Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Gospel According to the History Channel, Review of Part 1

So we watched the first episode of the History Channel's new mini-series, "The Bible"…

…and it wasn't awful.  In fact, perhaps because of low expectations, I kinda liked the first two hours of the series.

Here are my Top 10 random thoughts on the matter:
  1. I was expecting lots of really bad theology.  Other than condensing and a little dramatic license, the first two hours took a very straightforward approach with fairly little compromise.
  2. There was lots of focus on God's wrath in episode one.  Though some may react poorly to it, if that is intended to set up thematic elements for later, it could be really good.
  3. I liked Adam sitting up covered in mud.  Great shot.  And thank you for making the forbidden fruit NOT an apple.  Dodging that cliche scored all kinds of points with me.
  4. I liked Lot's wife being included early and often.  It made a lot of sense.
  5. I'm still not sure about the ninja angels of Sodom but I liked the actor who will play Jesus playing the Angel of the Lord when talking to Abraham and Sarah.
  6. I liked everything they did with Sarah: the laugh, the tension with Hagar, the fear for Isaac.  The best scene in the first two hours was Sarah spotting Isaac after the sacrifice (though she would have had to run three days to get there [Nice catch, Chris]).
  7. I wasn't too sure about Moses acting so deranged.  But Shannon made the point that others probably saw him like that.
  8. I hated that they skipped Melchizedek, Jacob and Joseph and his brothers, Moses' wife, father-in-law, and children, the tabernacle, the pillar of fire, etc. etc. etc.  But unless this mini-series was going to be a hundred hours long, I guess you have to cut something
  9. Whoa, small crowd at the Exodus!  The wide shots looked like barely a thousand people when in reality the group may have consisted of over a million people. [Good eye, Eric]
  10. I'm still really nervous about the dramatic license the show may employ.  How much will they go off-script with Jesus' dialog?  If Moses or Abraham make an off-the-cuff extra-Biblical comment it's not nearly as big a deal as putting those words in the mouth of Jesus.
Bonus and completely unnecessary nitpick:
  • Bronze Age swords really shouldn't look so much like stainless steel.

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