I keep wanting to call this “Animal Experimentation” for some unknown reason. I just cannot keep “Animal Kingdom” as a title in my brain for more than one second. I suppose it’s that I associate the word “animal” with the dismally bad Zoo, and it stars James Wolk (there was a time that I would watch anything just because of him; even he is not enough of a draw to maintain Zoo). Wolk starred in a good but short-lived show called Political Animals, and somehow all these animals-in-titles and animals run amok (in Zoo) has my “animals” confused.
Animal Kingdom was something I started watching almost by accident and find that it is like a combination of the gone-but-not-forgotten Sons of Anarchy or The Shield (i.e., gangs of pseudo or actual criminals pulling off nefarious “jobs” but always digging a bigger and bigger hole for themselves the more they try to fix the first botch job) and the short-lived Gang Related (in which a detective must play both sides – his loyalty to his gang family and to the law).
I watched the first season and enjoyed it – I find that Ellen Barkin, like a lot of women, is a heck of a lot more interesting now than she ever was when she was young. Barkin plays the family matriarch who is nothing if not a master manipulator. Everything else essentially revolves around her and the things she sets into motion. I’d say watch it or read about it to find out about the plot, but Barkin is the real reason to watch.