Every streaming service needs a breakout series.
If the first six episodes are any indication, Kin should be the breakout series for AMC+, and it’s all thanks to the superb writing, acting, and directing.
Coming from Peter McKenna (The Last Kingdom) and Ciaran Donnelly (Altered Carbon), Kin focuses on one of the biggest crime families in Dublin, the Kinsellas, and how they process the loss of one of their own.
The beauty of a series like Kin is that none of the characters are guaranteed safety. Instead, the culture of crime families at war ensures that a devastating turn of events could change everything on a dime.
Charlie Cox (Daredevil) plays Michael Kinsella, a man who gets out of prison after several years and is slowly pulled back into his old ways.
After watching Cox on Daredevil, I can say that Michael is the polar opposite of Matt Murdock, and it’s nice to see him sinking his teeth into such a multi-faceted character.
This isn’t a small family, and it’s got layers we haven’t even begun to peel away in the early episodes. The closest family member is Jimmy (Gang of London’s Emmett Scanlan), Michael’s older brother and a significant influence on him.
While Michael has a softer edge, Jimmy is a more hardened individual who knows what has to be done to win the war, even if he’s apprehensive of some of the plans.
Sam Keeley rounds out the brothers as Eric ‘Viking,’ who some might perceive as the black sheep of the family, but he’s the type of character who thinks first and asks questions later, which in turn dials up the drama considerably.
Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones) also gets some great material to work with as Frank, aka the person who calls the shots on all of the family’s outlandish missions.
Clare Dunne (Spider-Man: Far From Home) is the family matriarch Amanda, and you’ll appreciate her no-nonsense approach to avenging a death in the family.
Dunne steals every single scene she’s in. That’s not a knock on the other actors. Amanda has a character arc that actors dream of. But the series oozes talent, both on-screen and off, and as a result, Kin is an unexpected drama worth every minute you spend watching.
Maria Doyle Kennedy (Outlander) plays Birdie, Frank’s sister and another big part of the family.
Ciarán Hinds (Game of Thrones) plays Eamonn Cunningham, the show’s big villain in the initial episodes, and, damn, he plays this role to perfection.
All shows that deal with subject matters like Kin need a convincing villain, and Hinds delivers an ice-cold performance as a man who has let power go to his head.
The crucial element of Kin, though, is the family at the wheel, and the show does a masterful job making these imperfect characters into a believable family.
They’ll laugh and joke with one another in one scene and then plot another character’s downfall in the next. As cold as it sounds, the sacrifices simmer beneath the surface, and every character is like a time bomb waiting to explode.
Kin Season 1 Episode 1 is a perfect introduction into the world, and by the end of the six episodes screened for critics, I was so enthralled that I knew I wouldn’t be able to shake what I’d seen and would be waiting urgently to see what comes next.
If the mark of a good show is that it keeps you wanting more, then Kin accomplishes that goal.
While Kin has many flawed characters, each of them has purpose. They don’t feel like mere plot devices but an essential part of the whole family. At any time, one misstep could be detrimental to them all.
If the writing remains as impressive in the final episodes of Kin Season 1, don’t be surprised if the series becomes a major player in awards season and secures itself a spot on many best-of lists at the end of the year.
It’s rare for a show to be perfect from the jump, but there’s something special about Kin. You’ll be drawn to the characters and the world they live in immediately, and that kind of immersion in this new world is an advantage for the show, the network, and the viewers.
Kin premieres on September 9 on AMC+
Check out the trailer below. Scroll below the trailer for our interviews with the cast, and return on Thursday for a full review of the series premiere.