Monday, March 04, 2013
On The Bible, History Channel, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Angels
O what have they done to thee?
You used to be the Word of God
And now thee’s bad TV
That’s what I thought last night when I started watching “The Bible” on History Channel last night. It’s Hollywoodishly dramatic enough that when my good wife fell asleep watching it and awoke during “The Vikings” which followed, she assumed the latter was a continuation of the former and wondered which book of the Bible the producers were mangling now. Only when a Viking ship appeared did it become clear it was a whole ‘nother show.
Now let me say I am not a Biblical scholar or a literal, inerrantist type of the first order. But I do have high regard for this sacred text, so much that I have read, studied, taught and preached from it for years. While the stories in the television show bore some resemblance to the stories in beloved Good Book, the enactment of them was … well, to be nice … a bit of a departure.
I mean mutant teenage Ninja turtle warriors rescuing Lot and his family??? That was my thought, at least, when I saw the scenes of the family fleeing Sodom – a huge Black angel and a shorter Asian angel dressed in armor that looked like the Ninja turtles and hacking all the unbelievers to death with swords and judo style moves. Gimme a break. Fire and brimstone from above isn’t enough? Besides, I don’t recall even an authoritative version such as the Living Bible saying anything about the angels having to fight their way out of Sodom. That version declares “the angels …rushed them to safety outside the city.” (Genesis 19:14)
And the accents?? “You don't want people talking King James English,” said one of the people associated with the program, but they certainly speak the King’s English.” British accents dominate (not surprisingly, I guess since many of the actors are British), but to say it’s off-putting is an understatement.
Then there is the actor’s appearance – English with bad Roman-esque hairdos (for those characters into sartorial grooming) and dirty faces. Perhaps they didn’t have soap and water in Old Testament times.
The Bible is a powerful text. Why, oh, why do entertainment types feel the need to soap-opera, action film it up? I guess that’s what one should expect when this “version” is produced by husband-and-wife team of Roma Downey of “Touched by an Angel,” and Mark Burnett, of CBS’s “Survivor.” Sigh.
I could only take about an hour of this nonsense. I gave up and retired with a good book. I’d suggest you skip watching “The Bible” and read it instead. In the case of this mini-series (emphasis on “mini” in many ways), the book really is better than the movie.