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Respected country solicitor Peter Kingdom, with the assistance of his apprentice Lyle and secretary Gloria, runs a small legal practice in Market Shipborough for the eccentric people of Norfolk. Peter lives with his slightly crazy sister Beatrice, and recently lost his half-brother Simon under mysterious circumstances. Written by
Originally by Mark Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, edited and emended.
It pains me to have to disparage anything that stars Stephen Fry, but I'm really not convinced by Kingdom. Full disclosure: I've not made it through the first season so it may be my fault for not putting in the effort.
The show is mildly entertaining, I suppose. It ambles on amicably with a few japes here and there. Nothing too exciting. Its saving grace is the aforementioned Mr. Fry who manages to add some charm and likability. But other than that it all just feels so trite and uninspired. And above all: it feels old. From the opening shots to the fonts that are used, the colour balance, the cinematography, the music... If it weren't for the widescreen format I'd be sure I was watching something from the 90s, if not 80s - not a show from 2007.
Unfortunately, its not just the production that feels dated. Most of the supporting characters are the sort of stereotype that would be more at home in a 70s sitcom. The sister (Beatrice) in particular reminds me of a character from "Grace & Favour" (Miss Lovelock), the ill-conceived sequel to "Are you being served?". To be fair, Kingdom is a little more watchable than that, but sadly only marginally.
Even its dated feel could be forgiven if this was made up for in plot, but it just isn't. The cases aren't particularly interesting, and they are worked through at same calm pace as an episode of Morse. However, where the latter starts with an intriguing murder mystery and builds tension from there, Kingdom just sort of goes through the motions; preferably with a bit of a moral to the story thrown in at the end.
All in all, it makes for good Sunday afternoon telly for the elderly or those with a weak heart. Kind of like a pastoral, British antidote to Breaking Bad (its opposite in every respect), to be enjoyed after a big Sunday lunch and napped through most of the way. But sadly not worth it any other time.
(I really am sorry, Mr. Fry...)
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