FERGUSON: Coming soon: the Bible TV network

March 22, 2013 

The History Channel has been airing a mini-series called “The Bible” for the past few Sunday nights and quite a few people have been watching. More than 50 million people have tuned in to some part of the broadcast over its first three episodes.

A little controversy doesn’t seem to have hurt the ratings, either. It seems the actor playing the part of Satan in the series bears a striking resemblance to an aged version of our current president. Given the likely target audience of the series, I’m not surprised that the resemblance doesn’t seem to have turned away too many potential viewers.

The only thing that is surprising to me about this series is the fact that anyone is surprised by its popularity. There are a lot of Christians in this country and they like to be entertained as much as anyone else. There aren’t exactly a whole lot of viewing options for devout Christians being offered by Hollywood, so when a decent religious-themed movie or television program comes along it shouldn’t be a shock that people show up to buy tickets or tune in for it.

In fact, I think there is huge untapped potential with Christian audiences that someone could turn into a very lucrative business venture. The Bible is chock full of good stories, and I don’t think the 10-hour miniseries the History Channel has produced even scratches the surface of the potential programs that could be produced based on material in Scripture.

I think one could easily launch a whole television network filled solely with shows inspired by the Bible. And I’m not just talking about shows that rehash stories we’re already familiar with and have seen before like the story of Noah or Moses or Jesus.

The writers for the Bible Television network should think outside the box a bit, and give people a fresh look at some of the people and places from Scripture. Here are a few ideas for Bible-based series off the top of my head.

• Leaving Eden (Mondays at 8 p.m.): Follow the adventures of the original “first family” as Adam and Eve learn to cope with life after the fall. The drama is sure to be intense as they are forced to learn to fend for themselves in a suddenly hostile world. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Adam, Vanessa Hudgens as Eve, Morgan Freeman as the voice of God, and Alec Baldwin as the serpent.

• Solomon Knows Best (Wednesdays at 9 p.m.): It’s not easy being the wisest king ever. People are always bringing you their toughest problems and they expect you to have the answer. But Solomon always comes through before the end of the hour, and his solutions are always delivered with a healthy dose of his trademark acerbic wit. Starring Hugh Laurie as Solomon and Beyoncé as the Queen of Sheba.

• James the Less (Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.): Jesus had 12 apostles, and two of them were named James. One James was a member of Jesus’ inner circle and the first of the 12 to be martyred. The other James has always been something of a mystery as little is said about him in the Bible. Until now, that is. Follow the hilarious misadventures of “the other James” and find out why a Gospel writer was once rumored to have said “the less known about James the Less, the better.” Starring Rowan Atkinson as James the Less, Bradley Cooper as James the Greater, and special guest star Jim Caviezel as Jesus.

• The Real Revelation (Fridays at 12 a.m.): For the true Biblical literalists out there comes this animated series that tells Revelation as it is, straight up with no interpretation. See the seven-headed Beast of the Sea, the red-eyed Dragon, the terrifying Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and even the scorpion-tailed locusts brought to life in colorful high definition images sure to keep you awake for many nights to come. Sure to become a cult classic.

Bill Ferguson is a resident of Centerville. Readers can write him at fergcolumn@hotmail.com or visit his blog at nscsense.blogspot.com.

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