Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I've admitted in the past that I could lose interest in a show, or not even begin watching it in the first place, if it can't be planted firmly into Toobworld, or at least into one of the most common alternate dimensions. The biggest exception for me has been 'The West Wing' - there was no way that world was ever going to be integrated into Toobworld, but it didn't matter; that was some must-see viewing!

So I could have given NBC's latest alternate reality series, 'Kings', a pass since I knew the Kingdom of Gilboa could never be found on Earth Prime-Time. The main Toobworld can squeeze in a lot of kingdoms and republics you'll never find on an Earth Prime map, but everything pointed to Gilboa being that world's stand-in for the United States of America. That's a much bigger difference than just placing a new occupant into the White House!

But then, I've always loved urban fantasy and this sounded like it fit the bill. (Hopefully that won't raise the ire of any religious fanatics who might think I'm saying the original story is fantasy as well.)

Actually I was hoping that I might be able to keep 'Kings' in the world of Earth Prime-Time, and as I read more pre-publicity about it, a pozz'ble theory started forming - why does it have to be taking place on Earth at all? So long as no one mentioned "Earth", I'd be safe on that score, but even then I could get around it. For example: I could claim that the series was taking place on Earth's former synchronous twin planet of Mondas, to be found in 'Doctor Who'. The First Doctor once pointed out that in some ancient language, "Mondas" translated as "Earth". I've always figured that with Mondas having been more advanced than Earth was in its parallel evolution before it bolted the solar system, then 'Kings' could look contemporary to us, but would be set in the distant past. (I'm throwing a lot of otherworldly fantasy series, like 'Wizards and Warriors' and the current 'Legend Of The Seeker', over to Mondas, what with all of their fictional lands.)

Or I could at least place 'Kings' in the same alternate dimension as the revamped version of 'Battlestar Galactica', to keep it company. Why couldn't we say it was taking place on Caprica or one of the other twelve colony planets? The people in 'Battlestar Galactica' had similar clothing styles - not far removed from our own - and their names were always basically the same as well. The use of English on printed signs, banners, paperwork, etc, (best example - the Goliath tanks) wouldn't be a detriment. We've always seen the use of English on alien worlds - like one for "Drugstore" which I saw recently in an old episode of 'The Land Of The Giants'. So anyhoo, I had this idea all worked out, hoping to place 'Kings' on Mondas, with Caprica as a backup plan, when 'Kings' itself dashed that idea with the mention of a musical composition by Liszt which he wrote in 1848. (That was the year the composer began writing under the patronage of the Duke of Weimar.)

Okay, so it has to be Earth, some alternate version of Toobworld which shared a common history... up to a point. In that, it shares something in common with 'The West Wing' in which their American history (at least, if not the entire world's) diverged from established real world history at some point after Lyndon Johnson, but no sooner than Nixon's administration.

And I think this world of 'Kings' evolved geographically different from our own world which serves as the template for most of the Toobworlds. Here's why: the Kingdom of Gilboa looks to be a substitute for America - landscape, weather, language, architecture, etc. (Shiloh could be the New York region, while the Royal Family's island retreat of Vineyard could be Martha's Vineyard or even all of Long Island!) But to the north is their enemy, the country of Gath. So one might assume that should be Canada, except that the front lines in their war is a desert region better suited for the Middle East.

I'm hoping someday we see a world map in one of the episodes, to see if their continental set-up is the same.....

Also - if their world had a Liszt who still became a composer despite the radical changes to their version of the world, are there still counterparts to famous people - even regular people - who may one day show up on the series? For example: Was baseball developed on this world? And if so, might we someday meet their world's version of Derek Jeter, playing himself? Did Bill Gates spearhead a computer revolution in the world of 'Kings'. Do they hand out the Oscars every year for film-making achievement and does Meryl Streep get nominated every year?

This is the type of thing that's going to keep me watching 'Kings'.....

Toby O'B


Anonymous said...

Which episode of 'Land Of The Giants' in which you see the drugstore sign?

Toby O'B said...

It was the "Mechanical Man" episode. American Life shows an episode each week. If I find it online, I'll grab a picture to add to this piece.