If you have been wanting to see ABC’s Of Kings and Prophets, you better catch the show soon, as it is likely to fade away rather quickly. Like the story that it represents, the show will be facing its own giant, a behemoth formed out of both ratings and reviews.
Created by the same team who gave us the big screen adaptation of Moses’ story, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Of Kings and Prophets premiered Tuesday, March 8 at 10 p.m. on ABC with extremely low ratings of 0.8 Live+same day for adults 18-49, which is about 3.3 million total viewers. To compare, last fall the network premiered the drama Wicked City, which earned a 0.9 rating and was quickly yanked from the schedule. According to Deadline, it is a new low for a non-Friday night premiere.
Of Kings and Prophets went up against NBC’s new Big Shots with Steve Harvey and little kids. That show opened with 12.7 million viewers. Big Shots’ regular time slot is Sundays, so it is possible that the ABC show could do better next week if it is still airing at all.
Of Kings and Prophets did not do well with the critics either.
“This less-epic Kings aims, says ABC, for Game of Thrones but lands somewhere between Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Life of Brian: A fine destination if that was your goal, but an odd place to fall if it wasn’t,” says Robert Bianco from USA Today.
“As with so many Bible-based adaptations in this conflicted age, Kings wanders aimlessly between a literal and figurative interpretation of the Bible… But then, matters of interpretation don’t matter much to Kings, which is clearly far more interested in the opportunities for carnage and romance the stories provide. Historians and theologians may not agree on who wrote the Bible, but they do share a general belief in why it was written: to offer moral guidance and spiritual encouragement.”
Unlike other recent biblical-themed TV shows like The Bible miniseries (History) and the less successful, but still well done A.D.: The Bible Continues (NBC), Of Kings and Prophets tries to be relevant without being biblically accurate. The network knew that the show had troubles last summer when it was pulled from ABC’s upfronts just days after it was announced that the show would appear on Sunday nights. The show was pulled for recasting and reshooting some of the episodes, which to some Christians, seemed like a good sign that the re-tooled show would mirror the Bible more correctly. Unfortunately, that was not the case. In the Bible, David is called “a man after God’s own heart” who had a passion for serving his God knowing that the Almighty will take care of him. In this new David story, he admits that he doesn’t know what drives him and appears to be confident in his own abilities.
Rather than start the story off with David being anointed by Samuel when he was a young boy as explained in Samuel 16, Of Kings and Prophets starts off with King Saul (Ray Winstone) struggling to keep his kingdom safe from the evil Philistines. One plan is to send his daughter Merav (Jeanine Mason) to marry Mattiyahu of Judah (Matt Whelan) in hopes of uniting the 12 Israelite tribes. The prophet Samuel (Mohammad Bakri) arrives on the scene and gives Saul a message from God saying that Saul must kill all of the Amalekites. Over in the fields, David the shepherd (Olly Rix) and his cousin Yoab (David Walmsley) travel to Saul’s house to settle his family’s debts. He boldly states that he can kill the lion that is killing off many of the sheep. Both daughter Michal (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and queen Ahinoam (Simone Kessel) are intrigued with the idea and, apparently, both have the hots for David.
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]