Epic miniseries 'The Bible' is now out on home video
05:00 AM, Apr 06, 2013
The 10-hour miniseries The Bible made history for the History Channel, drawing unprecedented viewing audiences to the cable network in March. The final two-hour episode — which depicted the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ aired on Easter Sunday and was seen by 13.1 million people.
Those who want to revisit it or see it for the first time won’t have to wait for it to arrive on home video. The Bible: The Epic Miniseries (2013, 20th Century Fox, TV-14, $60; Blu-ray, $70) is just out on home video in high definition. It dramatizes familiar stories from both the Old and New Testaments starting with the Creation story being related by Noah on the ark. Exodus, Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath, the birth of Christ, the Last Supper, Daniel and the lion’s den and many other stories are retold.
Husband and wife team Mark Burnett (producer of such reality shows as Survivor, The Voice and Celebrity Apprentice) and actress Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) were inspired to make the miniseries after watching Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments for the first time in years. For Burnett, it was his first time producing a scripted show.
Their idea was to not only adapt the individual stories for a modern audience, but connect them all in one sweeping narrative. They consulted with dozens of theologians, scholars and religious leaders about the scripts, though they also warn viewers that, “This program is an adaptation of Bible stories that changed our world. It endeavors to stay true to the spirit of the book.”
They surprisingly managed to attract a large audience to the $22 million epic, which used computer-generated effects and is narrated by actor Keith David but lacked a big-name cast. Roma who portrays Mother Mary in four of the 10 episodes is the cast member most familiar to American audiences. The ensemble is mostly European, with Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado as Jesus Christ. It benefited from endorsements by several high-profile religious leaders, including some of the consultants. The March 31 finale’s ratings rivaled those of the season-ending episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead in head-to-head competition. It also faced the season-opening episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
The four-disc set comes with hours of behind-the-scenes footage and special features: Burnett and Downey discuss the difficulties of filming and casting the miniseries; a look at the recording session for the soundtrack with composer Hans Zimmer and soloist Lisa Gerrard; a montage of the production’s visual effects; and “Believing in Miracles” the cast and crew relive what they saw as magical moments that happened while filming in Morocco.