REVIEW – THE KINGFISH DIRECTED BY SAINT MARTIN AND TAB EDWARDS

“The Kingfish” is a T.V. series pilot about the Saturday adventures and exploits of three savvy, smart, Philadelphia high-school friends who must use their smarts and a bit of luck to get out of a series of predicaments.

Directed by Saint Martin and Tab Edwards, The Kingfish is a television pilot that stars Xavier Edwards, Taylor Myrick, Britt Starghill, Jordan Webber, Mckayla Mckelvie and others. The adventure comedy sees three Philadelphia teens stuck in a series of conundrums.  

Xavier Edwards, Britt Starghill and Taylor Myrick are X, Flip and Bobby; three teens who want to head to North Philly to take into possession a mysterious package. However, in their journey, they will run into suspicious characters who also have an eye on this package. Chases, romance and shenanigans ensue as the trio try to outsmart every challenge that comes their way.

Taking a cue from several teen shows of the past and present, this pilot of The Kingfish is every bit as entertaining, fun and clever as the audience expects it to be. The script wastes no time in introducing the three main characters two of whom are playing video games whilst the other is busy devouring mathematics theories. A random thought occurs and off the trio goes in search of an adventure. However, they are soon stopped in their tracks by a street bully and this is where the street smarts of the trio kick in. They not only successfully force the bully to back down, they do so in style.


However, their quest to attain the bag has further hiccups in store with several different individuals in pursuit of the same contents. Amongst all this chaos, the trio’s future romantic interests are also introduced providing further ethos to their respective characters.

The best thing about the pilot is the central mystery of what is inside the bag. The writers cleverly fool the audience into believing that what the trio is out to get is a bag of contraband substances (possibly drugs). This is supported by the clandestine nature of the deals undertaken to get the package as well as the suspicions that the package attracts from several unsavoury elements that roam the streets. However, the reality turns out to be something completely different as the writers successfully subvert expectations. Not only is the end reveal hilarious but it speaks to the narrative prowess of the writers that they were able to create a mystery box around which rotates the entire premise of the episode. Taking a look at other aspects of the script and story, it is made clear that the writers knew what they were doing.

In the acting department, the three leads; Xavier Edwards, Britt Starghill and Taylor Myrick all do a wonderful job of bringing their characters to life. Tapping into their youthful charisma, the trio are totally believable as a gang of teens who use wit, humour and sharp thinking to get ahead of every possible obstacle in life. The villainous characters of Keron Morton, Omar Long and Ital Tha Ruffian are equally impressive and provide significant competition to the protagonists during the course of the story. Jordan Webber as Cupcake shines in her breakout role. All in all, each character is brought to life eccentrically by their respective actors and the result is a story that feels well casted and well acted.

Taylor Myrick, Britt Starghill, Mckayla Mckelvie, Ariel Sole Grinnage, Jordan Webber, and Xavier Edwards in The Kingfish

For an 18 minute pilot, the pacing and narrative momentum of The Kingfish are on point. Tab Edwards does a nice job of introducing the three misfits and as they are plunged into their shenanigan filled world, the audience cannot help but identify with them. Each of the trio has his own personality and inclinations and it is this synergy of different dynamics that works well in the context provided. It is rare to see the nerd and the gamer work together so flawlessly but here in the pilot, it works and does so spectacularly. Equally impressive is Shareef Robinson and Kareem Tilghman’s cinematography.

The duo do a nice job of framing the action and the story well and the vibrant colour palette used brings the light hearted nature of the pilot to screen. As a television pilot, The Kingfish does a nice job of laying the groundwork for further adventures of X, Flip and Bobby. The three leads are given proper backgrounds, personalities and romantic challenges that further episodes can build upon in the future. The pilot has wit, action and a sense of youthful adventure that if further utilised in the future, can make the show both popular amongst teens and successful in weekly ratings. It is clear that the adventures of X, Flip and Bobby are only just beginning and we can expect to see them mired in more complicated conundrums in the near future.

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