Kings of Napa mashup
Credit: Christos Kalohoridis /Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (3); Jennifer Cooper

Where’s Victoria Rowell when you need her? 

A primetime sudser set on a California vineyard? For a whole lot of soap fans, those words summon up images of the bickering Channing clan who were forever waging war over the future of Falcon Crest. But OWN-TV put their own spin on that particular tale with Tuesday night’s launch of The Kings of Napa.

The premise: After King family patriarch Reginald dies of a heart attack, his dysfunctional family is left to pick up the pieces… and deal with the secrets he left behind. Front-and-center is daughter August, who winds up in charge of the family’s wine business after an extremely contentious will reading. Her chief nemesis? Brother Dana, who believes his position as the company’s longtime CFO makes him better qualified to navigate the difficult road ahead.

That road becomes a whole lot bumpier when it’s revealed that Reginald had an affair with his sister-in-law… and that August’s cousin/BFF Bridget is actually her sister. Oh, and did I mention that Bridget’s mom once loaned Reginald $10 million… and she’d like it back now, please and thank you.

Even as the Kings deal with this unexpected branch of the family tree, August is warned that her beloved dad wasn’t who he seemed to be… only to seconds later find out just how true that is when she receives an anonymous call from a blackmailer insisting she pick up making payments where Reginald left off!

Kings of Napa -- Ep.101 - "The Kings of Napa" -- Photo Credit: Christos Kalohoridis / 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Above:For some reason, August wound up chatting with her new sibling in an outfit from the Laura Ingalls Wilder collection.

Credit: Christos Kalohoridis / 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Napa‘s opening hour was quick to throw viewers into the middle of the drama. Within 15 minutes we’d been introduced to nearly a dozen characters and watched Reginald drop dead. Only a few scenes later, the entire family found out about the secrets he’d been keeping.

But is Napa worth checking out? The show definitely has potential, and the second episode — airing Tuesday, January 18th, at 8 p.m. — is even more entertaining than the pilot. The serial is, however, lacking star power. A primetime soap such as this one all but cries out for a strong, compelling vixen who can stir up trouble while looking like a million bucks. Think Joan Collins’ Alexis on Dynasty or, more recently, Angela Robinson’s wonderfully bitchy Veronica on OWN’s recently-concluded The Haves and the Have Nots. It’s real easy to imagine Victoria Rowell (ex-Dru, The Young and the Restless) strutting in as the owner of a rival vineyard looking to become queen of the King’s empire.

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While I can’t say Napa will be in my head like a too-much-wine hangover come morning, it’s certainly compelling enough that I’ll come back next week for another round.

So what about you, soap fans? Did you check out the new series… and if so, what did you think? Hit the comment section with your own review, then join us in remembering one of the greatest primetime soaps of all time, Knots Landing, with the photo gallery below that’ll take you right back to the drama-filled cul-de-sac.