When I think back on the shows I’ve followed as a TV critic, the ones that really linger with me are often not the unqualified successes but the fascinating failures: Swingtown, John from Cincinnati, Tell Me You Love Me. Maybe it’s just me, but a show that goes down trying to do something remarkable, maybe even impossible, sticks in my imagination more than one that does something modest flawlessly. (I’m the same way with movies. Right after I saw Magnolia, I thought it was a pretentious mess. Days later, I couldn’t stop thinking about it—in a good way—and it’s now one of my favorite movies.)
After it finishes its run this summer, Kings may well fall in that category for me. I’m not sure I could justify arguing that NBC keep it on the air (there is no picture on this post, because the network has already stricken it from its press website) and not just because of the ratings; I continue to think that everything around David and Silas’ children plays lie a dull version of Gossip Girl. But Ian McShane is compelling every time he’s on the screen, and when the story focuses—as Saturday’s did—on his passions and the compromises he’s made for power, this unlikely sci-fi/medieval/political fantasy seems to find its reason for being. I can’t rightly call it a success, but I’m glad to have had the chance to see it fail.
Anyone here still watching? And what are your favorite magnificent failures of TV past?