'Kingdom' Season 1 - TV Review

"Kingdom" was a British TV series (six episodes of 46 minutes in the first season) starring Stephen Fry as Peter Kingdom, a small town solicitor attempting to deal with the eccentric residents of his town, his crazy half sister, and the recent death of his half brother (who was also his partner).

I like Fry, which is why I picked this up from the library: he's a charming guy, and Peter Kingdom is a good man trying to navigate rather troubled waters. The other major characters are his secretary Gloria Millington (Celia Imrie), his "articled clerk" (which we North Americans can read as "trainee solicitor/lawyer") Lyle Anderson (Karl Davies), and his fantastically annoying (and somewhat mentally ill) half sister Beatrice Kingdom (Hermione Norris) who moves in with him in the first episode. Recurring characters include the very smelly legal gadfly Sidney Snell (Tony Slattery) who's always suing city council, and Peter's very intelligent aunt Auriel (played by the always enjoyable Phyllida Law).

As a whole, the series is quite low key: the stakes are low and the worst problems are family. The sporadic appearance of a threatening gang enforcer to claim money from Peter because of Simon's debts seemed totally out of place. And Beatrice's reversal over the course of the season from total fuck-up to useful part of his life made her somewhat more appealing but was in no way explained. I really liked the main character, the setting, and most of the secondary characters, but I'm going to skip the other seasons because of the significant logical inconsistencies and tonal failures.