film · film review

Kingdom S02E01: New Money (Television Premiere Review)

Finally, one of my most anticipated television shows of the fall season has returned! Kingdom was one of those shows that caught me by surprise last year. I saw a random ad for the show while watching a news channel at my grandmother’s house on a sunday afternoon. It intrigued me and I decided why not? I don’t know about you, but one of the best feelings in the world is when you have zero expectations going into a new television show, or even a book or film, and it ends up blowing you away. I binged season one like no other and I was hooked. Kingdom was all I could talk about and because I couldn’t stop talking about it around my friends and family non-stop, my mother even decided to watch the first season which allowed me to watch it again for the second time. Since then we have both been highly anticipating the return of Kingdom for its second season and that day has finally come!

Now unfortunately, the second season doesn’t premiere in Canada until November 11th, which I find highly unfair. I went through the same thing with Mr. Robot. That being said, this is 2015 and a small issue like later release dates doesn’t necessarily stop those of us in Canada from watching television shows at the same time that they air in other countries…if you catch my drift. I have been waiting too long for this show to come back to wait a whole extra month…sorry not sorry.

The premiere started off fast paced right from the beginning. What better way to start a show about the world of MMA fighting than with a fight! Although it reminded me a lot of an illegal dog fight in a back parking lot of some abandoned building, starting the premiere with an electric and energetic fight scene was the right way to go.

We quickly learn that some time has passed since the finale of the first season and a few things have happened since then. Lisa is pregnant and it isn’t mentioned who the father is until about half way through the episode. Even though she states who the father is, she seemed pretty defensive about it which makes me think that there is more to this story arch that we will be discovering in future episodes. Jay has been struggling to book fights as people keep backing out at the last minute. This seems to be taking a toll on him mentally and he seems to be relying on his personal vices more heavily than usual. Basically, he seems to be slowly losing his mind. Nate continues to hide his sexuality which continues to cause him to bottle up his emotions which can only mean that one day sooner or later, he is going to burst. Ryan has maintained his title, but also seems to be struggling mentally some what and I’m sure there’s more to learn about what happened with him during this mini time jump. Alvy is still trying to keep his gym alive and relevant by training top of the line fighters to represent him and Navy Street. We are also introduced to a new character who I am extremely excited about. Natalie Martinez portrays Alicia Mendez, a.k.a. the first female fighter to be featured on Kingdom. The reason I am excited about this new character is because this is something that just needs to happen, especially now with women like Ronda Rousey killing it in the MMA universe. Kingdom did not hesitate with bringing the audience right back into the lives of the characters that we fell in love within the first season.

That being said, Jonathan Tucker is stealing the show once again. He is such a phenomenal actor and is so underrated it hurts. It’s like he doesn’t even have to try to act, it just comes so naturally to him. I believe every bit of his eccentric attitude and the premiere episode has given us quite a glimpse into what his character might go through throughout the duration of the season. I believe that whatever the future hold for Jay Kulina, Jonathan Tucker will absolutely kill it.

The episode contained a few small fights, one at the start of the episode to set the tone and one towards the end that shows a possible slip in Ryan’s performance as a fighter. Although the fights were small and ultimately uneventful, they provide the audience with a feel for the show and what we can expect from the rest of the season.

Like I stated earlier, Kingdom is one of my favourite shows of all time, definitely within my top 10. It doesn’t get enough promotion and advertising in Canada and I think that is a real shame. Kingdom has become one of those shows that I recommend to everyone. Although the story revolves around a family that heavily participates in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, that is not all that this show is about. It deals with drug addiction, mental health and most of all: the importance of family. Ultimately, there is just so much more to this show than fighting.

Kindom is fast-paced and deals with some heavy material, but it is ridiculously entertaining and well executed. Honestly, if you aren’t watching this show yet, you need to start. I cannot stress this enough!

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