A Review: The Bible Miniseries – First Episodes
I’m back again after having been gone for a mission trip to Guinea, West Africa in the first half of February – if you have an interest in that visit that blog at missionguinea.wordpress.com
Last Sunday night the History Channel premiered their new mini-series on the Bible. A couple of things about that are fairly amazing
- The history channel doesn’t typically do series or shows so for them to do one is a new thing
- For the history channel to do one of their first projects on The Bible is also amazing
Getting the series made has been a passion to two folks who are famous Hollywood veterans….which is also an amazing thing…..two people in Hollywood are willing to stand up for their faith. Folks in Hollywood standing up for their faith isn’t a new thing, there are plenty who do it. Tom Cruise – stands up for scientology, Richard Gere – stands up for Buddhism, Madonna – Kabbalah, Rainn Wilson – Bahai’i but the up front out front Christians are few and far between. The two folks behind this series are Mark Burnett – the man behind Survivor, the Apprentice, and The Voice and his wife Roma Downey – most well known for Touched By An Angel. God has Blessed them for their efforts.
The series itself is a 10 hour series with original showings on Sunday nights in March. Each episode is two hours in length and covers a period of time in the Bible. The first of these episodes was shown last Sunday, March 3, the reminder will continue each Sunday night through March with the final two hours being shown on Sunday March 31st which coincides with Easter. If you missed the first two hours they have been and will be repeated on the History Channel throughout this month.
The first two hours covered Creation through Joshua heading into Jericho – which is a quite a bit of ground in just two hours.
I was impressed with the first episode in the series, you never know what to expect witha series like this. You wonder if the actors will be any good, will the script be well written, how will they handle the special effects needed for this type of project, will the stories be accurate?
I really liked how they started the first episode, it was unique and well done. It opens with Noah on the Ark during the Flood, you hear one of his daughter-in-laws ask him a question and he starts to recount the tale of Creation and moves through the history of what has transpired thus far. What I enjoyed about that was it showed how the stories of the Bible were likely passed down from Adam to Moses; I thought it was a nice touch and great way to think about things.
Because there was so much ground to cover and so many things that could be focused on I can imagine it was hard to determine what stories should be told. For the most part I appreciated the approach the writers, and directors took.
They choose to focus on Abraham – from his time in Ur when God called him to go to the land he would be given, to the Covenant made between he and God, the Battle he waged to free Lot, the birth of Ishmael, the birth of Isaac, God’s testing of Abraham, through to Sodom and Gomorrah.
I enjoyed the story and how they approached Abraham very much with a couple exceptions
- When they showed the story of God testing Abraham they took a bit of poetic license I didn’t appreciate. In the Bible it is clear that Abraham and Isaac traveled for three days to get to the area of Moriah; which is very significant for a couple of reasons
- Three days is important as the story as a whole is a foreshadowing of Christ and the sacrifice God made for our sins. Christ was in the tomb for three days…
- Moriah is important as it is the SAME area and place Christ was crucified
- By glossing over this the amazing symbolism and forethought by God was simply not a part of the story which was unfortnate
- I also was disappointed with part of how they told the story of Sodom and Gomorrah – the story found in Genesis 19 is very clear as to why the cities where to be destroyed and how the people living there treated the Angels who visited. The cities were to be destroyed because of the total depravity and sinful nature of them – this was NOT clear in this showing. In the Bible they explain how the men of the city demanded Lot give the Angels to them so they could rape them. I am not saying they needed to go into some deep dark detail here but God does not destroy things because people are not nice. The level of evil and sin needed to be covered here
I felt the story of Moses was done well. There have been several movies made about Moses and his story it is hard to do something and not be compared to them. I am glad they choose to cover in the manner they did in this series. They had to cover a ton of ground very quickly but I felt they did a good job with the highlights of the story.
They ended the episode with a brief taste of the story of Rahab in Jericho; again a nice touch because any good story teller tries to leave you with a cliff hanger trying to keep you coming back and they did.
Overall I would give this first episode a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
The actors were good, the script was done well, the stories with the noted exceptions were handled with the respect and care they deserved, the special effects where good as well.
If the rest of the series is done this well I would recommend watching it.
You can find out more about the mini-series here: www.history.com/shows/the-bible