Skip to comments.History Channelís Bible Is a Big Hit. Does That Mean TV Will Get Religion?
Posted on 03/08/2013 6:45:31 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Up until now, the years big cable-ratings story has been the ever-growing success of zombie drama The Walking Dead on AMC. Sunday night, though, History channel had the highest-rated scripted drama on cable for the year, for the beginning of a story in which only one main character rises from the dead, and that not until nearly the end.
The first two hours of Historys Mark Burnett miniseries adaptation of The Bible scored 13.1 million viewers, more than any fiction cable show of the yearand, as the New York Times notes, dwarfing anything on NBC for the past month. (The biblical epic numbers did not quite match The Walking Dead in viewers aged 18 to 49, the demographic that determines advertising rates, but it did get a healthy 5.6 million.)
Those are the kinds of numbers that get TV executives attention, and attention in the TV business means copying. Last year, History pulled meganumbers with Hatfields and McCoys; now NBC is developing a Hatfields and McCoys series. So I wouldnt be surprised to see more religious epics coming to TVstories aimed, like The Bible miniseries, at the comfort zone of believers. (I havent watched the entire History miniseries, but the first two hours were sort of a Picture Bible come to life, with the Old Testament violence dialed up and the Old Testament sex dialed down, and the kind of stiff dialogue that avoids seeming to disrespect Biblical figures by making them sound like people rather than animatronic figures.)
(Excerpt) Read more at entertainment.time.com ...
‘Bible’ Miniseries Beats Zombies as Year’s Most-Watched Cable TV Show
The History Channels latest hit drew crowds of biblical proportions, with 13.1 million viewers tuning in Sunday for the premiere of Mark Burnett and Roma Downeys miniseries on the Bible.
The two-hour episode, portraying Genesis and Exodus, was the most-watched and highest-rated show on TV that night and the most popular cable telecast of the year, beating out The Walking Dead on AMC, according to Nielsen.
God Beats Zombies! Guess it pays to be eternal vs immortal! #TheBible, Burnett tweeted following the news.
Last years premiere of Hatfields & McCoys on the History Channel scored an audience of 13.9 million, the networks most-watched program ever and the only one more popular than The Bible, Bloomberg News reported.
Maybe we shouldnt be surprised. The Gospel Coalition points out the Bibles been an entertainment hit for decades, with The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, and The Passion of the Christ ranked among the top-grossing films of all time.
I heard it was awful
RE: I heard it was awful
One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
Let me clarify, it was on a Christian website that the series was awful.
I wonder if it should have been called, “An Atheists’ View of the Bible”?
I watched it with my family. We didn’t think it was awful. We liked it, and will tune in again on Sunday.
“I watched it with my family. We didnt think it was awful. We liked it, and will tune in again on Sunday.”
I watched it and thought that it was pretty good, although some of the stories were embellished, like the Angels fighting their way out of Sodom with swords, “gladiator” style.
If the History Channnel is as accurate with ‘The Bible’ as they are with many of their other shows you might as well forget it.
LOL. Any bets on whether this NBC show has a black family that is treated as equals by the leading characters (other than, ironically, the evil racist Republican) and shows women in prominent, leading roles where they are doing everything the men are doing? This show will tank after a couple episodes when the novelty of the historical setting wears off.
The problem with anything a network does is that it will impose today's values on the historical characters. It is the rare show that actually shows what life really was like (as closely as possible) in past ages. If religion is introduced into more shows, it will be Hollywood's version of religion (humanistic, gay tolerant, let's get along with all religions-type religion).
I tried watching. Gave up after 10 minutes.
It would be “fun” to see this done with the Koran. I think it is a different story.
What they did tell was done in a serious manner and with reverance. I was disappointed with the handling of Sodom. They failed to point out or even infer what the great sin of Sodom was. From their telling it was just that they partied too much!
I have to wonder why the surprise - we know we outnumber them.
Is it just that so many of us actually discovered that it was playing?
(I posted the other day that Raymond Arroyo’s show WorldOver on EWTN interviewed those 2 on the show last week - final segment of the hour.)
Mostly it was Bible-lite with a gloss over on details (why did the crowd in Sodom want Lot to hand over his angel visitors) to pure fantasy (Ninja angels???). I remember having a better book as a child with various Bible stories.
Ramses has this thing about heavy eyeliner and needs to hit the salad bar.
Moses resembles Charles Manson.
Abraham and Sarah look terrific for being just over the century mark when Isaac is born.
The Diversity Angels add a welcome inclusive touch.
But to your point about TV, my wife remarked while watching "don't these people realize they'll never work in film again?" I think The Bible is a rare anomaly in an increasingly hostile entertainment world.
Was there aliens or Sasquatch?
Anyone with a thorough knowledge of scripture will find it awful. Tons of details wrong on things clearly detailed in scripture, and incredible license inserting things NOT written, over dramatizing them, and having characters say things totally contradicting what is known about them character-wise.
It’s 50% accurate at best, with 25% being contradictory to what is said/revealed in scripture.
And, tons of important stuff left out. But I can overlook that as they are cramming so much in such a short viewing time.
The characterization of Abraham was way out of sync with scripture re: his attitudes and thinking. And when Isaac was born, he was 100 and Sarah was 90 - but the characters portraying them looked to be in their 60’s.
Cecil B. DeMille’s version was far more accurate....
This is a typical rendition of scripture by people who are not students of it - nor true believers.....
IMHO, of course......
We outnumber them, but they rule us. Think of the Israelites in Egypt. It is only a matter of time before we are informed of our daily mud-brick quotas.
Gee, no bias from TIME there.
Bible-lite is right. I thought “Ninja Angel” was amusing, and also got a chuckle out of how PC-ism crept into the story with black and Asian angels. I’ll try to watch more but I don’t hold out high hopes for it.
I agree that the show started slowly, but it improved. Yes, they left out some Bible stories and yes, they used "creative license" to embellish some of the action; but overall, it was good and a great introduction for anyone who has never read (or not read in a very long time) the Bible. The Producers hope the series will motivate people's curiosity to see what the original source actually says.
Don't give up on it so soon. I hope you'll watch it all.
Or, the NIV Sodomite Revisionists Bible...
History Channel’s The Vikings also premiered with ‘good’ numbers, higher than many broadcast network programs.
Broadcast Networks are experiencing low viewership:
Zero Hour, pulled after 3 episodes.
Do No Harm, pulled after 2 episodes.
Cult, relegated to the Friday night dark zone.*
Golden Boy, relegated to Friday night. Late update, Golden Boy to remain in timeslot, Vega to move to Friday night.*
[* Could be worse — they could be relegated to Saturday night.]
The personalities are weak, and the heart of the story is lost.
When Moses comes down from the mountain, they don’t even show his breaking of the Tablets, or the crowd behaving badly.
You didn’t really expect the History channel to teach any of the lessons of the Bible, did you?
The Chuck Heston version even had better special effects.
NBC would like it if we all named our kids Dr. Quinn and Medicine Woman.
My view on it:
Our culture has been completely cut off from the Bible. If you asked people on the street to tell you about a story in the Bible, they might be able to say the words “Noah’s Ark”, but that’s about it.
For there to be a huge exposure to the Bible is a good thing. But people will pick and argue about the little things. The phrase “you can’t see the forest for all of the trees” comes to mind.
Putting the Bible into people’s minds, even if it isn’t 100% accurate, is better than not exposing them to it at all. If 1% of the 13.1 millions people were to pick up a Bible to read the stories that were touched on in the series, then I think it’s wonderful!
I wrote a book called “Bible Stories for Grown-Ups” just for people who do not have any idea what fabulous stories are in the Bible. And if people will learn about the stories of the Bible whether by reading or watching, then it is seeds being planted in their souls. The Holy Spirit can then work in them.
Well, I love The Walking Dead....it’s the best show on TV, IMO. That’s where we will be on Sunday nights.
But I’m DVRing “The Bible”. Haven’t watched the first episode, though, because frankly I find it hard to believe that the History Channel didn’t give it a PC spin. If I see any of that, I’ll stop watching immediately.
Amazing. I didn’t watch it and I still believe.
I tuned in and was pleasantly surprised. Many people are very stuck on the sodomy issue... but remember, it’s supposed to be viewing for the whole family.
terrible... just terrible.. I lasted for 1/2 hour. seemed like it was a X-Box game just waiting to happen, with all the face grimacing, etc..
this is serious business, The Bible, and they have turned it into a greatest hits package..
I think the point being made here is that a historical story got more viewers than any of the fiction cable shows.
I know. But remember, we are talking about TIME magazine.
The actors were not the greatest but performed their roles well enough - there were a few clinkers and a few shining lights in that group. Visually it looked pretty good - no massive historical anachronisms in there. Effects were maybe a bit on the cheap/cheesy side but still better than your average Sci Fi Channel "Sharktopus" type movie.
Between The Bible, The Walking Dead and The Vikings, I was pleasantly entertained all Sunday evening.
Acknowledged and understood LOL
When I was a kid I had this AWESOME book of Bible stories done up in Classic Comics style, that was a hand-me-down from my brother's childhood. When he had his son many years later, we both looked high and low for another copy of that book and could not find it anywhere.
Then, the week after my nephew graduated high school I wsa in a doctor's office, and there on the table was a copy of the book, with a flyer inside with a website for the publisher. At that point I had no need for the book anymore but I ordered it anyway, mainly because I was so annoyed I had not been able to find it when I wanted one.
Now my nephew has a baby girl of his own, and I know just what somebody is getting for her fourth birthday!
Considering what normally passes for “biblical/Christian” documentaries on tv, I rate this as “Fanstasically Great.” It was not denigrating to the Bible or giving the usual insults. Although some may say that stories were skipped over, ‘not truly/faithfully presented,’ or made theatrical; my view is that it gave a decent summary of the beginning books of the Bible, especially considering that the 1st installment of 5 was only 2 hours long, and that the plan is to do the entire Bible in 10 hours, thus somethings must be cut out.
I find this series, based upon the 1st show, to be much better than what is usually passes as “show about Christianity” on the History and other channels. The only exception is Father Barron’s series on PBS and also EWTN on Catholicism ( http://www.catholicismseries.com/ )
I recommend you watch it and make your own decision. And think of this series as an “introduction to the Bible” and not a “post-graduate course.”
Calm down; it said “more than any fiction” not “more than any OTHER fiction.” Since a quantity can’t be more than itself, “more than any fiction” means that the show cannot be fiction.
If you believe that Abraham lived to be 175 years old, wouldn’t 100 years old be middle-aged and not elderly?
DeMille spent 3 hours just on Exodus, not the entire first 5 books; and he had a larger budget (adjusted for inflation). And he didn’t use CGI (of course it didn’t exist then, but that’s a minor point.
The UFOs and Hitler version of the Bible. ;)
Anitius: Well Said!
I suffered through the first hour but couldn’t take it any more.
For those who want to see reviews and a preview of this book: BIBLE STORIES FOR GROWNUPS,
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