It has been a trusted canon for historians, caused wars and persecution throughout the centuries and has been a source of comfort and encouragement for many generations.
Last month, The History Channel released “The Bible,” a mini-series that chronologically depicts the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In its debut, “The Bible” recorded over 13.1 million viewers, the highest television audience of 2013.
In the weeks to follow it would rack up over 70 million viewers, making it the highest rated cable television show of 2013. Produced by Roma Downey (“Touched By An Angel”) and Mark Burnett (“Shark Tank,” “Survivor,” “The Voice”) and musically inspired by renowned composer Hans Zimmer,(“The Dark Knight,” “Inception”) the quality of the production stands “shoulders above the rest” compared to other biblical adaptations, according to pastor and author Dr. Rick Warren, an advisor to the production.
The series features several popular Bible characters such as Abraham, Moses, David and Daniel en route to the focus of the series, Jesus. Junior Rick Fenimore has watched the series, and has enjoyed it.
“To be able to see the stories that we grew up hearing about in Sunday School and then seeing them shown through such a graphic representation gives me a fresh perspective of what they endured and overcame,” said Fenimore.
Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado plays Jesus. Jesus is portrayed as more human than previous adaptations, which lends a more human element when he’s on screen. Junior Rachel Long saw the show and was impressed by its realism.
“After seeing Jesus portrayed cinematically, it was if I was seeing a picture of a friend I’d only talked to, for the first time,” Long said.
The audience was not solely impacted by Morgado’s interpretation of Christ. Morgado was touched by playing his role.
“If the goal of an actor is to tell the best story ever, there’s no higher story than Jesus Christ,” Morgado said. “It’s the ultimate love story, and the way he can touch people, it’s just a privilege, it’s just beyond words, having this opportunity of doing this.”
“It was really a personal journey and a spiritual journey and it touched me, in a way that I’m still digesting,” Morgado said. “It didn’t end with the shooting. It’s still alive.”
The series ended on Easter Sunday, and according to TVB.org, the show earned a 3.3 rating among adults ages 25 to 54 years of age. This 3.3 rating earned it the number 20 spot of most watched network and cable TV shows for the week ending March 24, 2013.
With adults 18 to 49 years of age, the series took the number 18 spot. It is a trend that Hollywood producers are starting to catch on to, as producer and ORU alumnus Phil Cooke pointed out in his interview with the Christian Post.
“There’s no question that decision makers in Hollywood and the media business are getting the message,” Cooke said. “It’s simply good business to respect that audience, and I think the vast majority of media leaders I encounter totally get that.”
The Bible series rolled away the stone on something Christians have been craving: a well-produced representation of their faith and the Scripture they hold dear.
Producers are also seeing that the return on investment for tapping into this niche is could reap untold benefits while impacting lives in the process.
After production had ended, Downey reminisced over the completed project.
“It struck me that we had stepped out on this journey together to bring the Bible to the screen, from Genesis to Revelation, and here we were on the last day bookending, shooting the beginning and the end, the first and the last, the alpha and the omega.”