On Wednesday nights I’ve been teaching through the Old Testament, one book a week. Last week we were in 1 Samuel looking at the story of king Saul, and the beginning of David’s story. This week we’ll be looking at the story of David’s kingship in 2 Samuel.
So it is with immediate familiarity and much interest, that my wife and I watched the premier episode of NBC’s new series, Kings. The series is based on the stories of Saul and David.
The show obviously has high production values. It was filmed in HD, the sets are elaborate and detailed. The acting is very good. The young man they got to play David is very good. Overall, it was very enjoyable to watch. We watched online at NBC’s website and it streamed flawlessly over our DSL connection without a glitch, full screen on my 17″ MacBook Pro, and looked great.
Since it is based on the biblical account of events in 1 Samuel, I thought I would compare the movie to the actual story. The back story, which they allude to but don’t show, is taken from 1 Samuel 8-14. The first episode is taken from events in chapters 15-17.
They modernized it by placing it in a fictional world similar to our own, complete with advanced technology. Goliath is a tank, not a giant man. David lives on a small farm. Jesse is his mother, not his father. He’s a pianist, not a harpist. The country is called Gilboa, not Israel. The capital is Shiloh, the city Samuel was raised in by Eli the priest, but scripture says nothing about this city being Saul’s capital. Saul is known as Silas, and is shorter than David. Jonathan is Jack and his attack on the enemy didn’t result in victory as it did in scripture, but rather in capture, setting the stage for David to pull off a heroic rescue. Samuel figures in the story as a man of God and the one who swore in king Silas (Saul), but not so much with the anointing thing, butterflies do that.
Such liberties did not bother me, though I must say the whole butterfly thing was a bit weird, butterflies anointing the king, butterfly on the royal flag, “We’re the butterfly kingdom!”
But I digress…
Other liberties they took did bother me.
In scripture, Jonathan is an upright man who befriends David, seeks God’s best not his own, and acts with integrity. Here, the story is quite different. Jack is a closet homosexual who is as evil, scheming, and plotting as is his mother, a character who does not even get a mention in scripture but plays a rather important role in the show. Was there not enough scandal and intrigue in the pages of the biblical story? I wonder why the writers felt compelled to invent such characters. I understand, but don’t approve of, the political correctness and liberal theology that led to the homosexual orientation of the Jonathan character, but I’m surprised they made him a bad guy. I thought they would portray the gay guy as one of the good characters.
More disturbing than the plot liberties though was the subtle infusion of a secular worldview into a program obviously targeted at a Christian viewership. With the biblical basis, the evidences of God in the story, the use of biblical themes sure to grab attention, such as “David slays Goliath,” it seems obvious that the network was hoping to snare the attention, and approval, of a Christian audience. But once they have your attention, they begin to tell you how you aught to think.
Portraying Jonathan as homosexual gave them an opportunity, I’m sure they’ll capitalize on it more than this once, to state that God made him that way. King Silas (Saul) confronts his son’s behavior as something unbecoming of a king and tells him that if he wants to be king someday then he cannot be what God made him, namely a homosexual. The moment goes by quickly, but the message is there. Homosexuality is something you’re born with. God makes you that way. He couldn’t possibly judge you for it as sin if he’s responsible, right?
Secondly, there comes a scene in which the king is preparing breakfast for his family and launches into a discussion of which came first, the chicken or egg. The king makes a royal decree that in the face of “overwhelming evidence in favor of evolutionary theory” we should simply accept that evolution is “one of the tools God uses” and accept that the egg came first since it came from a proto-chicken and resulted in something quite different from the “mother.”
The show is enjoyable to watch, but laden with unChristian ideas being passed off as right thinking to the Christian audience which is obviously the target of such programing.
So my response to the premier episode of Kings? No thanks NBC, I’ll find something more God honoring to do with my time.