The History Channel’s The Bible is a 10-hour, five-part miniseries that gives the most popular stories of the titular book the theatrical treatment. From Noah’s Ark to the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ and the book of Revelations, The Bible (available on DVD April 2) seeks to give audiences insight into the world we’ve glimpsed in the pages of the Holy Bible.
The Bible covers such stories as the end of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham and his sons, Moses and the captive Hebrews, Samuel’s pick of Saul the king who disobeyed God, David killing Goliath then his rise from shepherd boy to king, Samson and Delilah, Daniel in the lion’s den, and the birth and baptism of Jesus Christ.
Executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (who does double duty as Mary, the mother of Christ), set out to produce the “most important project” of their careers. It started when Burnett and Downey (who are married) were watching The Ten Commandments after not seeing it since childhood.
The Bible is Burnett’s first scripted television series. He is more known for being the producer of such reality shows as Shark Tank, Survivor and The Voice. Many people associate Downey with her role as Monica, an angel on the former television series Touched by an Angel.
The Bible also has a team of writers (including Richard Bedser, Nic Young, Christopher Spencer, Colin Swash, Alexander Marengo) and directors (including Crispin Reece, Tony Mitchell, and Spencer) who have put forth their best effort to keep as close to the biblical stories as possible.
That said, there were some notable tweaks, most likely for the sake of time and budget. Plot points are sped up or even deleted for continuity purposes.
That does not detract from the overall experience that is The Bible. For this child of a minister who faithfully attended church every Sunday, it’s great to see characters from the pages of the good book come to life. The computer-generated imagery isn’t too bad either.
The best part of this miniseries is that it encourages one’s own research, and gives insight into stories that have confused people through the years.
The stories told aren’t the only great things about The Bible. When it comes to many television series and films set in ancient times, the actors and crew usually hail from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, and tend to not be of African descent.
Not so with The Bible. The producers have seen fit to cast unknown London theatre actors of various ethnicities. Keith David narrates the entire series in his soothing baritone. Samson is awesomely well played by Nonso Anozie, a burly black Brit. Many will recognize him from his roles in Game of Thrones and the Jason Momoa version of Conan.
This kind of casting is how it should be. Most popular historical shows have practically no people of color, as if Africans didn’t exist around the world until 1935. It’s nice to see a grand sampling of the world in which we live today and back then.
The story of the Jews being driven out of Jerusalem to Babylonia, and their release to return to their homeland, is quite moving and inspirational.
This particular story uses the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace and Daniel in the lion’s den to remind its audience to always keep the faith despite adversity and grave danger.
The same is true for the entire series. If Burnett and Downey set out to make an inspirational tribute to the Bible and Christianity as a whole, they have succeeded. It’s hard to even listen to those who would say that the Lord doesn’t exist after watching such an affecting piece of work.