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Series debut: Stephen Fry’s Kingdom, April 21 on Vision TV

In television on 04/19/2010 at 10:22 pm

Series name
Kingdom

Debuts
Wednesday, April 21 at 9 p.m. ET on Vision TV

Regularly airs
Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Vision TV

Premise
The life and work of a small-town lawyer in England and his sad quest to find out what happened to his half-brother and law partner, Simon.

Primary cast and crew
Stephen Fry (Jeeves and Wooster, Bones) is Peter Kingdom, sweet-natured lawyer who tends to the wills and divorces and all other manner of legal matters in the town of Market Shipborough.
Celia Imrie (Calendar Girls, Absolutely Fabulous) is Gloria, his loyal receptionist and patient sister-minder.
Karl Davis (Emmerdale Farm, Peak Practice) is Lyle, the law clerk working for Kingdom. He is a little naive and gullible, but is a quick study and is game for nearly anything.
Hermione Norris (Spooks, Wire in the Blood) is Beatrice, the Kingdom sister who must be minded because she has checked herself out of her … previous residence.
Simon Wheeler and Alan Whiting (Wire in the Blood) are co-creator/producers.

But what do I know anyway? After having just watched the first two one-hour episodes, I say …
Stephen Fry is quoted in the press kit as saying that the success of the series on ITV in the U.K. (where it ran for three six-episode seasons, having been cancelled last year) was a testament to TV watchers’ hunger for “comfort television”. I would second that and add that Kingdom, with its lovely characters, quiet stories and the simmering mystery of the half-brother Simon are further proof that not all television dramas must shout and squirt blood to get attention (though those characteristics both have their place on my home-viewing schedule). Kingdom is a quiet little story of a lawyer, his daily work and the characters who work for and live around him. But don’t think “quiet” means boring. It’s more an aura of authority. That some things are not meant to be rushed. What a relief. Beautifully shot and ably acted by an excellent cast, Kingdom bumbles along, with a case-a-week serving as the main frame and the ongoing mystery of Simon unfolding ever so slowly. Exactly what is in that sack given to Peter by police? It’ll be weeks before we know. And that’s just fine with me.

Official website
Covers the basics, including cast bios and episode guide, but be warned that the series wrapped in 2009, so there might be some spoilerish material.

Can’t wait for the next new-series preview?
Well, there’s this suicide dramedy. Or black comedy? Intrigued, right? It’s called Gravity and it premieres Monday, April 26 on The Movie Network. I’ll get to it, eventually. This working while I’m on vacation is not quite working out.

— Denise Duguay

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