Is The Bible Comfort TV?

TV WATCH - The first part of the History Channel’s miniseries “The Bible” was watched by 13.1 million people on Sunday night.

This is a huge number, another shiv in the guts of network television. As the New York Times noted, it is double the number of viewers who watched anything on NBC last month, and even more people than watch “The Walking Dead,” another cable show that makes network TV executives drool. 

The success of “The Bible” is and is not surprising. That’s a huge audience, and a huge audience for a bad series — plodding, stiff, dull, God-is-a-white-guy-with-sandy-blond-hair kind of bad. 

But it has been demonstrated before that there is a huge market for religious-based, evangelical-leaning entertainments, of which “The Bible” is clearly one. (Mark Burnett, the producer of “Survivor” and a very canny finder of eyeballs, is one of the series’ producers.) 

Part of the reason the series is so middling is that it is explicitly constructed not to offend this demographic: It isn’t even serious about all of the crises of faith chronicled in the actual Bible, because that would require elucidating … crises of faith. (Read more … including why the author wishes for more The Bible type programs … here.)  




Vol 11 Issue 20

Pub: Mar 8, 2013