Spring 2015 Review: A.D.: The Bible Continues

27 Apr

A.D.: The Bible Continues

I’m a non-believing Jew, so A.D.: The Bible Continues is obviously not geared towards me. Still, this is on NBC, rather than some niche cable channel, so with that disclaimer I’ll dive into attempting to analyze this show about the bible like any other TV show.

I’m about as far away from a Bible expert as you can get, but from my limited knowledge even someone as completely uninterested in religion as myself believe the Bible contains plenty of compelling stories, regardless of its literal truth. These stories, at their best, and the Bible is long enough to have some winners and some snoozers, are interesting both as stand-alone narratives and in terms of the historical context of how they came about. A.D.: The Bible Continues, sadly, is not a particularly riveting or enlightening portrayal of those tales.

More than that, it’s, well, cheesy. The production values, dialogue, and story combine to make A.D. more like a cheaply produced instructional special shown in Sunday schools to keep children mildly entertained while relaying to them the story of Jesus and his followers than a network program airing in 2015. This just doesn’t cut it. The effects look corny, the dialogue and acting is stilted and just everything about rings of a B-level piece of work.

A.D. starts just before the crucifixion of Jesus, and the pilot ends as he’s about to be resurrected. In between, Judas hangs himself out of guilt from his betrayal, his followers fret about whether to quickly escape, or wait for his alleged resurrection, and Pontius Pilate, his wife, and some others struggle with whether or not they made the right and sensible decision to have Jesus executed.

As a series, A.D. purports to tell Bible stories as a continuation of the hugely successful “The Bible” miniseries, which aired on the History Channel, which aside from this not actually being history, is at least the type of network on which these low budget reenactment type stories belong. These days, even most of the second tier summer shows on network channels that will get cancelled after four episodes of virtually on one watching, if not looking like something on AMC, Showtime, or HBO, at least look pretty decent; the general standard of production has been ratcheted up by the success of premium cable, even if networks don’t quite aspire that high. A.D., on the other hand, is suitable for some simplistic religious history for kids, but not as entertainment or serious programming for anyone older.

Will I watch it again? No. I’m done with Hebrew school forever, which I could not be happier about. No need to watch Saturday afternoon bible specials here.

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