Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Review of MTV version of The Bible now playing on the History Channel

Last night, while playing catch-up and watching the 2nd installment of the Bible on the History Channel, Renee and I decided to throw in the towel. We both agreed that we couldn't stand this series any longer. This "Bible" is totally Hollywood with so many liberties undertaken. At times, I felt like it was an MTV "car-chase" version of the Bible, made to hold the interest of the pre-teen viewing audience.

Renee and I both thought it lacked substance and could have included some of the great prayers of the Bible. This mini-series is a vague series of happenings strung together with very little context or connection with wooden characters. You feel no real empathy for the characters since you have very little time to get to know them.

When you've seen a series like HBO's Rome, you realize that this production is so "cheesy" and lacking in any real substance with stilted dialogue. They skip over the Tower of Babel (which would've looked great on the screen) and bring us to Abraham. But we're not given the greatness and majesty of Abraham's story. Instead, we are left with a Cliff notes version and no attempt to depict the crux of the story in Genesis 15 where God takes Abraham outside at night and asks him to count the stars. God tells him that his descendants will be more numerous than all the stars in the sky. At the same time, God tells him that in his old age, he will have a son.

Samson with dreadlocks played by
Nigerian actor, Nonso Anozie
I was surprised that this production of the Bible omitted the story of Joseph which actually explains how the Jews ended up in Egypt, and after 400 yrs, were in slavery and in need of a deliverer. Enter Moses, stage right. For me personally, the story of Joseph is one of the most exciting stories in the Bible, especially appealing to young people since he was sold into slavery by his brothers at the young age of 17. .

There has been a lot of discussion about the depiction of a black Samson who is very wooden and stiff. I also felt that Samson may not have been a big muscular hulk because we are told that his strength came when the Spirit of the Lord was upon him. I felt that having a "black" Samson was an "over the top" attempt at diversity, even at the expense of accuracy. I'm not being racist. I didn't want to see any Irish or Norwegians in the film as well. There are no other black people in the film, but we are treated to Samson and his mother as blacks (from Nigeria). When you visit Israel, you will see very few blacks, even though in recent years, there has been an influx of black Jews from Ethiopia.

Satan played by Mohamen Mehdi Quazani. There are some
who think he bears a striking resemblance to our president.
Finally, in the first episode, I should have known that this series was going to sugarcoat the Bible when the scene in Sodom & Gomorrah failed to depict any evidence of homosexuality. In Genesis account, God says the outcry of flagrant sin from Sodom is so immense that God is going to bring judgment on the city. Abraham then intercedes for Sodom and for Lot and his family.

The producers omitted any evidence of homosexuality which is so clearly stated in Genesis when the men of the city attempt to break down the door to Lot's house because they want to rape  the angels. To appease their sexual lusts, Lot offers them his daughters instead.

How can you depict the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and not show the REASON for God's judgment. It was because of homosexuality. But then again, the producers probably would never have gotten this series even made, or placed on the History Channel if they had given us the actual story from Genesis! Again, score one for political-correctness, at the expense of the facts. Then, we are treated to "Ninja" angels wielding swords, when the Bible clearly tells us that the angels struck the men of the city with blindness so that Lot and his family could escape.

Your best bet is to just sit down and read the Bible in a modern English version, starting with Genesis, along with a good commentary to help give you better understanding.


  1. I agree with you that the series is weak but I still urge you to watch the rest of it, if for no other reason than many people are watching it and we need to know what it presents so that we can answer their questions and/or misperceptions. Part three gave us their version of the Nativity story and it was little more than the kind of condensed presentation you get in a children’s Christmas play. I am looking with some unease to the last episode of this series, but, again, we do need to know that is in it. - Jeff

  2. Yes Jeff, you're probably right...although I think it will be a painful experience. But, I should see this through to the end. BTW, I didn't mention it in the post, but I am glad that Mark Burnett (Survivor) chose to take this risk. Unfortunately, I think he does a better job of producing Survivor week in and week out than what was done with this mini-series. I wish he would NOT have compromised like in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, or chosen a different story instead, like Tower of Babel, so he wouldn't have to succumb to political-correctness and the approval of the Hollywood crowd.