History Channel - The Bible (series thread)

I watched for the first time tonight. Moses asking the Pharaoh to “let my people go”. The famous scene with the Nile turning red was well done. I like the actor playing Moses. The scene with the water rising and killing all of Pharaoh’s soldiers was really good. Charlton Heston did it better, but for a History channel doco it was pretty good.

I plan to watch the full series. Lets discus here. Even if someone isn’t religious these Bible stories are fascinating. The Bible contains some of the earliest dramatic literature. There’s every element of drama in there. Greed, jealousy, sex, war, betrayal you name it and there’s a story. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, for me it’s also part of my faith and religion, but the History channel didn’t set out to make a deeply spiritual show. It’s really produced for mass entertainment and ratings. :wink:

The next episode deals with the conquest of the Promised lands. Looking forward to seeing the walls of Jericho fall. :wink:

I thought it was a well-done effort to accomplish what the producers -Mark Burkett & Roma Downey intended- give a basic video introduction to the Bible, whet the appetite to read the entire stories, & counter Biblical illiteracy in the culture (provided the reading actually gets done! L)

(And of course, make a ton of money, which I don’t begrudge them in any way whatsoever.)

The Creation & Fall & Deluge summarized in the first 20 minutes told us what we needed to know, the Abraham & Moses segments were more detailed but not overly so. My only objections were- the omission of Jacob & Esau, and Joseph & his brothers, and the insertion of swordfighting by the Angels at Sodom (tho it did look cool), which was the only obvious inaccuracy. I thought Hagar & Ishmael got a great deal of deserved attention tho I’d have liked to have seen how God provided for them after their exile.

At the end of the Sodom episode (which had nothing which would offend gays), the narration said something like “And so Lot and his daughters were the only survivors and they never saw Abraham again”. But Professor Frank’s voice came into my head, adding “And you don’t want to know how they got another tribe of people started.”

I’ll be watching with great interest & plan to buy the DVD set.

I need to catch up with the first two parts. I recorded them and will try and watch this weekend.

It doesn’t really matter if someone watches the episodes out of order. All the stories are pretty well known by most people. Either from Sunday school or just watching old movies like The Ten Commandments. I wouldn’t try to guess how many movies have been made from Bible stories.

I saw a trailer for the series a while back but had forgotten it was coming. I’ll check it out. As long as they don’t take too many liberties I think I’d enjoy it. (I hate Bible movies that perpetuate biblical illiteracy).

There was an obese Alley-Oop era man wearing an Alley Oop era gown in the background; Burnett would probably say it was a eunuch, though I figured it was a dog whistle to those who wanted the traditional ‘yadda yadda means I wanna lay-ya lay-ya’ interpretation.
The Chinese Sodom angel going two-sword Ninja was an… interesting touch.
I though the Sodom-is-doomed angels should have been cameos from Roma Downey and Della Reese. “Oh… you wanna assail visitors to the house of Lot… my pinky toe shoots death rays!”

Is Della Reese still alive?

Apparently. She’s 81 and seems to be semi-retired, but per imdb she does about one project every year and a half or so. Per actuarial tables and Portuguese prophecy, she is due to regenerate, probably either into an Asian gymnast of indeterminate gender or an avatar of Forrest Tucker (depends on the translation), sometime before 2019.

Does the Bible ever say that Lot and family never saw Abraham again, btw? I think it just sort of leaves it alone.

Ammon and Moab are interesting relationships to ponder. Taking out the word half they would have been each other’s brother, first cousin, nephew, uncle, and given that Terah’s descendants tended to marry each other they were probably several other types of cousins besides.
Of course what would be weird would be to learn that they were a happy family. Certainly they wouldn’t have been the only seriously and openly inbred family in the area at that time, and given the orchestrations and manipulations in the tents of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob the competition for ‘happiest family descended from Terah’ wasn’t a terribly steep battle.

I didn’t realize Samson was black and Delilah sheared off his dreads. :wink: <shrug> Doesn’t really matter I guess. The actor was big and brawny enough to be believable. The way he struggled to knock down the posts with football tackles made me chuckle.

Why did they chicken out and sanitize David’s dowry for Michal? It’s always taught that the bag contained 100 foreskins of the dead Philistines. It was the only body part that proved the dead were not people of Israel.

The actress that played Bathsheba was very attractive. I can see her luring David away from God and his orders.

I figured the David’s dowry scene was sanitized so parents wouldn’t be forced into awkwardly explainations. When David referred to them as “trophies”, my first thought - “they’ll look lovely on the mantelpiece!”

When David ran up to the felled Goliath, I was like “He’s gonna do it, he’s gonna do it, YES!” And he cut off & brandished the head.

Omitted stuff I missed-
Deborah & Jael vs. Sisera
Saul & the Witch of Endor
the fourfold death of David’s sons - Child #1 by Bathsheba, Ammon- brother/rapist of Tamar, Absalom- avenger of Tamar & challenger to David, & the son who challenged Solomon for the throne.

Omitted stuff I did not miss- The Levite’s concubine.

Overall- A consistent B+.

There’s a novelization of the series for those of you who thought to yourselves, “Gee, this is a nice show, but where can I read more about these events?”:


David is long overdue for an epic miniseries.

Did anybody watch the series Kings a few years ago in which David’s story was updated to a modern alterniverse? Had merits- mostly Ian McShane as Saul- but I don’t know what the hell they were thinking; to tell the story of David you have go for at least 30 years, and that’s if you skip the final decades and the deathbed intrigues and his “***I ***will not be the one to break the peace made here today” Godfather shenanigans with Solomon. I guess they planned to either skip ahead for years at a time or last for 35 seasons.

It was a little jarring that Samson was black, but Delilah was white or at least looked that way. My wife kept doing Cleavon Little’s line from Blazing Saddles.

What I thought was good was that they are not soft-pedaling a lot of the violent nastiness in the OT - Saul is condemned because he doesn’t kill everything living in the towns they conquer. And Samuel kills the king that Saul spared (although in the OT Samuel hacks him into pieces “before the Lord”, almost if not quite as a human sacrifice).

But Sampiro is right - the Kings miniseries was good, but to cover all the power politics and machinations of the David story arc, you need a whole miniseries to itself. There’s no way they could cover a quarter of it in the Bible miniseries. I’m guessing they won’t cover the rebellion of Absalom or the Joab-Abiathar-Abishag mess when David is getting ready to die.

The part I am sorry they left out is the story from Judges 3:12-28 about Ehud and Eglon. One of those wonderful, gory, disgusting bits the OT is full of.


His shattering of the donkey’s jawbone when hitting that Philistine captain might be the first time we’ve ever seen someone pop an ass on someone’s cap.

More jarring to me was that the young David looked like the village idiot.

Bra-vo. :slight_smile:

It’s a hit show! :smiley:

No surprise to me. The Bible is full of rich and fascinating stories. Many of the stories are about the strengths and weaknesses of humanity. I learn something everytime I reread them.

Agreed. A pity they didn’t decide to shoot them that way but instead went with a Mickey Rourke impersonator freeing the Israelites after delivering one and a half plagues, not even spending time on the stick-to-serpent trick yet working in a nonbiblical sideplot showing him and Pharaoh when they were fraternity rivals.

Total crap show imo.

I’m not saying that because I’m an agnostic; there are many biblical projects that I love. John Huston’s The Bible is a great telling of Genesis, Burt Lancaster was in a good miniseries of Moses (one of the few Moses projects that ever went beyond just the 10 Commandments part), and there have been good movies and miniseries on other tales. Jesus of Nazareth is one of the finest things that’s ever been on television and to this day it’ll stop me channel surfing (that soundtrack!).

This show, however, is like something that a youth pastor with a camcorder got in in his head to do and managed to get Joe Arpaio to force some prisoners to serve as extras in. Crap writing, crap production values (to the extent there are any), particularly crap research, crap writing (it bore repeating), pandering, and devoid of any insight or analysis. I’m not surprised it’s a hit considering its target audience, though, which is probably most people who need their Bible pre-chewed, with “Boo!” “Hiss!” and “Applause!” cues being appreciated.

I’ve always thought a neat part of the bible that has never been made into media is the period following the apostles after Jesus’s er death? And the early years of Christianity.

They must have filmed this on a very small budget. I agree some of the actors aren’t that good. The dreadlock guy playing Sampson was too one dimensional. He basically played it like Bluto.

I guess they did the best they could with the budget. Making this many hours of original programming is pretty ambitious for a guy known for Reality shows…