The Graveyard: Digging up Stephen King’s ‘Kingdom Hospital’


It’s been over 13 years since the quirky horror-drama series ‘Kingdom Hospital’ aired. We at 1428 Elm are going to take you back to this great, but forgotten, series.

“Welcome to the Kingdom”


Stephen King, one of the most recognized names in both the horror and literary world, has always been known (and praised) for his original characters and creations. With amazing titles like “The Shining”, “IT”, and the “Dark Tower” series, every book he writes is seemingly a masterpiece. So it may surprise you to know that Kingdom Hospital, also known as The Kingdom, originated from Writer/Director Lars von Trier.

Von Trier created and released the series Riget in his native Denmark back in 1994, which was then edited into a five-hour film for distribution in the UK and the United States. While browsing a video store during the production of the 1997 television adaptation of The Shining, King and his producer Mark Carliner stumbled across the 5 hour US release of Riget and set out to obtain the rights to the property for US production.

Trouble Ahead?

Unfortunately for King, the rights to the original Danish TV series had been taken up by Columbia Pictures. The US production company intended to take Riget and condense it down into a two-hour theatrical movie. It took five years for Columbia to eventually realize they couldn’t condense the work that they had purchased into a 2 hour film.

So, Stephen King swooped in to purchase the rights in exchange for the rights to his novella known as “Secret Window, Secret Garden”, which went on to become 2004’s Secret Window, starring Johnny Depp.

                                                                           “Staff Goals”


More from Stephen King

When producing the American TV series, King kept the majority of the story elements and dark humor present from the original Danish show. He did add the character Peter Rickman, the patient who’s in a coma after being ran over (like how King was by a minivan in real life), as one of the main characters who discovers the past and the future of “The Kingdom”. King also changed the location of the hospital to a King staple, Maine.

Also, the opening credits of

Kingdom Hospital

, which features the song “Worry About You” by American band


, is still one of the best visual/musical combinations put on film. Though, it isn’t really surprising considering it was nominated for an Emmy Award when the show initially aired.


Although Kingdom Hospital was initially successful after the first episode aired, becoming ABC’s highest rated drama that year, the interest from viewers faded and ratings declined. There was interest in a second season after fans began expressing a desire for more from The Kingdom. King himself also stated in interviews that the finished production was “the thing I like best out of all the things I’ve done”. He even went as far as to storyboard what would have been the second series, but as of 2017, nothing has come to pass.


Hopefully with the release of IT and The Dark Tower this year, the buzz will spark new fans to go and discover more of Mr. King’s material, leading to this series being potentially rediscovered. With TV shows like The X-Files and Twin Peaks proving that you can successfully revive an old property and make it work, I’m hoping we may one day see a second season or even take a reboot.

The series is still available to purchase on DVD from Amazon UK for £6.89 and Amazon US for $18.97. For any UK readers of the site, I urge you to give this series a chance, and for Just under £7 it’s a no-brainier. You might  just fall in love with it.

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So there we have it. Will you be checking into this series any time soon? If you do, just make sure you check out.

Fan of Stephen King? Remember ‘Kingdom Hospital’? Let the other King Kids know what you think in the comment section below.