Bible Miniseries Confounds Hollywood – But Why?
I have been hearing about this miniseries that is playing on the History Channel for the last couple of weeks.
Called "The Bible" and backed by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, it is a dramatization of several biblical stories from Sampson to Jesus to the apostles. Beyond the series creators, there are no big names behind it. No one liked it critically. Everything was set for this to show up long enough on the History Channel for people to yawn and grab the remote.
But, as many have done, people are watching it and the audience has grown. Hollywood is looking at this with a quizzical eye. They are wondering what they have been missing. But, there are some of us that know exactly what they are missing.
Biblical dramas have done well when they are well produced and put together. While there are not many people that will fall all over themselves wanting to see Passion of the Christ with the same fervor as someone that wants to see the latest Tolkien series of movies based on his book, "The Hobbit," people know something that speaks to them when they see it. Passion did that with something that many movies have lacked.
Indeed, biblical movies have lacked a lot since the days of Charlton Heston playing Moses and telling Pharoah to "Let my people go!" There really had not been many that could be called classics until Passion came along. Now, we have something that people can watch to see a dramatization of some of the best stories out there.
For many, bible stories are something more than entertainment. They are a representation of the faith that they believe with all their heart. It is something far deeper than just a two hour zone out fest that you can engage in anytime you step into a theater. It is something that engages the heart and soul and makes people think. It is something you know you can share with your kids and it is something that has a good message. What is not to like here?
I think there is a market for movies like this, if they are done well. That is the key to it all. They need to be done well. Gone are the days of what I call "Shakespearean Religious Movies" where the main actor came straight from the stage to the screen and looks like he is holding an invisible ball as he says every line. Here is the audience that demands realism and something that inspires. Let's face it, reality TV and some movies these days are hardly inspiring. We need something different. And, maybe, in this miniseries, we have it.