Friday, March 8, 2013

Day Sixty-seven - Kingdom: Series 1, Episode 1, or "It's hard for Stephen Fry to do wrong."

It really is difficult for me to be annoyed by Stephen Fry.

I honestly can't think of such a case. I love his documentary and film work and, while his comedy bits with Hugh Laurie don't beguile me as much as they apparently do the rest of the internet, I still find them on a continuum from at least mildly amusing to really rather quaint and endearing.

I'd never heard of Kingdom before it popped up in my suggestion queue, but, with Fry the headliner, I was at the very least intrigued.

To be fair, it's just alright.

While I never laughed out loud for any of its moments or jokes, I couldn't help but smile whenever Fry's quiet, sardonic humor broke through. Whether it revolved around a stinky client relying on legal aid to put up roadblocks for local development or taking mild shots at his apprentice's lack of vision, it's hard not to find even his pointed jabs just, well... cute.

Now, the drama is, itself, rather bland. The main thrust of the episode revolves around an estate probate involving the death of a rich retiree and her two sons, one a greedy tosser (their words, not mine... I probably would've used "putz" or "dick") and the other a decent sort. Then there's the minor case involving the stinker and the requisite family drama that inserts Fry's mentally unstable sister into his life to upset his status quo.

The entire thing is stretched out a bit farther than I was expecting. There's really little in the way of substance to either case and the sister drama is a bit cliche, but the inbetweeners are generally pretty amusing. I did happen to like his assistant solicitor's fear of heights, though I wasn't a fan of his pool diving antics. The sister pretty much just annoys, but maybe that particular wrinkle will iron out in due course.

I am glad, however, that there's no romantic drama. At least, not yet. While there are threads that could develop that way (though, I doubt it), I was very happy with the decided lack of your typical sitcom love story.

If you're looking for a sedate law drama and are tired of American procedurals, this could really be up your ally. It's definitely smarter joke-wise than its American cousins, though the mystery is very much lacking.

Still, there's something calm and refreshing about Kingdom. I hope, as I continue the series, that the overarching story lines that they laid groundwork for in the opening episode develop into meaty bits of drama. We shall see, I suppose.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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