Kingdom Hospital (TV Series 2004) Poster

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A mediocre and not funny remake
Uldead9 March 2004
The First thing you have to know is that "Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital" on ABC is a remake of the Danish mini-series "Riget" and "Riget II" by Lars Von Trier. So it's essentially a process of "translating" something for the mainstream. My main problem with this was that they didn't focused on all the important things; it lost all the humor factor and it's special weirdo characters, and that was what made the original show so unique. And now we don't have any of that, we lost all the interesting characters and the black humor, what we get is the gore and the ghost story only. It really gives an idea about how little King and the Americans understood from the original. Yes, Ernst-Hugo Järegård is irreplaceable, but for God's sake, even the rest of these characters are all too normal, they look too nice, healthy, like models. Even when they supposed to be weird, it's somehow cliched, typical commercially "alternative". It's the paradox goal of this show, you can't turn the alternative to mainstream while remain alternative, because they are the antitheses of each other.

Another negative thing is that it's budget was probably like 10 times higher than the original, that's not negative on it's own, but they used that money on things that would have been much better without them, first of all it looks like a Hollywood movie, even though they tried to create some alternative look with the lighting but it's still too nice, too hyper realistic, that subtracts from the creepy mood a lot. And then we have some CGI characters, a talking sloth-bear, that has the teeth of the Worms from Dreamcatcher... As a conclusion you get what you have expected, a dumbed down, mainstream version of something original, and the worst is that it's badly executed.

My Rating: 3 / 10
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10/10
Awesome and way underrated!!
borax7611 October 2004
When Kingdom Hospital originally aired I watched it every week, then the air-date changed and I missed an episode and couldn't bring myself to continue watching with an hour's worth gap. I got my DVD set last week (a few days early) and I absolutely love this show. In a commentary on the DVD Kingdom Hospital is described as a video book and it really feels that way, it's got a perfect pace and you can really ID with the characters who are very rich and well defined. I feel that the story is more effective when you watch the episodes close together, waiting 7 days for subsequent episodes is like torture. It's sad that the ratings were low because I'd really like to see more of Kingdom Hospital and the characters involved. Ed Begley Jr., Andrew McCarthy and Bruce Davison especially give excellent performances, I give the special effects a big 19. Buy the set and you'll be addicted.
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Couldn't someone else have made this?
PenGuhWin20 March 2004
"Riget" is one of the most unique films you could ever hope to see. Flawed though it is, it never loses your attention, and you never cease wanting to see more of it, even after hours. "Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital" has the opposite effect. Having sat through three episodes now, I'm on the verge of wondering just why I'm wasting my time. The premiere episode was okay - the second somewhat less than that, and the third out and out awful. I finally figured it out. Whenever they stick to remaking "Riget," the thing works. Whenever they veer from that path, it completely fails. I always thought "Riget" was basically a comedy, with some moments of true horror, and lots of suspense. "SKKH" has none of this. Nothing's funny. Nothing's scary. Nothing's even suspenseful, because they don't give you enough plot for you to even follow. What's annoying is that all they had to do is REMAKE the original for the whole thing to work - but nooooo... they had to go and "improve" it with talking anteaters, singing nurses, and oh-so-cute references (I'm told) to various other Stephen King novels, as if maybe THAT will keep us interested. The sad thing is that "Riget" was never finished - the first series leaves you with an incredible cliffhanger, and the end of "Riget II" tops THAT - cutting off just as everything finally seems to be coming to a climax. If SKKH had followed the original, we could at last have looked forward to seeing the thing resolved (even if it is in English, with a completely different set of actors). Now... who cares? It's already so far from the original that it can't possibly even be following the same storyline as the original. What a missed opportunity - what a shame. Sigh. Well, at least we have the originals (and I urge all of you who might like the U.S. version to try and hunt up the original and see how it MIGHT have been).
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7/10
If this were exactly like Riget, what would be the point?
Silicon_Hills_Review21 July 2007
Riget is indeed an excellent body of work. But the humor is based on Danish culture and might be lost on other viewers. If you are a Stephen King fan, then you'll probably enjoy his interpretation of that story. If you don't like Stephen King, then why watch his movies? Consider "Psycho" starring Ann Heche - a remake down to the very last word and camera angle of Hitchcock's "Psycho." What's the point? Or consider James Whale's original Frankenstein - an absolute horror masterpiece. Does that mean I shouldn't enjoy "Young Frankenstein" because it mocks the original? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It brings this story to people who wouldn't otherwise watch it. Some people don't like dubbed movies - they ruin the atmosphere and subtitled movies invariably cause me to miss visual cues. I agree, Riget "Rules", absolutely. But this version has some interesting qualities and I enjoyed watching it. It's better on DVD without all the cuts on cable/dish.
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Just when I was getting hooked
katran117 April 2004
It took me awhile to get into this series. In fact, after watching the two-hour premiere, I almost didn't come back to watch Ep. 2. But I did, then I watched Ep. 3, and I think that's where I finally started getting hooked. Unfortunately, ABC has now put out official word that they have cancelled the series, though they will show all the remaining episodes (while based on a miniseries, King had begun writing material for a second season, which ABC has now axed). Thankfully, ABC has agreed to release the series on DVD later this year.

I've most enjoyed the episodes where you see a lot of the ghosts. I think Jodelle Micah Ferland (Mary) is just adorable, she just breaks my heart. I'm really impressed by Kett Turton (Paul and the voice of Antubis). This is the first thing I've seen him in and I think he's great. And I just love Diane Ladd as Mrs. Druse. In my opinion, the episodes in which those three figure the most prominently are the best of the series.

Unlike many others who watch this series, I have not seen Riget so I have nothing to compare Kingdom Hospital with. I do plan to see Riget (my local Blockbuster actually carries it, under the title "The Kingdom"), but I think I'll wait until this series is over, since those who have seen Riget first seem the most disappointed with this new rendition.

Definitely bizarre, but it grows on you. Stephen King stated that viewers might not see the rewards of this show right away, but if they would just stick with it they would. It's too bad that more people didn't listen, or it might have survived.
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8/10
thumbs up!!
gorefreak9 December 2005
I really looked forward to it when I heard that King was planning to do this show'(my favourite author), I watched the danish mini series when it aired in Danish television in 1994, back then I was thrilled with the show, it was simply brilliant. I wasn't disappointed with this version, it's basically the same story, but with changed characters, I don't think there's a lack of humour but it's just different. There is only one thing I can complain about and that is Bruce Davison/Dr. Stegman is doing a fine job but he gets nowhere near Ernst-Hugo Järegård/Helmer. In "Riget" the funniest thing was the Swedish Dr. Helmer, who hated danes, treating everyone like they had no brain, Dr. Stegman is quite unpleasant but not as enjoyably nasty as Helmer was. R.I.P.
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8/10
Above Average TV Fare Much Maligned By "Riget" Fanatics
Rd Stendel-Freels13 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Let's get a few things out of the way here: 1) "Kingdom Hospital," although based on the Danish series "Riget," is NOT "Riget." 2) "Riget" is, indeed, a better production. 3) "Kingdom Hospital" is NOT horror. It can probably best be described as a black comedy/Gothic mystery featuring ghosts, but it is not horror.

Like the best of Stephen King's works, "Kingdom Hospital" draws its inspiration from a combination of another work and autobiographical details of his own life, in this case, Lars von Trier's "Riget," and King's own 1999 experience being struck by a drunk driver in a hit-and-run accident. King wrote 8 of the 13 episodes himself and shares writing credit with his wife Tabitha on a 9th. The remaining 4 were scripted by his co-producer, National Book Award finalist Richard Dooling.

"Kingdom Hospital" is not "Riget" and does not pretend to be. A straightforward remake of "Riget" would not have played well to mainstream American audiences, besides being redundant and unnecessary. If you want to see "Riget," you can rent "Riget," but don't look for it here. Instead, "Kingdom Hospital" uses "Riget" as the framework for a motherlode of subtext. From a modern re-telling of the Egyptian Anubis myth, to questions of Christian faith, from forays into the horrors of experimental medicine to frequent pot shots at American popular culture, from an exploration of obsessive attraction to biting commentary on the ways children have been treated historically--all of these things combine to tell a fascinating, multi-layered tale.

While the villain, Dr. Stegman, is rather one-dimensional in his obsessions and hubris, he serves as a mirror to the more fascinating Dr. Hook, a man so haunted by his own internal demons and guilt that he strives to be better. Stegman's lack of guilt serves as his downfall, while Hook's guilt and mistakes define him. Peter Rickman serves as the mirror to Stephen King, as he realizes he has defined himself by his craft (he is an artist), and just as King revealed in his memoir "On Writing" how writing ultimately healed him, so does Rickman's artwork (he's so defined by it that he uses drawings to communicate while comatose) set the stage for his own healing, and, ultimately, the "healing" of Kingdom Hospital. "It's what I do," he says at the story's climax. "It's solid."

"Kingdom Hospital" is much better suited to viewing on DVD without the endless commercial interruptions that slowed the narrative during its prime-time run. On television the story was slow to build and often seemed to take pointless, meandering side trips, but watched in a single sitting, it takes on a new life, and those side trips pay off marvelously in end. This is fascinating stuff, great character studies, and far better than the standard slop served up on American television. A definite must-see!
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1/10
Why?
bill_vine18 May 2004
This 'remake' of Lars Von Trier's series does not do the original any justice. It annoys me that they have felt the need to film this poor imitation, apparently purely because the original is in a foreign language. They have lost all of the subtlety and almost all of what made Von Trier's frightening, along with the beauty that Von Trier captured. I don't know what Stephen King was thinking when he began writing this but I wish he hadn't. And Baxley's treatment of the script, particularly his choice of music, leaves a lot to be desired.

Do not bother seeing this if you have seen, or intend to see, the original, because you will only be disappointed.
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9/10
I like them both
yarnartist200315 December 2006
I started watching the series on ABC and then they took it off suddenly. In any case, I never got to see the entire thing until a couple of weeks ago, when I had to buy it because people keep stealing it out of the local video store. Prior to buying it, I saw the Danish series, which my son owns. (He hadn't watched Stephen King's version because he thought he stole it from Lars Von Trier. Then I told him that Von Trier was an executive producer and got full credit for the original version. So now he'll watch the King version.) I thought King's version was a very interesting adaptation of the original, with all the quirks and "weirdities" so typical of his work. (I saw another comment on here from someone who thought the people in the American version were too normal...good heavens, where do you live?) My preference? Well, I have to say I like the King version better. It has all the dark humor, but with an edgy playfulness that I found much more fun.
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3/10
Kingdom hospital vs Riget
peterlarsson-15 November 2005
Having seen the first 2 episodes of kingdom hospital, i must say that i am already really disappointed. At first it seems like a remake of Lars Von triers "Riget" but stray of from the original, which is a lot better and much more scary.

I agree with PenGuhWin, the story works when it follows the original, but completely falls apart when they try to change it. It could have worked but it just doesn't.

2 seasons of Riget was made and a third was planned, but it was canceled because some of the actors died.

By the whats up with that anteater thing.?
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10/10
Warning: Requires Thought
FlyFlyStarling13 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Well, that's the warning that should have come before the show-- as well as expecting the viewers to actually know some of the works being referenced (and I'm not just talking about Mr. King's references to his own publications). I have read several complaints on various sites about the "Emperor of Ice Cream" reference Lenny treats us to. Most of the American public, sadly, seems as uninformed about Wallace Stevens as they are about Emanuel Swedenborg.

The massive amount of obscure mythological references also fascinate me-- especially what I view to be the reason for Antibus' inclusion in this series. The white dog (Blondie)and the red ant-eater (Antibus, Anubis)-- are both symbols of the Egyptian God Seth (Setekh, Set, Sut)-- and Anubis is his son. Also, we have references to his dual nature, and he that 'eats disease'-- one of Setekh's names from the Book of the Dead in his role as a gatekeeper. Also-- we have the golden light and the sun referenced over and over again. Setekh is the defender of light; he stands on the prow of Ra's ship to battle the Apep monster (who attempts to devour light and order in the universe). Why was he included? Antibus is our psychopomp, our transitor, our gatekeeper as viewers. In such he takes on both the aspects of father and son-- he is Anubis who leads the souls of the dead to judgment, but he is also Setekh who keeps watch on the ways of the underworld -and the heavens above- and who devours and destroys any unclean thing.

But, even for this, Mr. King is not and has never been one of my favorite authors. Certainly there are some of his books I enjoy, but -on the whole- I am not easily scared and usually find his attempts at horror laughable. I think one of the best parts about Kingdom Hospital is that Stephen isn't attempting to scare us. Rather, I think he's trying to promote thought in the viewer and so I love the multiple plot lines and the slow build of the story.

Now, as to it being -or not being- Riget. Having seen both series I say, Riget is Riget. It's fantastic. I enjoy it. Kingdom Hospital is Kingdom Hospital. It's fantastic. I enjoy it. I'm not entirely sure why most people seem incapable of liking each for it's individual qualities as well as enjoying the slender threads of commonality that link the series.

Overall, I find Kingdom Hospital to be a wonderful series and truly wish they would have continued it. Pick it up on DVD, you just might like it.
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10/10
wow
dom wingfield22 November 2005
I totally don't get why anyone keeps putting this down. Its fantastic! Its so clever, its so, knowing. Its aware of everything it does. Perfection in every way, WATCH IT! lol. And as for 'sloth-bear' surely ya can work out from the name 'Antibus' that he is an ant-eater. Unless ya didn't watch it properly! Its very funny in a lot of places, and it perfectly compliments the horror, making it dark, but very witty. I think that the characters are all expertly chosen, of course they are, Steven King chose em! He knows what he is doing! I would recommend it to anyone who likes Stephen King, anyone who likes horror, anyone who likes comedy, anyone who likes drama, anyone who likes to be moved by a show. It will stick around in your head for life. I am so happy to have seen it. You will be too
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1/10
An ungodly mess
Stephen King has officially lost his touch. I saw hints of his newfound mediocrity riddled through the bad-but-watchable ROSE RED. But this pretty much solidifies it. For whatever INSANE reason Lars decided to take his BRILLIANT miniseries RIGET and sell it to ABC and Stephen King so they could make RIGET, American STYLE, aka KINGDOM HOSPITAL. I'm not exactly sure where communication between Stephen and the muses broke down but it was somewhere before he started writing this piece of trash. Every week is 40 or so minutes of nothing happening. It doesn't even seem that all these little things are building up to anything. It just feels pointless to watch (which is why I quit after episode 5 or 6). Nothing makes sense. Now I know what a lot of you are going to say "That was the idea behind the original." Well, there's a huge difference between surrealism, and not making any sense. The original had a lot of stuff happening that seemed odd but it was all the purpose, and it was effectively understood by the viewer.

But this...I would rather bathe in the waste product of all of New York then stand for this mini-series a second more. If you really know your film, you should have already seen RIGET aka THE KINGDOM. If you haven't, you should. But don't waste your time with this mini-series which is on a descending spiral towards the honor of worst mini-series of all time.
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"Well, I'm Impressed"
tgarnett2518 December 2004
I didn't have the chance to see this mini-series during it's initial, network run because of my work schedule, but praise be to Blockbuster Video, and a nifty thing called a free movie pass. On the whole, "Kingdom Hospital" is Stephen King on a totally different level. This is horror; this is fine storytelling; this is video art. What I admire most about this masterful weave of suspense, and the psychedelic is that the author/producer makes the material his own, never leaning on Von Trier's success, though it must have been tempting at times to do so.

Like "Cop Rock," and "Twin Peaks" before it, "Kingdom Hospital" is the type of series we don't see often--which is to say that it commits the heinous, unforgivable crime of allowing the viewer to think for themselves. Watch it while you can. All too soon we'll be rocketed back into the arms of the predictable, and the mundane.
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1/10
Don't waste your time if you've seen the original
spam-73025 December 2005
Being a rather cheap copy of Lars von Trier's original i found this mini series annoying after the first few minutes. While for Stephen King this may be rather good, i find it just a disgrace when you compare it to the original. Within minutes i found myself confronted with all the clichés i hate about cheap TV horror - exaggerated characters (sometimes combined with weird appearance to make sure everyone realizes something is wrong), exaggerated camera perspectives, puzzlingly stupid dialogs (just to remind you something is wrong here) and of course the typical horror soundtrack. It appears like this is just one of those typical American remakes that only serves to target a broader audience, less demanding, less daring, streamlined and average. Not for me.
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7/10
Very worthwhile!
renyard0129 June 2007
Probably one of the best video representations of Stephen King's writing style (although he did not write the original novel), "Kingdom Hospital" definitely worth the watching! Granted, this mini-series is not for everyone. If you're into short, powerful horror films that end with all the loose ends neatly tied up, this one just won't be for you. Just as in his novels, King takes his time to explore characters, situations, the macabre, and so on. Like his novels, this is a rich exploration that takes the time and patience of the viewer.

What I liked the most about this series were the running motifs that tied the numerous subplots together in very subtle ways. Things like secret hand-signs, recurring phrases, and soundtrack songs like "Red Dragon Tattoo" by Fountains of Wayne. I also like the way that black humor was woven into situations in ways that seemed appropriate, and yet not overdone.

I'm sure that "Kingdom Hospital" will never win any artistic awards, but the quality of this piece surpasses much of what one can expect from American television miniseries.
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7/10
An enjoyable Stephen King series that has its ups and downs. Mostly enjoyable.
Chickensmoke10 April 2007
I enjoyed Kingdom hospital very much but i felt at times it was a bit slow and a few episodes were made up of unnecessary events, that weren't crucial to the plot, although some were enjoyable. The first episode was fantastic at the start but then dragged on for an extra 20 minutes too long and the first 4 episodes had a good atmosphere. Then the series got a bit boring although mostly enjoyable to watch. I loved the episode 'Butter fingers' and the last two episodes were excellent bar the unsatisfying ending. At times the show was quite scary and certainly creepy but there's nothing that will haunt you forever here. The effects were quite good especially on the creepy anteater that roams the old kingdom. I recommend it if you like the Craig r Baxley and Stephen King combination and if you enjoyed this or want to watch a enjoyable series by the pair but not one as long then i recommend 'Rose red', 'Storm of the century' and 'the shining (1997)'.Once again there is some cool atmospheric music from Gary Chang although lots of the music is just the same piece playing throughout the series. I found it entertaining because or the plot and the mystery once you watch one show you want to see the next! All in all kingdom hospital is good, when you've got the time for it.
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2/10
Get the original - this is trite
lovely_anne_6328 February 2006
There is obviously an audience out there for very dumbed-down versions of masterpieces but it still hurts. Lars von Trier's original Kingdom works on so many levels - entertaining, scary, thoughtful, full of lifelike though odd characters and the genius of the "dogme" style of filming created by von Trier. But this version is only horrific in it's wasted opportunities - populated by blandness and distracting in its use of animation (CGI) and badly worked out (edited?) sub-plots. It is a disappointing collection of ugly features that once made up a renaissance classic. I give it 2/10 because you may be looking for background imagery for a techno-party and this would suit well. In summary, I cannot understand how King can put his name to this - it can only be the dollars. It must have been a lot.
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10/10
Fantastic!
Morticon2 August 2005
I saw the trailer for this and it looked great. Well, it wasn't great. It was phenomenal. I watched it every night and wouldn't miss it for anything. It leaves you on the edge of your seat, wanting more in every scene. I would definitely recognize this as Stephen King, whether I read the credits or not. It's wonderfully written, and the plot and story is riveting. Turton and Ferland were absolutely brilliant at their roles. Turton played a wonderful part as evil boy Paul Morlock, and Ferland, at such a young age, is extremely talented and played this role very well. I especially love the music in this, it always has me humming. As soon as I found out this was on DVD, I bought it. I recommend to anyone.
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9/10
AMAZING!!! also very addicting....
confusedGIRL7 June 2006
"Kingdom Hospital" is thrilling, as well as addictive. After watching the first episode of this series, you will not be able to stop. It is very different, much like many of Stephen King's stories. The characters all pull you in and you will feel suspense as you watch what what happens to them. This is, in my opinion, the best creation of Stephen King. There are many twists and turns. Some of these twists are slightly predictable and will have you on the edge of your seat, waiting to see if your prediction is correct. Other turns will catch you off guard and leave you amazed that such a thing could happen, even in a fictional story. WATCH THIS SERIES!!!
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9/10
kingdom hospital
wthumper2319 October 2005
i thoroughly enjoyed this series. Yes, it started off as a very confusing show but gradually i got hooked. Hook is a interesting character but i could'not say who my favourite was but will admit to liking Mary, the little ghost child. If you are a Stephen king fan, then this is right up your street. Very entertaining and at some points, amusing too. Thoroughly enjoyed it and loved the theme too. Graphics were stunning and all the cast played their roles to the extreme. Never found it dull at any time and would watch it again. Would have loved to see another series. Found the episode with the resurrection very enjoyable as well as the finale. Once you have watched the complete season, you start to understand who what and why everything is as it is.
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10/10
"Kingdom Hospital" Left Me Addicted!
ciarra-126 August 2006
I have always enjoyed Stephen Kings books, though I have to admit sometimes his movies lose something in the translation. However this series left me craving more. I wish it would continue because I really am going through withdrawals since it ended. The combination of the comedic as well as the seriousness of the series was incredible. I loved the entire way the story went. And so many characters to fall in love with or hate. Anubus was absolutely adorable and frightening at the same time, if that was possible, and in Kingdom Hospital it was. When you can come up with a series which this can happen, you have a wonderful series on your hands. Very few can say that.

The way it took you on the roller coaster ride throughout, leaving you wanting for more definitely left me with wishing I lived somewhere that I could continue watching "Kingdom Hospital" for years to come.

So many different characters, such wonderful actors in each part, perfectly matched to the characters. I became lost in the storyline in each episode and I loved it. Thank you, to all the writers, for giving us the series while we had it. Give us more, I'm addicted to Anubus and the gang and am tired of going through these withdrawals!
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10/10
great
lizzie s28 April 2006
i think i missed the 1st two episodes but then one night i stayed up because i couldn't get to sleep. i came downstairs just as the opening started and sat on the sofa then asked my dad what this was. i thought it sounded interesting so i stayed and watched it... i loved it. i never missed another episode. The only bad thing was the fact that i was too sleepy to get up for school since in the UK its was shown on a Sunday at about 11 o'clock. After i watched the 3rd and 4th episodes i started telling everyone i knew about it. Only one person actually stayed up but they ended up just as obsessed as i was.

Kingdom Hospital was and still is one of my favourite programs. i just loved the anteater and the little girl..oh and Otto with the German Shepperd is so funny! Its a must watch!
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1/10
Made for the money
nightdust-112 May 2006
This is not genius, this is the direct opposite of genius, and I'm actually stunned by some of the comments this series got. I've read most of King's books. He's not a bad author, but a movie maker he's not. Von Trier's Riget was a masterpiece, and you'd think that a remake which rips off most of the dialogue and plot would be at least decent without too much effort. Wrong. The acting is poor, and actors poorly chosen- all actors either look like models or are meant to come across as idiots. Dr. Stegman (Stig) is not nearly as evil and cynical as he was made out to be in the original series, and there are some very obvious attempts to live off the past popularity of twin-peaks. The humor of the original is lost in King's remake, which is too bad since it was the humor and not the ghost story that made the original so great to begin with.

I never expected anyone to fill Ernst-Hugo's shoes, but at least King could have tried to give some kind of personality apart from tedious stereotypes to his characters.

Even if you don't compare this series with the original, you still end up with a series for the masses, filled with oversimplified characters, jokes that aren't funny (the talking dog- OMFG), poor acting, and a way of telling the story that's insulting to the audience's intelligence. This series was made for making money. And that's okay, as long as you're open with the fact that that was the only purpose. But there's absolutely nothing genius about it.
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9/10
Abolutely brilliant !
skyfish6623 December 2007
This fantastic mini-series had me hooked right form the very first episode for so many reasons, the story for one thing. wanting more after each episode. I am so glad i rented out both volumes at once on D.V.D. so I wouldn't have been left hanging for the next episode.

I LOVE this show, it has sadness, serenity, horror, twists & turns, and even a little bit of dark humour which is sure to be put a different perspective on things.

You will love "Kingdom Hospital" from beginning to end. You would surely be a fool to not watch this, it's a real treasure, television at it's best, kudos to the cast and crew for their outright extraordinary work on this piece, and again, without spoiling anything or giving anything away, the ending is sure to have you guessing, but in a good way, because no matter what those criticisers say, they will not hurt my respect and love of Stephen King's: "Kingdom Hospital". It is a great show with great acting, great music, and a great storyline, one for the ages. For a mini-series, this is utterly perfect, and is even better than a lot of feature films out there.

WATCH KINGDOM HOSPITAL ! ! ! 9/10

Adios ! Y'all
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