|Rated: TV-14 for violence|
Starring: Keith David, Diogo Morgado, and a cast of over 100
Released: 2013 (History Channel premiere)
From Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (Touched By an Angel). As seen on the History Channel.
The Good: What a journey this series was! As epic as the Book that inspired it, the Biblical stories highlighted within are all done amazingly well. I've seen portrayals of Bible stories in celluloid form before, but, never quite like this, with the exception of the Son of God film, which borrows from this series. The entire cast does amazingly well; especially of note was Francis Magee's (House of Anubis) portrayal of King Saul, as well as Amber Rose Revah in her role as Mary Magdalene. Even the special effects are well done, and not cheesy like in too many Christian films. Trust me; you've never seen the Bible like this!
The Bad: As good as this is, I do have a couple of complaints. First and foremost, I didn't like the way some of the stories were changed. I understand the need to leave some details out for the sake of running time, but, did they really have to have Jesus kiss Lazarus to raise him instead of telling him to "come forth"? Second off, there were some great Bible stories--Joseph and his brothers, Queen Esther, etc.--that I would have loved to have seen portrayed like this, but they were skipped over. Maybe the makers will make another series that features those accounts.
Content Concerns: I'm not going to do my usual listing, only because of this series' source material. What I will say is the violence is intense and bloody at times. To the makers' credit, it seems that they went out of their way quite often to not show the violence in graphic detail; the only problem with that is doing so leaves it to the mind's eye, which could make it even worse. Also, some of the stories contained within--David and Bathsheba, Abraham and Hagar, etc.--are not exactly first grade Sunday School material. Suffice it to say: This series is rated "TV-14" for a reason, and is definitely not for the VeggieTales crowd.
Conclusion: I once heard a saying about bestselling books: They're ones everyone buys...but nobody reads. People all over the world own or have access to Bibles; these days, even public libraries have them in various formats, not to mention that you can access them in countless languages online. However, it seems that many people--Christians included--don't seem to know much of what's in the Good Book, aka the bestselling book of all-time. I think this series is a great thing; not only does it show the Bible in all of its epic detail, but, it also encourages people to check out the Word that inspired it. If you haven't seen this series yet...prepare to be amazed!