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Fact: There’s way more to Kingdom than just shirtless Nick Jonas

DirecTV debuted Kingdom on its Audience Network, and we went to work researching whether it was worth watching for more than a chance to see some shirtless Nick Jonas.

From everything I saw about this new series, I have to be honest and say I didn’t necessarily think it was the kind of show I would like. But I’m nothing if not willing to try new things so I gave it a shot and, boy, am I glad I did.

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More than just eye candy

Does Kingdom have a lot of lovely shirtless men in it and a few gorgeous ladies as well? Why yes, it does. But beyond the oodles of yumminess to behold, there is a lot of heart and soul as well. The story follows a group of people centered on an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighting club, and it’s the way their lives interact and the complexities of the relationships that make it entertaining.

The characters are deep

There are so many wonderful characters, it’s hard to know where to begin when talking about them. I suppose I’ll start with the one person most of my readers are interested in and say that Nick Jonas’ character was one of my favorites, which I did not expect at all. He plays a guy named Nate, who is just doing his best in every situation, but keeps getting dealt some nasty cards.

Nate’s dad is Alvey (Frank Grillo), who owns the club and is everyone’s coach. He’s not afraid to scream at people, but underneath all the yelling and cursing, you know he does it with love. Right off the bat, I also liked Alvey’s girlfriend Linda (Kiele Sanchez) because she held her own quite nicely with all the boys.

Another favorite character of mine was Nate’s brother (and Alvey’s other son), Jay (Jonathan Tucker). He’s the screw-up of the family (though they used a much more colorful, four-letter word to describe him) and the one that you might be tempted to dislike at first, but I promise there are layers there you won’t expect.

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Stick around for the story

Like I said above, the story line is intricate and incredibly layered. Just when you think you understand the characters and who they are, another new detail is revealed that gives more depth to another member of the group or another part of the story.

Between all the fights and sex (of which there is a lot, and all of it is fairly graphic), there are moments that might just bring you close to tears. Once such moment involved the introduction of a family member not seen until near the end of the episode, and though it was a very short scene, it nearly broke my heart. And don’t even get me started on the last scene of the episode because to call it a cliffhanger would be the understatement of the century.

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Kingdom airs Wednesday nights on the Audience Network on DirecTV.

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