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The Bible (2013): K-Tel Presents God's Greatest Hits


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#1

redshirtx

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 1:51 PM

There doesn't appear to be a proper thread about this off a couple of cursory checks, soooo...

The Bible is the History Channel's five-part, ten-hour miniseries, conceived by husband and wife producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. Or, as the press release proclaims:

From Genesis to Revelation, HISTORY will illuminate the Bible, re-telling the stories as they unfold and revealing new insights into these iconic characters in context of the Bible. The series will feature some of the most famous stories ever written from Noah’s Ark and the Exodus to Daniel in the Lion’s Den to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

“The Bible is a sacred text that continues to challenge and inspire,” said Mark Burnett. “We’ve been working on this project for the past two years and are deeply humbled to be given this once in a generation opportunity to breathe new visual life into the Bible’s profound stories. The Bible gives meaning and purpose to billions of people around the world, and sparks the curiosity of millions more.”


I can't hate on a miniseries nowadays, endangered species that it is--let alone one with a score by no less than Hans Zimmer and narrated by current Voice Of Authority Keith David. That said, if the first part (which aired last week and will air again tonight before the second part) is an accurate gauge of the whole, the ambitious scope of the production far outstrips its grasp; it takes a greatest-hits/FF>> approach to events, which screws with their dramatic impact (the first part, for instance, opened with Noah on the Ark during the Flood relating the Seven Days of Creation and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden). And the occasional low/no-budget moments trip it up, as do some...interesting...creative spins on things. Such as an angel busting out slo-mo Trinity skills on suckers in Sodom, or the burning bush the size of a Mack truck, or how most of Moses confronting Rameses and the Ten Plagues of Egypt ends up as a bizarrely (and unintentionally funny, IMO--I'm going to hell) sort of montage.

OTOH, there was at least one fairly decent bit in Part One: Abraham's story, although it was handled in a slightly soapy fashion in places (Abraham's wife Sarah encourages him to sleep with Hagar, which resulted in Ishmael--and Sarah and Hagar bitchface each other up until Hagar's exit later in the show), was the one thing they largely left to proceed at a modest pace. And the actors, largely unknowns in North America, are uniformly okay--not great, except perhaps the folks portraying Abraham and Sarah and Moses, but okay.

The astonishing part is that in spite of its shortcomings Part One scored insane ratings for History Channel. Maybe folks were just that tired of Pawn Stars, I don't know...

#2

maatkare

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 4:43 PM

Scottish Noah & no Joseph and his coat were bummers out of the gate. Production looks good, but kind of funny how the producers were claiming 'authenticity' yet have on of the most Aryan Bible casts I've seen in a while, except of course for the Moroccan extras. (yes, I did see that upcoming Samson will be black, and am still a bit perplexed by the asian kung fu angel) I do respect people's love for seeing the Bible dramatized, but as with most depictions it almost drowns itself in reverence. I know they're going for families, but I'd love a Bible series with the R rated stuff--the show conveniently left out Lot's daughter's getting him drunk so he'd impregnate them just for starters. (We'll see if we get Absalom having sex with his dad's concubines on the roof, but I doubt it) What I always find interesting about faith-based projects with huge audiences is that they're so heavily promoted by churches, etc.--could they not get those audiences otherwise based purely on the show's dramatic merits? I suspect congregations were heavily urged to watch to garner the high ratings more than enjoy the drama.

#3

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 6:23 PM

The best part of this miniseries are the commercial touting "the book based off the miniseries The Bible" by Roma Downey.

Wouldn't that just be...The Bible? Sans Roma Downey?

#4

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 7:47 PM

The best part of this miniseries are the commercial touting "the book based off the miniseries The Bible" by Roma Downey.

Wouldn't that just be...The Bible? Sans Roma Downey?


Bad grammar, is what it is. Unless they are re-writing The Bible according to this show which would be...problematic.

#5

lutzlady05

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 7:48 PM

maatkare- "am still a bit perplexed by the Asian Kung fu angel". He is Lo, the Angel of The Lord....

#6

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 8:02 PM

still a bit perplexed by the Asian Kung fu angel". He is Lo, the Angel of The Lord

I guess it wasn't the Asian angle but the type of his Kung Fu had a modern cinema style to it

#7

maatkare

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 8:07 PM

He is Lo, the Angel of The Lord....

Ohhh....praise Yahweh I was not drinking my Sunday night brewski...well done, lutzlady05, well done.

#8

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 8:59 PM

Having grown up watching Cecile B. DeMille spectacles, and other Hollywood big budget biblical films, I lowered my expectations. However, I am enjoying the miniseries so far. There are a few things that I wish they had not omitted such as Jacob tricking Esau out of his birthright with their mother's help; Jacob being tricked into marrying one sister after laboring 7 years to marry Rachel; how Jacob came to be called Israel; and as someone else pointed out, Joseph with the multi-colored coat. I was also surprised that the miniseries did not spend more time on the Israelites building a golden calf and worshiping it. Oh, and I'm laughing at Samson being a guy with long dreads!

All in all, though, a pretty good miniseries.

#9

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 10:42 PM

I missed the first thirty minutes or so of Part Two, but I kind of dug Samson as this monstrous black guy with dreads. Sure, he looked like Forest Whitaker in Battlefield Earth, but somehow it worked (and I'm wondering if there's ever been a non-Anglo, non-curly haired Samson portrayed before this).

That said, British Stoner David and Goliath...oh, lord.

And I'm going to give this miniseries props for one rather refreshing thing: nobody's TV-pretty. The closest we've gotten so far have probably been Eve, Delilah and Bathsheba (and maybe the guy who played the older David, who reminds me for some reason of Jurgen Prochnow), but even they're kind of dirty and/or worn and/or wearing some sort of wacky makeup along with everybody else.

#10

maatkare

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 11:01 PM

(and I'm wondering if there's ever been a non-Anglo, non-curly haired Samson portrayed before this).

I doubt it. Just as I don't think a Jewish or even vaguely semetic looking actor has ever played Jesus. BTW, Nonso "Samson" Anozie memorably played Xaro Xhoan Daxos on last season's Game of Thrones. But The DeMille 1949 Samson and Delilah with Victor Mature, Hedy Lamar and a disturbingly hot young Angela Lansbury is much more entertaining and splashy, although tonight's version was quite entertaining.

British Stoner David and Goliath...oh, lord.

Amen. And he'll never top this: Richard Gere's King David Dance But the Books of Samuel are great fun regardless. By the way, if anyone's a podcast fan The Podcast History of Our World is doing the whole story of humanity step by step; if you go to iTunes or Stitcher you can jump in. His telling of Biblical events from a historical perspective is quite well done and entertaining.

Edited by maatkare, Mar 10, 2013 @ 11:05 PM.


#11

maatkare

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 11:01 PM

sorry...double post

Edited by maatkare, Mar 10, 2013 @ 11:05 PM.


#12

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 11:17 PM

Why not just call it The Bible as Christians see it? What's with the lamb substituting for a ram? And Jesus in Abraham's story?

Part two was better though I did laugh out loud when a Philistine asked about the secret of Samson's strength. The guy's enormous, it doesn't look like there needs to be any secret.

A lot of stuff happened but none of it was involving, somehow.

#13

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Posted Mar 10, 2013 @ 11:54 PM

The guy's enormous, it doesn't look like there needs to be any secret.

Hahhh!! Yes, it's that Mediterranean diet...plenty of olive oil, roast goat, a glass of red wine a day and Jehovah's favor, plus Pilates!

#14

angelita100

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Posted Mar 11, 2013 @ 12:20 AM

Damn you are right. These are some ugly ass actors.

#15

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Posted Mar 11, 2013 @ 7:30 AM

Yeah, been looking for a board. Have not seen part two yet, but we also loved the kick butt shogun warrior angel. The other guy with him was good as well. What I hated so far is how witchy they made Sarah and Lott's wife. Did not appreciate the scene of Abraham coming out of Hager's tent holding the flap up for all the world to see. Also laughed at Roma Downey's toot towards writing the Bible.

Cannot wait to see what the ratings were for last night since it had such a wonderful showing last Sunday.

#16

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Posted Mar 11, 2013 @ 8:22 AM

Lot's wife just seemed kind of whiny, if in a practical way ("Your dad wants us to what?"). Sarah, now...she was admittedly the one who told Abraham to be with Hagar if it meant he could have a child (glossed over a bit here now that it occurs to me--he actually married Hagar in the Old Testament, didn't he?), but then she got to see him do the walk of shame from Hagar's tent and his bonding with her later over the son she couldn't give him...I still contend that was handled rather soapily, if lightly so (bitchface!).

These are some ugly ass actors.

I was thinking more "everyday" than full-on "ugly," at least for the name characters (the various extras, now, are certainly largely uglified). Though seeing a mouth full of pearly whites in the odd frumped-up guy or girl is another unintentionally funny aspect of the whole thing.

#17

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Posted Mar 11, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

(glossed over a bit here now that it occurs to me--he actually married Hagar in the Old Testament, didn't he?)


Actually Abraham married Hagar in the Koran. The prophet Mohammed is descended from her. In the Bible she is just Sarah's handmaid.

She is revered in the Islamic faith and acknowledged as a matriarch in all Abrahamic faiths. In mainstream Christianity, she is considered a concubine to Abram


Source: Wikipedia

Why not just call it The Bible as Christians see it? What's with the lamb substituting for a ram? And Jesus in Abraham's story?


Various farm animals are used in the Old Testament for sacrifice. Abel sacrificed a lamb. Even Saul sacrificed a lamb before battle in last night's episode. Jesus got the epithet "Lamb of God" as an allusion to the sacrificial lambs throughout the Old Testament. Also remember the Bible has been translated many times. So either "ram" or "lamb" could be the accurate interpretation. I just think this miniseries is miles better than other interpretations (Passion of the Christ, for example). Any movie/tv show about the Bible with has the biases of the creator, but I think this one is pretty staight forward.

I actually give the creators of this miniseries credit for presenting a not entirely Christian interpretation. For example, the portrayal of Sarah takes some elements from the Koran. In the Bible, she made Abraham send Hagar away because she was jealous. In the miniseries, she also points out Ishmail will inherit as the first son ahead of Isaac. That element is what occurs in the Koran.

I loved that they got a large black man to play Samson. A white guy who never cuts his hair is a little gross. But if you have dreads it's more manageable. And given the part of the world where the Bible takes place, I appreciate the racial diversity on the show.

I didn't like that Uriah and David were friends before David hooked up with Bathsheba. If they where friends, why wasn't he a commander like Joab? The point of the story was David abused his power as king and took everything from a lowly loyal soldier. It loses some impact if he just screws over his buddy.

It's interesting to see which stories get included in the miniseries. It looks like next week is the Babylonian Exile, Daniel, then straight to Jesus.

Edited by havok1980, Mar 11, 2013 @ 10:17 AM.


#18

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Posted Mar 11, 2013 @ 2:13 PM

Hubby and I are watching. On the first night, I turned to him and said, "Huh. Noah was a Scotsman. Who knew?" He cracked up.

#19

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Posted Mar 11, 2013 @ 6:26 PM

Just as I don't think a Jewish or even vaguely semetic looking actor has ever played Jesus.


If I'm remembering right, there was an NBC movie or miniseries called "Jesus" back in 1999. Jeremy Sisto played Jesus. I think I remember him plugging it on Leno, and Leno saying something like, "Aren't you Jewish?" And he said, "Yeah, so was he." The audience loved it.

Anywho, did you see the ratings for episode 1?

Pop Culture’s Most Popular TV Show Is–Brace Yourself–The Bible

This past Sunday the television industry felt the ground shake when the first installment of the History Channel’s five-part miniseries, The Bible, drew a whopping 14.3 million viewers. To put that in perspective, those are higher ratings than American Idol drew on Fox in the same week. Higher ratings than the premiere of Celebrity Apprentice on NBC. And it officially made The Bible the number one scripted cable broadcast of the year.



#20

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Posted Mar 11, 2013 @ 6:42 PM

I haven't seen part 2 yet but just found this thread so I wanted to add my eye roll to the others regarding Kung Fu Angels. I was also disappointed that this seems to be a cleaned up version of the bible where I was kind of expecting a more gritty grown up version. They did not do the part where Lot offers his virgen daughters to the crowd if they'll leave his guests the angels alone for instance. If you stand back and look at the Bible objectively a lot of people do a lot of things that would be pretty gross by today's standards.

Least authentic Jesus in my memory was Max Von Sidow.

#21

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Posted Mar 11, 2013 @ 6:47 PM

I was also disappointed that this seems to be a cleaned up version of the bible where I was kind of expecting a more gritty grown up version

It's about what I was expecting from basic cable. Although yeah, I kinda want to see what HBO could do with the material.

#22

taiko

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Posted Mar 11, 2013 @ 8:20 PM

It's interesting to see which stories get included in the miniseries.

Or what gets cut from the stories they do tell. How much time would have it been used to say King Saul lost other sons in the battles or the armor bearer refused to kill his king?

#23

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Posted Mar 11, 2013 @ 10:26 PM

I'm actually enjoying this mini-series. ITA, it does seem like a clean version. A lot of Lott's story was skipped.

Havok1980, I liked the series take on Samson too.

Sarah & Hagar's story is one from the bible that always gets to me, so I'm happy they at least showed that.

Wondering which parts of the Daniel story they will pick & show next week.

#24

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Posted Mar 15, 2013 @ 8:33 PM

I didn't like that Uriah and David were friends before David hooked up with Bathsheba. If they where friends, why wasn't he a commander like Joab?


Uriah was a Hittite, meaning not an Israelite, so it wouldn't have been seemly for him to command David's army. Plus, Joab was David's nephew.

My favorite part of Part 1 was the scenery chewing by the actor who played Pharaoh. And my favorite part of Part 2 was the gleaming white teeth of young David.

#25

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Posted Mar 15, 2013 @ 9:42 PM

Nice to see a thread. I'm enjoying the series but like some there are parts that are kinda funny/interesting. However I feel as if they have skipped over a lot so is seems a bit choppy.

#26

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Posted Mar 16, 2013 @ 8:00 AM

The jumps between stories have been rather clunky as well, which IMO hasn't helped. Then again, considering how wide some of the jumps have been (Abraham to Moses, for instance), I'm not sure if even including some bridging material other than narration would really mitigate that. I'm wondering how this will affect the New Testament material, since that starts with Part Three tomorrow.

And Part Two's ratings were beyond solid, if not at the Rameses-shouting-No! level of Part One:

The second installment of this five-part mini-series airing at 8-10 p.m. Sundays through Easter — the first foray into scripted drama for “Survivor” creator Burnett — drew 10.8 million viewers, good for number one in its timeslot and number 11 overall for the week.


I have to admit I'm amused by the various pundits puzzling over its success (albeit perhaps a little justified since, unlike Hatfields & McCoys, the cast in this is almost completely unknown in North America).

#27

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Posted Mar 16, 2013 @ 12:37 PM

This is.... this is interesting. LOL

Not interesting bad, because I'm really enjoying it, but not really interesting good either. I really had to laugh/roll my eyes at the Kung Fu Angels in part one. But I had really hoped that they would show some of the dirty/nitty gritty adult stuff. (As people had pointed out, the fact that the nations of Moab and... oh I just forgot it, were birthed from the daughters of Lot, because they got him drunk and raped him)


It would have been something to see the Leah/Rachel/Bilah/Zilpah drah-mah play out or at least see some of Ruth's story. I get they only have ten episodes, but it's like they are focusing all on the most action-y parts of the Bible to speed towards the back 5 which is all going to be Jesus-centred). I for one would have liked to see Ahab/Jezebel (action packed), Athaliah (again, action packed). etc. Should they have gone there. But again, the Romance bits would be nice.

Dreadlocked Samson.... teeheee.

I really did enjoy that they had a scene of Sarah showing some awareness of what could potentially be happening with Isaac. I always complain to my mom (and my uncle who is a minister), that the Bible leaves out all the details in the stories where you'd WANT to have some so I enjoyed that bit. I know nothing is ever really going to top Charleston Heston's "The LORD of HOSTS will do battle for us! BEHOLD HIS MIGHTY HAND" splitting of the Red Sea or Richard Gere's dancing before the Arc. But my little gripe (and this could just be how I've read the Bible) is the focus at the end of this week's episode, where Nathan was pretty much. "HAH! I know!" and David was defiant until Nathan's all "well you're gonna have another kid."

Where's the one lamb/thousands of sheep story? Where's the inclination that David fasted for six days for God to save his son, and begging for forgiveness? That one kind of bugged.

#28

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Posted Mar 17, 2013 @ 9:43 PM

Did Jesus really tell Peter they were going to "change the world?" This series has been barbaric and now it's anachronistic.

#29

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Posted Mar 17, 2013 @ 10:29 PM

"What are we going to do tonight, Jesus?"

"The same thing we do every night, Peter. TRY TO CHANGE THE WORLD!!!"

Uriah was a Hittite, meaning not an Israelite, so it wouldn't have been seemly for him to command David's army. Plus, Joab was David's nephew.


I know Uriah is a Hittite in the Bible, but in the series that wasn't explicit. It just seemed like he was David's good friend who was with him since the beginning. It's seems odd that the king's friend would be a lowly front line soldier.

Did anyone else notice some sexual tension between Mary and Gabriel? No? Just me? Nevermind...

The rotting bodies on the crosses was a bit much... As was the Herod leeching scene... The cannibal scene during the siege was surprisingly graphic.

I was disappointed they left Salome out of the John story. And where was Andrew?

#30

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Posted Mar 17, 2013 @ 10:52 PM

Part Three: welcome to the New Testament, where shit just got real. (I had to do it. I'm sorry.) Discounting Herod as a sort of bitchy brat, this was the first part that IMO was dead serious with no unintentional schlocky deviations (okay, unless you count Daniel being ripped as all get out and John the Baptist rocking the dreads even harder than Samson in Part Two). Children being killed, adults being crucified, the abbreviated siege of Jerusalem and Zedekiah ("I'm useless! I'm fleeing! I'm blind!") and the birth of Jesus...the FF>>> aspect still hurts, but I can't help thinking TPTB probably made a command decision to take more care once they got to the biggest part of this thing.

Did anyone else notice some sexual tension between Mary and Gabriel? No? Just me? Nevermind...

For just a split second...yeah, I think I saw it too. We're going to hell. :)