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A.D.: The Bible Continues


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Link to our thread on The Bible (2013).

Deadline is reporting that NBC has made a deal to broadcast the sequel to The Bible. More later.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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What? No listing of every apostolic-era movie ever made, with links to the A&F, Promontory, and Novogate threads on them?

Just kidding. Interesting news. Beyond the Bible seems an odd title, however, since presumably at least the first part of the sequel will be based on the Acts of the Apostles.

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Link to my blog post on the announcement.

Rushmore wrote:

: What? No listing of every apostolic-era movie ever made, with links to the A&F, Promontory, and Novogate threads on them?

Heh.

: Just kidding. Interesting news. Beyond the Bible seems an odd title, however, since presumably at least the first part of the sequel will be based on the Acts of the Apostles.

It sounds like pretty much the *entire* sequel will take place within the timeframe of Acts, actually. The press release says things like "High priests and the Herod dynasty vie for power" and "as the storm around them breaks, the fate of Israel, of Rome and of their faith is decided." This sounds to me like the mini-series is going to cover the roughly 40-year period between the Resurrection and the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 -- which is only a few years longer than the Book of Acts, which ends with the end of Paul's house arrest in Rome c. AD 62.

If the mini-series *does* go all the way to the fall of Jerusalem, then I'm curious to see how it fits the Church into that framework, because most of the key apostles had been martyred by that point (e.g. Peter and Paul, who were both killed by Nero shortly after the burning of Rome in AD 64), and, come to think of it, even the ones who *weren't* martyred had long since left Judea by that point (the main exception being James the Just, who was martyred in AD 62).

FWIW, A.D.: Beyond the Bible is just a working title at this point, but it cannot help but remind me of *another* NBC mini-series that I fell in love with 28 years ago, i.e. A.D.: Anno Domini, which *also* began with the Resurrection (with the two men on the road to Emmaus, in fact) and concluded with the martyrdom of Peter and Paul and the decision by a fictitious former Jewish zealot living in Rome to return to Palestine... just in time for the Jewish-Roman war, I've always supposed!

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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If they're going to do the rest of the New Testament, 3/4 of the episodes will just be Paul writing in his prison cell.

Or they could try to reconstruct what was going on around the writing and reception of the letters back and forth. That could actually be interesting.

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Tyler wrote:

: Or they could try to reconstruct what was going on around the writing and reception of the letters back and forth. That could actually be interesting.

It *could* be. But the press release's emphasis on the Palestine-specific politics of the era leads me to think that there would be very little room for the travels of Paul in this mini-series. I suppose they might have to include *some* non-Palestinian stuff to explain why Paul keeps visiting Jerusalem and stirring things up, but at this stage I'm not counting on much more than that.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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A few new quotes from Mark Burnett on his long-term ambitions for the follow-up mini-series, e.g.: "We see this going on many years. Think of how many seasons it would take to get to something as significant as Constantine."

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 10 months later...

Ladies and gentlemen... the third-most-popular post in the history of my blog (at least since Patheos stated keeping stats two years ago)... is this little thing.

 

My mind is kind of boggled by this. All I did on Sunday was post a few sentences to the effect that A.D. will premiere on Easter Sunday next year. But apparently someone picked it up and linked to it yesterday, and whoosh! This two-day-old piece has now been viewed more often than anything I've written in the past two years (or more) except for my 'No, Noah Is Not Gnostic!' blog post from last month and my 'Ridley Scott's Moses movie will be "shocking", says Bale' post from November. And yesterday was the second-most-visited day in my blog's history (behind only the day after I wrote my 'No, Noah Is Not Gnostic!' post).

 

I... don't know what to make of this. But I'll take the hits!

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 5 months later...

They shot the Crucifixion yesterday. Still no word on who's actually *acting* in this series.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Our first look at the (unusually diverse) cast.

 

I suspect this statement would get me in trouble with some people, but what can I say: I value authenticity over diversity. And this is *especially* crucial, I would argue, in a story about how the Church grew out of its Palestinian Jewish origins to incorporate Hellenistic Jews (like Stephen and Philip) and then to include Ethiopians and Romans and beyond. When you put all that diversity in the Church *at the very beginning*, you kind of lose the narrative thrust of Acts. (Yes, yes, Acts tells us that Jews from all over the world, who spoke many different languages, were present for the first Pentecost... but they were still Jews. Know what I mean? And of course part of the whole *point* of the Pentecost story is that the Twelve were *not* so diverse, and thus their ability to communicate in all those languages *surprised* everyone.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 1 month later...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Apparently this series -- or at least its first "season" (assuming there are any more) -- will cover only the first 10 chapters of Acts. I can think of a few ways that that could actually be kind of interesting, given that this series will reportedly dwell on the politics of first-century Judea: since Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod Antipas were all deposed between AD 36 and 39, and since Acts 10 takes place in the late 30s (or maybe early 40s), the downfall of those political figures could give the show a certain narrative arc.

 

But it's interesting that the series' website says the series will make use of Paul's letters, since Paul hadn't *written* anything at this point, and the only real biographical bit of data that applies here is Paul's statement in Galatians 1 that he spent three years in Damascus and Arabia *after* his conversion before he returned to Jerusalem to visit Peter. (Acts 9 doesn't mention that three-year gap, but then, Luke-Acts tends to mention things out of chronological order sometimes, e.g. it mentions John the Baptist's arrest *before* it mentions Jesus' baptism.) Oh, and Paul also gives a slightly different account of his escape from Damascus in II Corinthians 11 than Acts 9 gives. (Paul says he was fleeing the Nabatean i.e. Arab authorities, while Acts says he was fleeing "the Jews".)

 

Elsewhere, Mark Burnett showed the film to some African-American pastors and used the film's casting of black actors as Galilean Jews as a selling point, and they wanted to know why Jesus wasn't black -- for "accuracy's" sake! Bizarrely -- and I've heard this argument quite a few times lately, but it's still bizarre -- the argument goes that Revelation 1, with its reference to hair that is "white as wool", is a description of the historical Jesus who ate, slept, and pooped in first-century Palestine and not a description of a mystical vision that the author of Revelation had. (This is the same vision in which a double-edged sword comes out of Jesus' mouth.)

 

The complaint also ignores the fact that Burnett & Downey have presumably been casting Portuguese and/or Latin American actors as Jesus in their various projects partly because they wanted to get away from the blue-eyed, blonde-haired stereotype of earlier films, using actors who look more plausibly Mediterranean. So it's not like they haven't been trying to diversify or move in a more "accurate" direction on *that* level.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My latest video round-up, including the first clip from the series, plus four new trailers and a couple of TV interviews.

 

An earlier "special preview" that I forgot to link to in February.

 

An even earlier "first look" video that I also forgot to link to here.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The latest video round-up, including B-roll footage, character profiles and other videos with clips from the series.

 

Watch the Virgin Mary soothe Peter's guilt over the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira! Watch Caligula (and Tiberius?) visit Pontius Pilate personally *in Judea*! Watch Thomas say "My Lord" but not "and my God", and watch Jesus eat bread instead of a fish to prove that he has a body! (Yes, I'm a nit-picker.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My exclusive interview with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. "Exclusive" sounds a bit silly, I guess, as they've been doing *lots* of interviews, but this was a one-on-one (or should I say, one-on-two? two-on-one?) phoner, and I think I managed to ask one or two questions that haven't come up in other interviews, without sounding *too* Bible-movie-geeky.

 

Oh, and Roma said they like my blog. Eep. Now I have to watch what I say! :)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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My recap of the first episode.

 

I spent far too long noodling this one. Hopefully, as future episodes transition into the book of Acts, there'll be less to say (because I won't be bouncing around the four gospels, and because there are a lot less films about Acts -- so on both points, there'll be a lot less reference points to worry about). (But if this series gets renewed for another season, then I'll have to start bouncing back and forth between Acts and the letters of Paul -- fun fun fun!)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Seventeen new videos, including a preview of next Sunday's episode that gives us our best look yet at how this series will handle the Ascension (heavy, heavy, *heavy* on the special effects!).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Episode 2 recap, in which I look at how the series sometimes harmonizes the gospels and sometimes doesn't, how it *really* pumps up the gratuitous violence (Cornelius threatens to strike Mary Magdalene, and later on he murders some Jewish temple guards, while the disciples get the Zealots to throw Molotov cocktails at the Romans so that the disciples can escape Jerusalem without being seen -- and that's just for starters!), and how it revises the Ascension to bring it in line with certain expectations regarding the Second Coming.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The show has slipped in the ratings over the course of its first three weeks. The series is now drawing less viewers than either episode of The Dovekeepers did. And it's well, well below the viewership of The Bible. (Just to compare how this show is doing to previous Mark & Roma productions.)

 

My Episode 3 recap is a bit delayed, but in the meantime, here are a couple of clips from Episode 4, which airs on Sunday.

 

Interestingly, the YouTube clips embedded here -- which were posted to YouTube by Mark & Roma's company Lightworkers Media -- are "unlisted", which means they don't show up on the Lightworkers YouTube page, nor do they show up in searches of YouTube and the like. They're not "private", but they're not as "public" as they could be either. So when you watch the videos on the YouTube page itself, there's a note warning you not to share the video unless you're absolutely sure that that would be okay with whoever uploaded it.

 

And how do I even know that these videos exist in the first place? Because the publicists sent out e-mails with links to these videos, telling/asking us to share them.

 

Sometimes I just don't understand *what* the thought process is behind some of these decisions... But anyhoo, if the e-mails that alerted me to the existence of these videos asked me to share them, then share them I will.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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