Great things don’t last. If anyone knows this lesson well, it’s the diehard fans of Byron Balasco’s “Kingdom,” the MMA show that lit up Netflix last July with a newfound popularity for the previously-DirecTV-owned cult hit television series.
It didn’t take long for the show to gain a huge following all around the world. Conversations about a possible fourth season (the show totaled three official seasons and 40 episodes) started a minute after someone hit PLAY on the pilot episode, creating a newfound adoration for the drama series. That’s something any fan of the show or curious television show lover should now take under advisement. On Wednesday, it was announced that the streaming service giant would be pulling the show from its platform on May 1. You got a little over five weeks to finish a masterpiece.
And that’s initially what bugged me about this drop. Why now? Why after just ten months? Did they really toss Balasco’s show a minor league/less than a year contract? A few weeks ago, the show’s star, Frank Grillo, shot down a few hopes about another season while giving hope to the possibility of a movie finale. Balasco answered Netflix’s dismissal with a hopeful tone, hinting that a new home for the series would be found.
The blue slash was where Netflix placed their advertisement during their push last summer for the show. Since they don’t make their ratings available, one can only speculate how well “Kingdom” did, but all one has to do is check out the uber-passionate Facebook group that is marching towards 10,000 members this spring. That’s 10k in less than seven months. If there’s eyeballs on a show, it’s never truly dead.
But how many times exactly will a great show have to be reborn?! What would it cost Netflix for another year lease for a show that has broadened their fanbase even more and brought savior credibility from the MMA world? If you couldn’t already tell, I am mad and will not hide my dismay over a poor release. A platform that throws money around like I do steak fries axing “Kingdom” just pisses me off. Balasco is honorable in his response and that speaks to the level of person he is and someone who has fought for every dollar in his creative career-but I was taken aback by the news.
I don’t think it’s over though. Keep the facts in sight and maintain the passion. If the author of the breaking news article is correct in his prediction, the show could be picked up by HBO Max, which is gaining popularity status in the streaming arena. HBO’s owner, Time Warner, has a wide media content reach and that includes Warner Brothers television units and their assets. “Kingdom” was originally a DirecTV original and then an AT&T original on the now-dead Audience Network, which could put it in TW’s market. Acquire it already! That way, my two favorite shows of all time will be in the same spot: “Banshee” included.
Do I think the probability of a movie is still possible? Very much so, because of all the streaming service options for Balasco and company. Netflix isn’t off the table either. I could see them funding the movie and when it comes out, they bring back the episodes as well. Or HBO Max greenlights it and puts it there. Hulo Original, Paramount Network, and even possibly a UFC channel could go big and grab the rights. Imagine Dana White saying, “I have the money for your movie, Byron, go do it right!” Anything is possible and the creator wouldn’t mention a new home if he didn’t think it was possible.
All we have now is another reason to binge the show again. For new faces in the gym, get this one to the ground as soon as you can. April 30 is the official last day to watch “Kingdom” on Netflix. As Mac Sullivan Brandt would say, show some self-respect and go watch it. 40 episodes in 35 days. Enjoy and keep the faith, Kingdomites!
At the very least, give us the Jay Kulina spin-off with Jonathan Tucker that we all deserve.