|Of Kings and Prophets|
|Based on||Bible, Books of Samuel|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||9 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||Cape Town, South Africa|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Distributor||Disney-ABC Domestic Television|
|Picture format||720p (16:9 HDTV)|
|Original release||March 8 –|
March 15, 2016
Of Kings and Prophets is an American television drama based on the Biblical Books of Samuel that premiered on ABC. The series follows an ensemble of characters including Saul and David, the successive Kings of Israel, their families, and their political rivals. Of Kings and Prophets is set in the Kingdom of Israel, but filmed in Cape Town, South Africa.
The series was originally scheduled to premiere in late 2015. However, due to creative changes, it was moved to mid-season in the 2015–16 television season, and premiered on March 8, 2016. Due to low ratings, ABC canceled the series after airing two episodes. All nine episodes aired in New Zealand in March–May 2016. As of February 2018, all nine episodes were available for rent or purchase on Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube.
Cast and characters
- Ray Winstone as Saul, the king of Israel
- Olly Rix as David, a shepherd and the future king of Israel
- Simone Kessell as Ahinoam, the queen of Israel and Saul's wife
- James Floyd as Ishbaal, the younger son of Saul and Ahinoam
- Haaz Sleiman as Jonathan, the elder son of Saul and Ahinoam
- Maisie Richardson-Sellers as Michal, the younger daughter of Saul and a Kushite concubine
- Jeanine Mason as Merav, the elder daughter of Saul and Ahinoam
- Mohammad Bakri as Samuel, the prophet of Israel
- David Walmsley as Yoab, the nephew of David
- Nathaniel Parker as Achish, the king of Philistine
- Louis Talpe as Eliab, the eldest brother of David and soldier in Saul’s army.
- Christina Chong as Rizpah, the concubine of Saul
- Rowena King as Zaphra
- Lyne Renee as The Witch of Endor
- Élodie Yung as Rizpah
- Alex McGregor as Sarah
Writers Adam Cooper and Bill Collage said at the Television Critics Association press tour that they hope to push the envelope "as far as we can" in regards to the amount of sex and violence featured on the series. Showrunner Chris Brancato later clarified "This story is an Old Testament [one that’s] violent [and] sex-drenched. It’s one of the world’s first soap operas. ... You will watch a show that is tasteful but that also tells the story you can read if you want to pick up the Bible." Then-ABC president Paul Lee (who was removed from the network before the show premiered) described the pilot episode simply as "muscular".
Cooper suggested that if need be, some of the more graphic scenes on the series may be edited for public broadcast, and release the originally intended scenes for online viewing. This did indeed occur with the first episode, which was released online with additional sexual content and nudity that was not seen in the ABC broadcast.
The show has received below average reviews from critics, with some critics negatively comparing it to Game of Thrones. On Metacritic, the first season of Of Kings and Prophets received a score of 47/100 based on 16 media reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 29% approval rating based on 17 media reviews with its critical consensus: "Of Kings and Prophets tries to add a Game of Thrones-inspired spin to the Old Testament, but ends up an aimless muddle." In the show's favor Variety wrote "Its courtly sets, tents, and marketplaces often have a pleasingly realistic level of detail, and some glimpses of the outdoor scenery of South Africa (which stands in for ancient Israel) are breathtaking." IGN noted, "It does have a few things going for it, including high production values and intriguing political and religious themes. Winstone (as Saul) brings a very human quality to the character that is usually left out of other depictions."
Parental group reaction
The Parents Television Council criticized the series for scenes of sex and violence and called for it to be removed from the network's schedule. The PTC has compared the show's content to a "broadcast" version of Game of Thrones.
The first episode opened up to 3.32 million viewers. The second episode had lower ratings, having live viewing of 2.42 million viewers, assuring the show's cancellation. Beyond the Tank, which had aired several episodes in the fall and early winter in the same timeslot, returned for the remainder of the season.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||US viewers|
|1||"Offerings of Blood"||Michael Offer||Adam Cooper & Bill Collage||March 8, 2016||3.33|
|In order to defend his kingdom, King Saul of the Israelites arranges a strategic marriage for his daughter Merav to the Eitan of Judah's son Mattiyahu in hopes it will unify the 12 Israelite tribes against their enemies, the Philistines. In the midst of the wedding preparations, Prophet Samuel brings the king a message from God—to destroy the Amalekites. Meanwhile, after his flock of sheep was killed by a lion, the shepherd David travels to the king's palace in Gibeah to settle his family's debt. But when he can't afford his taxes, he must pay the penalty with a flogging. To settle the matter, he makes a deal with Ahinoam, the queen to either kill the beast or perish.|
|2||"Let the Wicked Be Ashamed"||Duane Clark||Theresa Rebeck||March 15, 2016||2.42|
|3||"Lest I Sleep the Sleep of Death"||Michael Robison||Adam Cooper||March 23, 2016(New Zealand)||N/A|
|4||"Beasts of the Reeds"||David Boyd||Dan Dworkin & Jay Beattie||March 30, 2016(N.Z.)||N/A|
|5||"Little Lower than the Angels"||Jean de Segonzac||Janet Lin||April 6, 2016(N.Z.)||N/A|
|6||"Honor in the Dust"||Romeo Tirone||Theresa Rebeck||April 13, 2016(N.Z.)||N/A|
|7||"Train My Hands for War"||Duane Clark||Zach Calig||April 20, 2016(N.Z.)||N/A|
|8||"Broken Teeth of the Ungodly"||Bobby Roth||Dan Dworkin & Jay Beattie||April 27, 2016(N.Z.)||N/A|
|9||"No King is Saved"||Ericson Core||Paul Eckstein & Angela LaManna||May 4, 2016(N.Z.)||N/A|
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- Of Kings and Prophets at Metacritic
- Ryan, Maureen (2016-03-06). "TV Review: 'Of Kings and Prophets'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
- Nicholson, Max (2016-03-08). "Of Kings and Prophets: "Offerings of Blood" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
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- Pena, Jessica (March 9, 2016). "Of Kings and Prophets: PTC Wants ABC TV Series Cancelled". TV Series Finale. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
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