After the death of Christ, His followers were lost and confused. But following His miraculous Resurrection from the dead, He appeared to them and gave them new strength to carry out a new task: taking His gospel to all people. After receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, His apostles and other followers stopped at nothing to tell everyone of what they had witnessed in and through Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. Though opposition came at them from every side, the cause of Christ did not fail but only gained more followers. Even as Christian persecution became a global event, even the ‘worst’ of sinners came to follow the Resurrected Savior.
Production Quality (2.5 points)
Following closely on the heels of mixed results of The Bible Epic Miniseries, A.D.: The Bible Continues uses similar production elements, yet improves upon them. The surroundings are still gritty and realistic, allowing the audience to see that the events after the crucifixion of Christ were very real. The camera work is exquisite—many things indicate that money was well spent in A.D. The musical score is engaging and the special effects are used responsibly. Really the only production complaint to raise is some slightly inconsistent editing—were more unnecessary parts cut and more essential parts amplified, production would have been perfect. But there is still much to be proud of here; Mark Burnett and company definitely learned from past production mistakes and proved that they can do better in A.D.
Plot and Storyline Quality (2 points)
In contrast to the breakneck pace of The Bible, A.D. elects to follow a slower pace. Since this is not an exclusively Biblical series, historical context is responsibly explored—it actually aids and enhances the Biblical narrative. The political elements are intriguing—some of these characters are better than others—yet this portion of the series tends to eat up too much of the runtime. Some screen time should have been taken away from certain political characters, such as Caiaphas’ unrealistic wife, and given to Biblical characters with more potential. Yet there is still much to enjoy in the Biblical plot lines. The events of Acts are portrayed very well; A.D. actually accomplishes the goal of bringing a part of the Bible to life. Historical truths are introduced in slightly unexpected ways without compromising authenticity. While the early Christians could have been developed better, they are pretty good as they are. There are also peripheral characters that are intriguing, yet tend to get squeezed out of the picture. Were it not for a good deal of wasted time, the overall plot of A.D. would probably have been perfect. It is a pretty good example of what a Biblical-historical series should be and can serve as a blueprint for the future.
Acting Quality (2 points)
While British actors and actresses are still employed, A.D. does something revolutionary: cast diversity in first century Judea. Some may consider African characters in this narrative to be inaccurate, and while there should still be more Middle Eastern characters, there is really no historical precedence to deny this. In other areas, emotional expression and line delivery is fairly believable, allowing the audience to connect with the Biblical and historical characters as real people. Overall, were it not for overuse of British actors and actresses, this portion could also have been perfect.
Continuity Quality (3 points)
The arc of A.D. is particularly epic. The driving purpose behind the series is very clear. There are multiple exciting character arcs that were just coming to full completion right before the series was cancelled. But cancellation is not necessarily the fault of the writers, since we sincerely believe they were doing the best they could do. Overall, the short time we were able to enjoy A.D. was well spent when it came to continuity, arcs, and driving purpose.
It’s a real shame that A.D. was cancelled, because it had nowhere to go but up. It was progressing at an epic pace, had so many positive elements, adapted a historical approach to the days after Christ’s earthly ministry, and was ten times better than The Bible Epic Miniseries. It had so much explosive potential, but it was cut off at the knees. One factor that potentially led to the cancellation was trying to please too many people. Perhaps if fewer edgy elements were employed and more family-engaging elements were used, then the show might have survived on Christian audiences. But that may not have been enough. Even still, A.D. was a key step in engaging even the Christian population in being more interested in the historical nature of the Bible. There needs to be more of a bubble-up approach to these types of series, and independent means, such as on-demand series, may need to be used in order to make series like A.D. successful, since national broadcast ratings are often too fickle to sustain new concepts. Future ideas for Bible series need to build off of the positive elements and the strong points of A.D. and to improve on its mistakes. Such a series would be a thing to behold and something worth getting behind.
Final Rating: 9.5 out of 14 points