In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created everything, including humans. But humans sinned against him and rejected His plan for them over and over again. Yet despite human rebellion, God still had a plan to redeem mankind, and this plan was to be fulfilled through the nation of Israel, the descendants of Abraham. But when the Israelites continued to disobey Him, He punished them and sent them into exile and captivity. Nevertheless, God’s plan for humanity marched forward as those who loved Him awaited the coming of His promised Messiah, the One Who would save them all.
Production Quality (2 points)
Production is definitely the strongest point of The Bible. With a strong budget, almost everything was left on the field—almost. Camera work is excellent, including the video quality. The sound quality is great and the musical score is compelling. Everything about this miniseries was intended to be epic and dramatic, and production-wise, this is mostly accomplished. Yet there are still concerns. Special effects are overused and CGI usage is too obvious. The editing is the biggest error that plagues this series. From the beginning, Mark Burnett and company likely bit off more than they could chew. Some episodes are edited within themselves better than others, but most of them are far too choppy for anyone to truly grasp what needs to be grasped. As a ‘season’, the Old Testament is a roller coaster of plot and character confusion, as will be discussed next. In short, big money requires big results, and things just did not measure up in the Old Testament.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)
The Bible began with a great idea: telling a wide audience the main message of the Bible. However, the message is lost somewhere among magnified violence, historical inaccuracies, ninja angels, inaccessible characters, hasty dialogue, and a long, winding labyrinth of time than attempts to span thousands of years in just six hours of television time. The audience is tossed from one high point to the next without being able to appreciate the characters or even understand what actually happened in the Bible. Just as one character is introduced, they are dispensed as time races forward to another popular story. Narration and location titles attempt to bridge gaps of time, but it just comes off as lazy. As previously mentioned, the characters look like real people, but they don’t act or talk like it. Dialogue is swept along in a maddening tide of events and excessive violence. The only positives that can be brought up here are the central concept of the series—bringing the Bible to life—and the fact that Biblical events are portrayed as real historical events, not interesting and fluffy ideas from kid’s books. Yet plenty of historical license was taken with the plot in order to make it suit runtime. Throughout the series, meaningful spiritual messages are stripped away and replaced with humanistic ideas that seem to indicate that stuff just happened without any real working of God. In the end, in trying to do everything, not much was actually accomplished. Cramming more than half of the Bible into roughly six hours was never a good idea.
Acting Quality (1.5 points)
As usual, The Bible commits the cardinal sin of Bible entertainment: British actors and actresses. A few here and there is one thing—it’s hard to have a fully authentic cast—but when nearly every character is so obviously Caucasian, it gets silly. For the most part, the acting is pretty good. Some actors and actresses are better than others, and frankly, some of them barely get a chance to do anything. But overall, the acting can’t be considered as anything more than average.
Continuity Quality (1 point)
The Old Testament already has a continuous theme and driving purpose, yet this was not adapted in the miniseries. Each episode seems largely isolated from the others, like the events before Christ were just unconnected and random. However, there is some mention of continuity, such as the nation of Israel and promise of the Messiah, that saves this section from being zero. But we expect much more than this from a historical narrative that is already laid out.
The Bible is just another prime example of what could have been. The money was there, but with such funding and a spot on a national network comes compromise, unfortunately. However, one good thing does come out of this miniseries: it hopefully shows someone that the Bible is real and gritty, not a collection of nice stories that happened a long time ago. Burnett definitely set the standard for realism in Bible entertainment. Hopefully there is now no turning back from this point. The Bible was a cultural phenomenon for a time, but it is hard to discern what its true legacy will be. Had a more meaningful message been adapted, lasting good could have been accomplished. Yet it is left as a below average series that could have been better.
Final Rating: 5.5 out of 14 points