wrong, and I am not simply talking about the biblical integrity.  I don’t have near enough to make any such complaints.

First Complaint – Yesterday the trailer for the show came online. Why is this a complaint? Well, because I was shocked to find out a project like this was in the works, I still would not have known about it if it wasn’t for a friend sending it to me.  Do you see my complaint? This show is dead center to my interests… and I look for projects like this on a daily bases… I was surprised someone else found it before me (I am not perfect but things do slip by me) then to find out that it was so far into production that they where releasing it this fall and had enough for a trailer.  It makes me wonder if they would prefer that someone like me not watch this show.  Maybe it only seems to be in my wheelhouse and I am not the crowed they would like.

Second Complaint – The trailer has now been viewed by me and I have to say, some scenes look fantastic… but some others seem off.  The quality does not quite seem what I was hoping for.  I mean, if you look at other period shows like Vikings, Rome, Turn, and other shows of this nature this quality seems lacking… Now, I do realize some shows have a budget problem for their pilot episode because they have no series commitment.  My hope would be that the quality would improve. With that said, I would like to say that the quality doesn’t look horrible.  It looks better then that of the Bible Miniseries and A.D. Beyond the Bible.  It looks better than the Dovekeepers in quality but lacking when compared to other mainstream hits.

Third Complaint – David… See, David is a boy.  A small boy, which is why Goliath laughed at him.  It is why his father didn’t even think of him for the kingship. I look at the actor who they chose and he seems too old, he looks too manly.  I can’t see anyone underestimating the actor they chose.  Now keep in mind, the reason this is a complaint is also because, if I like the show I want it to stay around.  I want to watch David grow into being king.  This actor is already grown.  I believe they really should have gone younger.

Fourth Complaint – The promotional material. I have already mentioned that I fear I am not the viewer they would like.  Well, the promotional material does nothing to calm those fears.  As you can see from the above promotional art, they seem to be relying heavenly on “sex sells.”  Sure, if you are looking for the Game of Thrones viewers then this is the promo art you would use.  I am not part of that viewership so this only lends itself to more skepticism on my part.

It seems that they are really trying to go for the Game of Thrones viewers.  I understand, it is a popular show.  But I have to say, everyone who I know that loves that show does not love it for all the sex and nudity.  I have heard a lot about it’s superior writing.

It seems to me that a good writer could find a way to write a good story that does not need to revolve around sex.  Or at the very least, a good director would be able to find a way to portray what is going on without walking the viewer through every aspect of the sexual experience.

I think the show looks like it has potential, but this trailer has done more to alienate me then to excite me about the project.

With all that said, I still intend to give it a shot and I would still like it to be good.  I will say that I think the best approach, and I have said this in other blog posts, would be to enter the story from the point of view of someone who is not talked about in scripture, or talked about very little.  This way the writers could have told a fresh story, an unpredictable story, but have the backdrop be Biblical events.  This would lend to good stories and would please the people who do not like the changing of biblical events.

Check out the trailer below
Of Kings and Prophets (Warning: it has graphic content)