Quick Blurb: A First Episode Review of “The Bible”

the-bible-tv-miniseries

This is not as long as my usual reviews, but because I did not watch the entire episode, I can only comment on what I saw. I don’t like to do this, but I will not have the time to watch the entire first episode of The Bible this week, and I wanted to post something while it is still relevant. This may be a breath of fresh air for my readers, especially when it comes to History Channel productions, but I did not hate this opening episode at all. In fact, it actually was decent. There are still plenty of little nuggets to poke fun at, and a few cringe moments, but overall, it was a pleasing effort for those who take the Bible as the literal word of God, and those who just like it as a good story. Some highlights that caught my attention are below:

  • The first thing I noticed is that this had the look and feel of one of those “old time” mini-series epics from years gone by. In other words, it just did not look fake. The History Channel has been notorious in recent years for sacrificing accuracy for a cheap solution (remember the modern day nuts and bolts holding the fences together, and those cheap Wild West village knock-off kepis in Gettysburg?), but here, I really felt as though I was on my way to being transported through time. A few errors later, I realized I was still in my living room, but that is much more that can be said for their other recent garbage. The costume design had a lot to do with that, though I wish the clothing showed a bit more wear and tear, and the facial hair looked pretty good as well. The cinematography was outstanding, as this first episode was beautifully shot. The CGI also was not cheaply done, which would have been expected from a project like this.
  • One item I was worrying about: melodramatic overacting. Thankfully, there was none of that, so far as I could tell. The characters, modern day traits aside, were pretty believable and down-to-earth, which is very important. The narration also was not overdone—it was just the right amount. However, and I know I’ve been harping on this for a while, but the British and Irish accents are absolutely killing me. I’ll even put aside the fairly light-skinned actors chosen to play middle-easterners and Egyptians, but when I look at someone like Ramses, and the voice of a Monty Python character comes out, it really does a lot to irk the viewer, at least for me anyway. Speaking of ethnicity, what was with the Asian character who visits Abraham early on? Angel of God or not, this one really bothered me as he seemed to be inserted only for the politically correct aspects of having to be diverse. If we take the Bible literally, and angels were really sent by God, they would have looked like the people they were visiting, as to not draw attention to themselves. For that, the authenticity takes a big hit.
  • A couple of notes on the casting: I know in an earlier post I compared Moses to a member of a heavy metal band, but upon a closer look, he actually looks like a cross between Oliver Reed and Patrick Bergin. He even has a muddled Irish accent that could have used a little bit better annunciation, but at least his beard looked great. Secondly, how about Ramses coming in with a noggin like Barry Bonds? My goodness, he was a chunky little dude wasn’t he? That’s the other thing that bothered me, because as someone usually portrayed as an Adonis figure, he looked like he needed to lay off the donuts in the break room and join weight watchers. And what was with the scar on his face? I honestly do not remember ever seeing a portrayal including one, and also do not remember the Bible mentioning it—I could be wrong, though. Anyway, it suited my taste…he looked like a hockey player!

Overall, there were plenty of cringe moments to go around, but this was not horrible by any means, and certainly was not as bad as I was expecting (I’ll leave that to Vikings). I am interested to see what other people thought of this, religious or not, because this was so highly anticipated that the audience must be quite diverse. For my rating, I will give it a flexible 6.5 out of 10.

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6 thoughts on “Quick Blurb: A First Episode Review of “The Bible”

  1. Definitely a promising start to the series. It definitely covered a lot (Perhaps too much) of the story, but despite the overstuffed script, and a couple of moments of poetic license, I thought the acting, cinematography, visual effects, and Hans Zimmer’s score were all fantastic! I give it a 9/10, or A-. Looking forward to next week.

  2. Gettysbuff

    Hey Greg how’s it going. I’m SO glad that you and this blog still exist!!! I had forgotten all about this show and so this served as a great reminder – so thanks! Although i’ll probably have to see it’s available to stream somewhere as i’m leaving Ohio tomorrow (yeah, you heard me right, i don’t live in Gburg anymore šŸ˜¦ ) and will be gone for a while. One of the states i will be spending some time in is New Jersey. What, in your opinion, are the “must-see” areas/places/attractions/etc that i absolutely positively, um, “must see”? šŸ˜€

    1. Gettysbuff

      HAHAHA, sorry i didn’t mean to say “Ohio” (duh!) i meant “home”. (still, at least i got 2 out of 4 letters correct!) I’ve been really busy today with moving the last few pieces out of the apartment and so my brain’s fried, and i think the fact that i was just reading something on Wiki about Ohio had something to with it! I think there’s an actual name for what i did, it’s not called a Freudian Slip but it’s something like that. Maybe someone reading this can enlighten me….Spoonerism? No i don’t think it’s called that either.

      Incidentally i looked for The Bible on my tv guide and the episode is being re-shown as i type. I tuned in about halfway into it. I will say that when the older Moses is first introduced (when that guy has him up against a wall and he says “my name is Moses”) i did think that HE looked a little like one of the Monty Pythons! Looks like it could be good, hopefully someone will upload it to Youtube or something so i can catch the first half that i missed.

  3. I liked the first episode and also had a little trouble with the casting. It would be great for all the actors to look like they were from the region. When it comes to language, we could not understand them if they used the language of the era. When the actors speak in English, we get the natural voice of the actors. In that regard, I am OK with the accents. I would have much more problem if we had an American playing the part of an Englishman, and the American sounded like he was from Texas. That would not make sense.

    I do not know about the scar on the face of Ramses. I have not heard of such a thing but am not an expert on that topic.

    Regarding the pacing… and where this is headed… I believe this is a 5 part story and we have now had one part. It seems like the Bible is a very thick book with lots of stories and we only have 4 episodes to finish covering this. I like the current pacing and feel it allows enough time to get introduced to the various characters, see the challenges they face and see how they handled the challenges. I would not want to see them speed up the story telling. That said, I do not see how they are going to get this done in 4 more episodes. It will be interesting to see what they cover.

  4. Debra Spicer

    I watched the first episode of “The Bible” and must say I was slightly disappointed. It seemed to choppy for me and it sped through to quickly! It didn’t do justice to some characters and the accents of the actors was distracting. I can only hope that part 2 is better!

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