It’s a momentous week for SF TV. “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” ends its first season this week. Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” is poised to start getting interesting next episode (or so says its creators and cast). And perhaps most notably, “Battlestar Galactica,” the bloated and over-rated outer space melodrama, is finaly coming to an end on Friday.
As an aside, I’ll add that all of you SF TV junkies who are wringing your hands over the end of BSG and the creative and ratings success of “Dollhouse” are missing the 400 lb. gorilla in the room. “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” kicks both of those shows’ asses as far as being consistently good SF TV. That’s the show I’ll be sad to see get cancelled because of the Friday night death slot. Let’s hope Joss doesn’t take that show down as collateral damage if his own adjacent show fails.
It’s fitting that as BSG grinds toward its final, overwrought episode, a new light is shining on the horizon…
I’ve just finished watching the two-hour premiere of “Kings” on NBC and it was without question the best series opener I’ve seen since 2004′s “LOST” premiere. The setting is the Kingdom of Gilboa, an alternate-reality place that looks an awful lot like our own world, except for the fictional political structure and place names. “Deadwood’s” Ian McShane plays King Silas Benjamin, who rules his country and court in a manner not at all unlike what you’d expect from Al Swearengen — though perhaps with fewer F-bombs. The political intrigue is thick and draws heavily from the various court/church/military/romantic relationships and rivalries of real historical kingdoms. The English courts of Henry II and Edward II (and to a lesser degree, Henry VIII) have some specific corollaries in the plot so far, which has set up enough political and personal dramatic knots to keep us interested for several seasons. There are heroes and villains and plenty of shades of gray, though one potential red flag may lie in the few transparently villianous characters. I’m hoping their personal motivations become more sympathetic as the series progresses.
The pacing and story-telling in this episode of “Kings” were top-notch and the acting is what you’d expect from the likes of Ian McShane and Dylan Baker — outstanding. You can still catch the premiere at NBC.com.
Steve Benen recently called BSG “the most overtly political program since ‘The West Wing’” in Variety. I think we are witnessing the unseating of that title. Set your DVRs.