Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital - the pilot

Posted: February 18, 2004
Category: Movies
I have just seen the pilot (that has the subtitle Thy Kingdom Come) for Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital and boy oh boy am I happy! This is the best King has ever written for TV! Now I can hear some of you saying that King didn't write it, Lars Von Trier did and yes, your partly right. Trier did the TV series that King is basing Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital on, The Kingdom and even though the two are very similar on several things they are also very different. King has really done what he was supposed to do. He has taken a really good series and turned it into his version of it. I mean, how fun is it to listen to a cover song if it sounds exactly as the original? Pretty meaningless, right? Well, Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital is far from meaningless, that's for sure!

As usual with pilots this is where we get to meat all the characters and get to know who they are and who they like and dislike. The same happens in Thy Kingdom Come. We get introduced to the characters and learn a bit about each and one of them. The thing I dreaded would be hard to translate from the original to King's version is the arrogance and hatred that Steg (Stig in the original) has toward his colleges and patients. In the original he was a Swede that hated the Danish but here you would have an American hating Americans. Here you have a doctor from Boston working in small town Maine who hates country folk. I was worried but it's really well done and it worked perfect! Bruce Davison is really perfect for the role of Steg!

If you have seen the Trier's The Kingdom you will definitely recognize parts of the intro to the series. You will also recognize the characters even though some are new and others has changed a bit but you'll definitely recognize them. King has kept the feeling of Trier's version and added to it. I get the same crazy and bizarre feeling by watching Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital as I got when I watched The Kingdom. King has just added his own thoughts and feelings to the mix. Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital feels really fresh!

The most gripping part is at the beginning where Peter Rickman (Jack Coleman) gets hit by a van while he is out running on the side of the road. This must be exactly as King experienced his accident and it's really realistically done. You can almost feel your limbs breaking when the van smashes into you. The scene is extremely realistic and well done. Even the dog trying to get into the cool bag is there…

The accidents transform Peter and give him telepathic powers and the ability to communicate with the spirits of Kingdom Hospital. This and Peter's recovery is what the pilot centers around. That and as I said earlier, letting us getting to know all the characters. If the rest of the series is as good as the pilot ABC has gotten a huge success on their hands!

The cast that has been assembled for Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital is really amazing. As I have mentioned earlier Bruce Davison is perfect as Dr. "Steg" Stegman but Andrew McCarthy (Dr. Hook), Dian Ladd (Sally Druse) and Ed Begley (Dr. Jesse James) are all equally perfect for their roles. Two other characters that I'm really happy that King kept in his version are Abel and Christa who both have Down Syndrome and work in the hospitals kitchen. They know more then you would think and guide the viewers about what is happening at the hospital.

The pilot is 73 minutes without the commercial and after you have seen it you'll stay clear of ant-eaters and your going to walk around doing the Kingdom Hospital handshake. Just make a fist of your hand, put the thumb in you mouth and blow. At the same time you put your pinky in the air…well, you'll understand what I mean on March 3.

Lilja's final words about Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital - the pilot:

Personally I think this is probably the best pilot I have ever seen. It's clearly the best thing King has written for TV to date. Please do yourself the favor of watching it on March 3. The only thing you will have a problem with is that you have to wait a week to see the next episode. This is TV history in the making, mark my words!

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