Thus far, the show appears to take too many liberties with the text to satisfy the most biblically-minded of viewers; to be too dark and violent for ordinary evangelicals drawn by Downey’s Touched by an Angel pedigree; to be too lacking in coherent narrative and stilted in script to appeal to those who just want good entertainment; and to be too sketchy in history and profundity to match the hopes of church leaders who want the miniseries to become the next cultural sensation.
But I do think the series certainly will appeal to the TV cheeseheads out there, those who soak up entertainingly unsuccessful filmed epics. And so, the epic of the Bible remains the greatest story never sold, at least on film, but watching the repeated attempts is both historically edifying and emotionally irresistible.
Count me among the cheeseheads, Paul. I thought the opening episode was pretty good, or at least it wasn’t terrible. Granted, there were too many commercials for Christianmingle.com, the Bible app, The Vikings, and the Roman Catholic Church, but I thought Mark Burnett and Roma Downey did a decent job of capturing the first five books of the Old Testament in two hours. (I thought some coverage of Jacob and Esau or Joseph would have made the episode even more compelling, but I don’t think evangelical viewers would have been happy with a Potiphar’s wife scene).
I watched it with my family over a couple of pizzas. Everyone was engaged and full of questions and comments during the commercials. For example, we had a great conversation about all of the violence in the Old Testament.
If the mini-series causes my kids to raise questions about the Bible and has enough drama and entertainment value to keep them interested for two hours, I am all for it. If Burnett and Downey can bring the story of the Bible and its life-changing message to a new generation by creating a television mini-series, then I think that is a good thing.
I am looking forward to next week.