One of the more interesting entries into this season's TV lineup is NBC's "Kings," which debuts Sunday at 8 p.m.
Giving the Biblical story of King David a modernish retelling, "Kings" is set in the fictional kingdom of Gilboa, ruled by Silas Benjamin (Ian McShane). Gilboa is at constant war with its neighbor, Gath, though you wouldn't know it with the comfortable life the King and his family live in the capital of Shiloah.
Silas has a great deal of aggravation with his kids. His daughter, Michelle (Allison Miller) is a social activist pressuring her dad to institute health care reform while his son Jack (Sebastian Stan) is a party boy who gets himself captured while serving in the war.
Jack, however, is saved when a young farmer, David Shepard (Christopher Egan), who is also serving in the army, destroys a Goliath tank gets Jack away from the enemy.
David is celebrated as the nation's hero and invited to Shiloah and given run of the palace. Meanwhile, Silas must deal with pressure from his brother-in-law (Dylan Baker), the head of a Halliburton-type defense contractor which has a great interest in continuing the war.
"Kings" ranges from soap opera to Shakespearian, but made for some interesting viewing. McShane is terrific as Silas, who makes a lot of questionable moves and forces the viewer to question if he is a good man in a bad situation or a hypocrite. Silas is challenged by the country's head minister, Rev. Samuels, representing morality. When Silas is talking about the country's religious beliefs and God, is he being sarcastic, or does he have genuine faith?
"Kings" spins its story in an interesting way, but viewers may not want to commit to the overarcing story each week. Still, it's worth checking out.
THURSDAY RECAP: So, "ER" nabs George Clooney in his return to the series and DOESN'T promote it, even though everyone knows about it. It's genius moves like this that has made NBC the fourth-place network it is today.
Meanwhile, the best viewing last night without a doubt was "The Daily Show," in which host Jon Stewart ripped CNBC and "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer while Cramer stumbled around for a half-hour, apologizing over and over. The feud between Stewart and CNBC has been running for over a week now, but this was definitely a highlight. Every time Cramer made some lame apology, Stewart aired a clip of the moronic "reporting" CNBC has done during the financial crisis. You should definitely check it out on Comedy Central's Web site or Monday night, when "The Daily Show" repeats at 8 p.m.
WEEKEND'S BEST BET: The series finale of "Battlestar Galactica" (Sci Fi, 10 p.m.) begins tonight before concluding with a two-hour run next week. I'm both psyched and saddened by this.
Fox is all-new with "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and "Dollhouse" beginning at 8 p.m., while CBS counters with new episodes of "Ghost Whisperer," "Flashpoint" and "Numb3rs."
Lyla and Mindy share a bond about what it means to be dating a Riggins on "Friday Night Lights" (NBC, 9 p.m.)
On Saturday, there's a new "Ashes To Ashes" (BBC America, 9 p.m.)
Meanwhile, there are two comedy specials airing this weekend. The one you should be watching is "You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush" (HBO, 9 p.m.), in which Will Ferrell portrays Dubya for one final time during his week-long Broadway show.
The special you should skip is the Comedy Central roast of Larry The Cable Guy, Sunday night at 10 p.m. Some of these roasts (Jerry Stiller, William Shatner) have been brilliant fun in the past, but this is frakkin' Larry The Cable Guy, whose 15 minutes of fame should have been over years ago. On the other hand, if they bring out David Cross as a roaster, definitely watch that bit. Cross and Larry hate each other, and Cross' open letter to Larry a few years ago (you can find it on the internet somewhere) is about as brilliant a put-down as you will ever read.
Meanwhile, also on Sunday, Fox's animation block is all-new, as is CBS' lineup of "Amazing Race," "Cold Case" and "The Unit."
ABC has new episodes of "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers & Sisters," while a new "Celebrity Apprentice" (NBC, 10 p.m.) follows "Kings."
On cable, HBO has new episodes of "Big Love," "Flight of the Conchords" and "Eastbound & Down," beginning at 9 p.m. Showtime winds down with a new episode of "United States of Tara," TV's best new comedy, beginning at 10 p.m.