The producer of Survivor and the star of Touched by an Angel have combined their efforts to bring the major stories of the Bible to television. Husband and wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are the force behind The Bible, a 10-hour miniseries that will air on the History Channel.
Of course, not every story in the Bible could be included so choices had to be made as to what to show. Noah made the cut, as did Abraham, Samson and David. They are, however, just the warm up acts for the big story, the tale of Jesus Christ. His story is the most complete one shown.
The cast of actors assembled are a bunch of unknowns, but for the most part have the talent to tell their characters' stories without being embarrassing. It should be noted that Diogo Morgado is quite outstanding as Christ. Roma Downey also makes an appearance as the older Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The film has a grand look to it. There is nothing cheap or shoddy in the production, and the makers of the movie obviously got a lot of bang for their bucks. Still, the projection of the Ark in the flood, and also the parting of the Red Sea, are not staggering visual effects.
The main problem with the series is there is no wow factor. There are no big names with the charisma and star power of a Charlton Heston. Several years ago, director John Huston created his own Bible movie and he did have famous names in his cast. The movie still was not a big success. There has to be something awesome in the way the stories are presented and there is no awe on view here.
Still, you have to give Burnett and Downey credit for making a sincere attempt to bring the power of the Bible to the screen. They certainly don't fail but they don't exactly excel either. Ten hours is a lot of television time to expend and expect an audience to follow faithfully. The real success of this series will probably come when it is available on DVD and can be used by church groups for discussion.
Supposedly there are people who still want to view religious programs and this is the perfect time of the year for this type of miniseries to air. And even some non-religious types might want to know what is so important that 10 hours of TV time has been allotted to the story.
The Bible premieres March 3 at 8PM on the History Channel.