We’ve talked before about how a lot of shows are getting compared to Game of Thrones nowadays. Sometimes it’s justified (FX’s The Bastard Executioner, now cancelled) and sometimes it’s a stretch (MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles). When it happens, producers and authors usually try to downplay comparisons, as when author Terry Brooks refuted parallels between Game of Thrones and The Shannara Chronicles, which is based on his book series. The good people at ABC, however, embraced the comparisons when talking about their upcoming biblical drama Of Kings and Prophets.
How big is the crew on Of Kings and Prophets? “We have as many as on Game of Thrones.” Why was the pilot reworked? “Game of Thrones tossed out its original pilot and started again, and we guess for much the same reason.” Here’s executive producer Chris Brancato on what viewers can expect from the show:
It’s suspenseful. It’s extraordinarily violent. It’s sexual. And it’s a power struggle between two men. We don’t view this as a revisionist history nor do we view it as a literal translation. We’ve sought to make the show modern…This is a non-dragon version of Game of Thrones.
The producers made their comments at the recent Television Critics Association winter press tour. Of Kings and Prophets will adapt the two books of Samuel from the Old Testament, which traces the life of King David. Executive producer Reza Aslan outlined the show’s approach to the character. “He’s the world’s first rock star. This is a man whose songs that he wrote 3000 years ago, we are still singing today. He’s called ‘messiah’ in the Bible. His blood courses through the veins of Jesus Christ. And yet — and I think this is what makes him so fascinating — he’s deeply flawed. He’s vain. He’s vengeful. He’s lustful.”
Vain, vengeful, and lustful. We can see the Game of Thrones comparisons. Reading through an outline of the Book of Samuel, there are a few things that seem to fit. Of course, there’s the battle between David and Goliath (Hafthór “the Mountain” Björnsson wasn’t cast as Goliath, but he could have been), and there’s the power struggle between David, the young upstart, and King Saul, who feared that David was swaying the common people to his side. At one point, Saul charges David with bringing him 100 Philistine foreskins, figuring that he’ll die in the attempt, but David ends up bringing him 200 foreskins. That’s weirder than anything in Game of Thrones, and we’re wondering how it’ll play on network TV.
And naturally, they’ll be plenty of sex, some of which might be so explicit that producers may have to quarantine it in the online streaming version of the show.
Of Kings and Prophets will premiere on ABC on March 8, 2016.