One of DirecTV’s newest series, Kingdom, is a gritty family drama that follows the underground life of mixed martial artists. Coach Alvey Kulina (Frank Grillo) of Navy St. MMA dedicates himself to his gym and more specifically, his fighters.

On that roster are his sons Nate (Nick Jonas), and Jay (Jonathan Tucker), as well Ryan Wheeler (Matt Lauria) who was recently released from a 5 year jail sentence. Ryan also happens to be the ex-fiancé of Lisa, Alvey’s girlfriend of two years.

I will be completely honest in saying that I secretly wanted to hate this show. Being only slightly older than the Jonas Brothers loving generation, I was subjected to a lot more “Jo Bros” than I ever wanted to experience.

But episode one, aptly named “Set Yourself On Fire”, is a complex, intense, and altogether captivating hour of television. The show has definite potential to be a hit.

Kingdom gets to the raw and dirtiest of human emotion. It explores the dark underside that – although less prominent than in the earlier years – still exists in mixed martial arts.

In the three days leading up to one of the biggest fights of his life, Nate is dealing with his drug-addicted brother’s crazy shenanigans. The first scene we see Jay, he is in Nate’s bed with a random woman while their house is filled with stoners and other debauchers.

The first episode is gripping and addictive. Kingdom is packed full of violence, tension, drugs, sex, and realistic conflict. The characters, and their stories, are believable. Even the fights are realistic – or about as realistic as you can expect from a fake fight.

And having Cub Swanson play Nate’s opponent in the first episode? Simply genius!

As a side note, I have to admit I am impressed with Nick Jonas’s performance in this show. He has clearly put a lot of time and energy into real martial arts training to prepare for the show. It makes for believable training sequences and realistic interactions.

Conclusion: 10/10, would definitely recommend!

About The Author

Quincy Mutter
Staff Writer

Quincy Mutter is a combat sports junkie and amateur mixed martial artist out of Niagara, Ontario. She fell in love with MMA while watching Demian Maia fight when she was 12 years old, and began training at 15. In addition to writing for The MMA Corner, Quincy is an administrator for the MMA Daily Facebook page and runs several of her own blogs.