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The most popular TV show is
Hotair ^ | 03/10/2013 | Ed Morrissey

Posted on 03/10/2013 8:00:34 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

.... The Bible, currently running on History Channel (and on my DVR while I'm in Rome). Megan Basham reports on the way The Bible stacks up against other cultural phenomenons on TV:

This past Sunday the television industry felt the ground shake when the first installment of the History Channel’s five-part miniseries, The Bible, drew a whopping 14.3 million viewers. To put that in perspective, those are higher ratings than American Idol drew on Fox in the same week. Higher ratings than the premiere of Celebrity Apprentice on NBC. And it officially made The Biblethe number one scripted cable broadcast of the year.

The news was apparently so astonishing it prompted Business Weekto investigate exactly how the basic cable network pulled it off and inspired Timemagazine’s resident T.V. critic, James Poniewozik, to ponder whether The Bible’s success will lead to further mainstream forays into religious-themed entertainment.

What’s more astonishing, given how often pro-faith productions put up massive numbers, is that major media outlets still feel the need to run shocked headlines about it.

Ed Driscoll has a thought about that astonishment, too:

Regarding Time’s astonishment that a religious TV series is cleaning up in the ratings, again, consider the source, and the environment its editors and writers marinate in. While there’s a move afoot to spin-off Time, Inc. by the end of the year, at the moment, it’s still part of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO. Anti-religious messages are reinforced by all corners of that conglomeration, ever since Time famously asked “Is God Dead?” on its cover nearly half a century ago. As Andrew Klavan noted in his PJM column, Sports Illustrated, its sister publication, attacked religion and the NFL shortly before the most recent Super Bowl. Both illustrate how far the collective worldview of the staffers of magazines founded by Henry Luce, whose parents were Christian missionaries to China, has come.

Both Ed and Meghan bring up the unexpected and unprecedented success of the independent and controversial Passion of the Christ, and Megan reminds readers of the very profitable independent films from Sherwood Baptist Church (Fireproof, and the most recent, Courageous, which was probably its finest effort yet). Ed and Megan wonder how Hollywood and the media can be so surprised when these films succeed, and why studios don’t begin working again in religious-themed films. The studio business culture prevents it, Ed posits:

The Passion got made because Mel Gibson, at the height of his career, was willing to gamble $25 million or so of his own money and had sufficient experience as a filmmaker to shepherd (pardon the pun) the movie through to completion and to secure a distributor. In contrast, the vast majority of the rest of Hollywood’s product is made by committee. A Hollywood executive who’s an atheist or agnostic has to ask himself, can he assemble a crew — a producer, a screenwriter and a director at a minimum — who are religious enough or, at a bare minimum, respectful and knowledgeable enough of religion to produce a product that a religious audience would accept? Then, is the executive who oversees the movie willing to ride out the controversy such a film would engender from the left, including attacks from, say, Time, the Daily Kos, Huffington Post, and MSNBC? Perhaps most importantly, at least from the point of view of our hypothetical executive’s ego, is he willing to be ridiculed by his peers at cocktail parties in Beverly Hills and on Park Avenue? (It’s not a coincidence that these are some of the same reasons why there isn’t another conservative or libertarian television channel to siphon viewers away from Fox News.) Best to bankroll Star Trek 26, Die Hard 13, or Star Wars: Episode Seven, instead. Besides, I hear this year is The Year of the Sequel, anyhow.

Every year is the year of the sequel these days. Seriously, can anyone remember the last year that didn’t have some major or middling franchise coming out with a number following the title, or some new riff on the original title? I might have to go back to my teen years, and I’m turning 50 in a few weeks.

On the bright side, however, this shows just how much people are thirsting for religion, even if in entertainment form. Our culture wants to treat religion as an artifact, a remnant, an ancient superstition — and that’s actually good for Hollywood, as it justifies its other choices in the fare it presents. Yet we have thousands of journalists competing for space here at the Vatican for the papal conclave, and The Bible is the top-rated show on American television. So much for irrelevancy, and the shock from the media has more to do with a narrative failure than surprise.

This actually plays into exactly what George Weigel has to say in his new book, Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church. I have an interview with Weigel later this morning, so stay tuned.


TOPICS: History; Religion; Society; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: bible; bibleseries; historychannel; tv

1 posted on 03/10/2013 8:00:34 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m DVRing the series to watch later (although I’ll stop if it gets PC).

Last night I watched a bit of the first episode. Was it my imagination, or did Noah have a Scottish accent?


2 posted on 03/10/2013 8:12:36 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization)
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To: CatherineofAragon

RE: Was it my imagination, or did Noah have a Scottish accent?

OK, I give up, what kind of accent should he have?


3 posted on 03/10/2013 8:13:28 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
I've read that Duck Dynasty is up there in ratings as well. It has wholesome, family values and prayer with a little hi-jinx thrown in.

I love how they end each episode with the family sitting around the dinner table, heads bowed in prayer.

4 posted on 03/10/2013 8:20:53 AM PDT by CAluvdubya (Molon Labe)
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To: CatherineofAragon

I guess they forgot NCIS which has 20+million a week.


5 posted on 03/10/2013 8:23:43 AM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: SeekAndFind

Not Scottish...? Call me crazy, but I don’t think Noah was born and raised in the heathered Highlands.


6 posted on 03/10/2013 8:37:50 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization)
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To: CatherineofAragon

We watched, and the discussion with friends over the past week, who also watched too, has been amusing.

Some of our observations:

We had no idea there were Ninja Angels

Moses sometimes had the look of a crazed cult leader, not the meekest man on the earth.

They should have cast a more beautiful woman as Sarah, because she was kidnapped twice for her beauty, and this actress who played the part just wasn’t pretty enough.

What happened to those two servants Abraham took with him when he went to sacrifice Isaac, and we had no idea that Mt. Moriah was close enough that Sarah could run to it from their camp.

Cool part...Pharoah being in the water when it turned to blood.

All in all, it was enjoyable, we just were having fun with the “hollywood version” of the stories.


7 posted on 03/10/2013 8:41:37 AM PDT by memyselfandi59
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To: CatherineofAragon

RE: Call me crazy, but I don’t think Noah was born and raised in the heathered Highlands.

I don’t think Noah spoke English either.


8 posted on 03/10/2013 8:42:40 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Well, of course you’re correct. But the Sean Connery accent could have been toned down a bit...it was jarring, IMO.


9 posted on 03/10/2013 8:52:11 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization)
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To: memyselfandi59

I haven’t watched past the part where the divine visitors came to Abraham’s camp, but I did see the Asian Ninja angel, LOL. Diversity must have been a big trend even then. :)

I did like the forbidding beauty of the ark plunging around in the floodwaters, but I doubt it leaked as badly as shown. Noah covered that thing with pitch, and the whole enterprise was made with the grace of God.


10 posted on 03/10/2013 8:56:01 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization)
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To: SeekAndFind

T.V.!What is t.v.The only time I watch tv is when I’m watching Foxnews or the military channel.The rest of the time I’m watching dvd’s.

I very seldom watch the commercial networks any more.


11 posted on 03/10/2013 9:05:01 AM PDT by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: CatherineofAragon
but I doubt it leaked as badly as shown. Noah covered that thing with pitch, and the whole enterprise was made with the grace of God.

Exactly,and I don't remember Scriptures mentioning Noah's grandchildren. We watched part of it, but hubby kept complaining about the parts that were just wrong, so we stopped watching. I guess it's probably a good tool of evangelism for the un-churched.

12 posted on 03/10/2013 9:22:04 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: memyselfandi59

And don’t forget about the PC angels, one being a chinese ninja, and the other being a black angel. Samson is also black. But the ninja angel was the strangest.


13 posted on 03/10/2013 9:36:18 AM PDT by NKP_Vet
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To: SuziQ

Yes, I agree. I’m being critical, I know, but I can’t lose sight of the fact that a major cable network airing a miniseries about the Bible is a VERY good thing.

I hope and pray Jesus was portrayed at least fairly well...


14 posted on 03/10/2013 9:46:36 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization)
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To: SeekAndFind
"OK, I give up, what kind of accent should he have?"

Well we can safely say Not Scottish being they were a little late to the party. (IIRC the Old Testament was written just a few years before people started speaking with a Gaelic dialect in the British Isles)

15 posted on 03/10/2013 9:57:18 AM PDT by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: NKP_Vet

The angel’s fighting moves were very roman gladiator types and if anything he was more of a samurai not a ninja...


16 posted on 03/10/2013 10:17:33 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: SuziQ

I was complaining about it to my wife as well, and we stopped watching after the first episode. My beef with it was simply this ... God is written out of most scenes. They reduced the Bible from the word of God to a preposterous story with bad casting and bad acting. I felt this would do serious damage to evangelizing to young people because after watching this, they would simply say ... what’s the big deal.

No real creation story (other than Noah telling it)
The ark leaked
Most of God talking to people was inaudible
Nothing about Abram and Melchizedek.
Sarah was not a looker - nothing about being kidnapped 2x.
In this show, Sarah was about 50-55 when she gave Hagar to Abram, still about 50-55 when she had Issac.
The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were not homosexuals, Lot did not offer his daughters.
The ninja angels were just silly.
Ishmael looked to be about 10 when he and Hagar kicked out
Nothing about Issac’s life
No Jacob at all
No 12 tribes, Joseph, Coat, Egypt, saving the people from famine, brothers ending up in Egypt.
Each plague got less than a second of air time.
The future pharaoh figured out Moses killed the guard
Aaron did not speak for Moses
Did not turn the staff to a snake
Pharaoh did not call for the plague that lead to the death of his own son.
Joshua was Moses right hand man before they left Egypt. But no Caleb.
No cloud by day, pillar of fire by night
They did not even digitally image people to show the size of the nation of Israel that left Egypt. You would think it was less than 1000 people.
God apparently could give them dry ground to walk on crossing the Red Sea, but could not keep it from raining cats and dogs and being dark.


17 posted on 03/10/2013 10:44:47 AM PDT by RainMan (It's mourning in America.)
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To: RainMan

And what did you think of last night’s part 2? How about black Samson? And I am still waiting for the big wall of fire that prevented pharoah’s army from getting to Moses and his people, and allowing them to get across the red sea.


18 posted on 03/11/2013 9:18:35 AM PDT by NKP_Vet
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To: NKP_Vet
Sampson was a hunk and so what if he was black I thought he was an Israelite from Africa? Who's so say he was not black?
19 posted on 03/11/2013 5:26:37 PM PDT by angcat
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To: angcat

No historical record whatsover saying Samson was from Africa.


20 posted on 03/11/2013 6:53:07 PM PDT by NKP_Vet
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To: memyselfandi59

-— All in all, it was enjoyable, we just were having fun with the “hollywood version” of the stories. ——

The ninja angels made us laugh too, but overall, the production is very good. I thought Saul was excellent.

Overall, this is a victory for us. If Hollyweird tries to cash in, I’m afraid of getting “conflicted” Moses and PC Jesus.


21 posted on 03/11/2013 7:05:18 PM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas
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