I finished watching the History Channel’s bible series today and I found it to be really enjoyable, so I decided to do a review on it. It was made extremely well; there was great attention to detail. The characters and their portrayals were very realistic, so I was able to believe to story and empathise with the characters. The story was fiddled with quite a bit, so some of the stories are unrecognisable at some points within the series. The series is not yet out the UK, but will be coming over here to Channel 5 , in autumn 2013, so look forward to that.
The Wikipedia description of the series
The Bible is a television miniseries based on the Bible. It is produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett and was broadcast weekly between March 3 and March 31, 2013 on History. Burnett, best known for producing prime-time hit reality shows, considers the scripted 10-hour series to be the “most important” project he has undertaken. The project was conceived by Burnett and Downey, who are married, after watching Cecil B. DeMille’s version of The Ten Commandments for the first time since childhood.
The series is Mark Burnett’s first scripted project. In addition to Burnett and Downey, executive producers include Richard Bedser and History’s Dirk Hoogstra and Julian P. Hobbs. The first episode of the mini-series was seen by 13.1 million viewers, the largest cable television audience of 2013 to date. The second installment continued “to deliver blockbuster ratings” for the network, attracting 10.8 million viewers. The third installment on March 17, 2013 was once again the No. 1 show on all of Sunday night television with 10.9 million total viewers. In addition, the series garnered 4.2 million adults 25–54 and 3.5 million adults 18–49. In total, with subsequent airings, ‘The Bible’ has been seen by more than 95 million viewers.
The attention to detail was really amazing. The picture they were able to create, from the beginning, right up to the end was excellent. I enjoyed watching how the directors and producers decide to portray the characters
I really enjoyed that the directors uses people of all nationalities to portray the characters and it was nice to see a few British actors who were recognisable (UK in the house!).
The stories used within the series were adapted for screen play and so the directors took creative license, sometimes altering the stories a great deal from the original, which I think is a dangerous thing to do. As a Christian, I was able to watch the series and decide which parts was true and which parts had been “played with”. But I feel if someone who was not a Christian came along to watch the series, they would have a wrong idea of the stories. I learnt that the directors went to great lengths to ensure to have their scripts checked by people, who should know the stories well enough. In light of that, I must admit it is worrying that pastors looked at some the stories and said they were OK.
It was also extremely graphic in places. I do understand that this was how things were, and it did help to make things more real. The series had me jumping, squirming and almost turning my head in places (couldn’t miss the good bits though). It just means it may be unsuitable for people who are somewhat squeamish or for very young children.
I also feel the series also skipped some important and pivotal stories in the bible itself, like the story of Jacob and Esau, the story of Joseph, the story of Solomon. I do however understand the difficult of trying to condense the whole bible into 10 episodes
Any Favourite Parts
There are a few but I especially liked that Samson had dreadlocks and was black. The way the character of Samson looked can and is always debated, but it was nice to see a different portrayal of him to what we are usually presented with.
I will give the Bible series a 7/10. I would have scored it higher, but I just don’t agree with playing with Bible stories to the extent that they did. Overall, I would recommend you to watch it (if you can), it’s very engaging, just make sure you read your bible before and after!
I’ve lifted the main bits that were fiddled with from Wikipedia, though I did notice more myself
1.Noah’s sons are depicted as boys in the series instead of grown, married men(Gen 7:13)
2.Noah’s ark was shown with many windows, when in the Bible the ark only had one window (Gen 6:16, 8:6)
3.In the printed Bible, the angelic visitors were approached by Lot who insisted that they stay with him. Then they feasted with Lot in his home. The series shows the angels approaching Lot, begging for help. No hospitality is extended to them.(Gen 19:1-5)
4.The printed Bible describes a male mob gathered outside of Lot’s home wanting to have intercourse with his two angelic visitors. The series ignores this and gives the viewer no indication that homosexuality was even practiced in Sodom (Gen 19:1-5)
5.At the destruction of Sodom, the series inaccurately shows the angels slaughtering some of the city’s inhabitants. Critics refer to these as “Ninja Angels”. This is not in the Bible. (Gen 19:1-17)
(check the Ninja Angels though)
6.The series shows Abraham traveling with Isaac, a very short distance to the place where he was to sacrifice his son. In the Bible it is a three day journey and the two are accompanied by a donkey and two attendants. (Gen 22:1-4)
7.The series inaccurately shows Sarah running after Abraham once she realizes he is going to sacrifice Isaac. This is not in the Bible.(Gen 22:1-19)
8.In the Binding of Isaac, the printed Bible describes a ram (adult) caught by its horns in a thicket, not a juvenile lamb caught by its leg (Gen 22:13)
9.After David’s affair with Bathsheba and the killing of Uriah the Hittite, he is confronted by Nathan. The series shows David as resistant or even indignant, where in the printed Bible David simply admits his guilt and later is believed to have written Psalm 51 in response which begs forgiveness from God (2 Sam 12:13, Ps 51)
10.When the Babylonians destroy Jerusalem, Jeremiah is depicted as escaping unnoticed by the invaders. In the print Bible Jeremiah is captured, bound in chains and later released (Jer 40:1)
11.The show depicts Daniel and his three compatriots being captured during the siege, when in fact, they were deported more than a decade before Jerusalem’s destruction (Daniel 1; 2 Kings 24:10-16)
12.When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue, the TV series shows them tied up and a fire lit under them. However, in the Holy Bible, the king orders the three thrown into a furnace already heated seven times hotter than usual, so hot that the “strong soldiers” who threw them in where killed by the heat and flames while doing so. (Daniel 3)
13.The TV series depicts the prophet Isaiah as a contemporary of Daniel during the Babylonian exile. This becomes problematic when Isaiah makes the prophecy that Cyrus the Persian would release the captives after a period of time. In the written Bible, Isaiah made this prophecy 150 years before Cyrus was born, 180 years before Cyrus performed any of these feats (and he did, eventually, perform them all), and 80 years before the Jews were taken into exile.The real Bible’s version is much more miraculous. (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1; and 45:13).
14.It was Darius the Mede, not Cyrus the Persian who had Daniel thrown into the lions den(Dan 5:31-6:1, 6:16)
15.For the Nativity, the wise men are depicted as visiting the baby Jesus as a newborn, at the same time as the shepherds, where as the Bible suggests the wise men came about two years later (Mat 2:9, 2:16)
16.In the Bible account of the Temptation, the Devil took Jesus to a pinnacle of the temple when he tempted Jesus to throw himself down, not a high mountain. It was on a mountain that the Devil tempted Jesus to worship him. (Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13)
Last Bit (I promise)
The character of satan in the series has been said to look like U.S President Obama (Uh oh). Decide for yourself