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Why I'm loving 'A.D. The Bible Continues'

Jesus is dead. His followers are scattered. Jerusalem is experiencing earthquakes. Religious leaders fear a fake resurrection. Political leaders fear a real rebellion. Everyone in the city is reeling from the intense events of the last few days of Passover. Everyone is waiting to see if Jesus’ prophecy about himself will be fulfilled. This is the political, social, and emotional climate in which A.D. The Bible Continues finds itself.

A.D. asks many questions: What did life look like after the death and resurrection of Jesus? How did these events affect his friends, his family, his followers? How did they affect Jerusalem? These events birthed the entire Christian faith, but how did it all start? How did a small group of rejected men and women start a movement that to this day continues to expand across the globe? These are the questions A.D. seeks to answer, and I am fascinated to see how they are going to convey the rich elements of this story.

As a fan of Biblical history, I am thrilled that NBC, along with executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, are presenting such an incredible retelling of the Christian church’s early days. As a student of the Bible, I have read and studied the New Testament extensively. I know the names of every apostle, every brave man and woman mentioned in the Bible. Men and women who faced persecution, imprisonment, and death for what they believed. The birth of the Christian church was not glamorous, nor was it easy. Today Christianity is a prominent religion, but it was not always so. Churches met in small rooms, sometimes in secret, because persecution was so prevalent. The first Christian martyr, Stephen; the imprisonment of Paul and Silas; even the crucifixion of some of the disciples—all of these important Biblical milestones will likely be addressed in this 12-episode series.

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A Diverse British Cast
A.D. The Bible Continues
not only brings to life the remarkable story, but it showcases some wonderful actors. I was surprised at how many familiar faces I saw in the cast. First, the show’s main antagonist (so far) is the priest Caiaphas, played by Covert Affairs alum Richard Coyle. Coyle has also been in Crossbones, Prince of Persia, and Coupling. Caiaphas’ wife, Leah, is played by Jodhi May, who is known for her roles in Emma, Defiance, On a Clear Day, and the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. Pontius Pilate, the Roman who ultimately sentenced Jesus to death, is played by Vincent Regan. Regan’s most notable roles include parts in 300, Atlantis, and E’s new hit series The Royals. Downton Abbey‘s beloved Mr. Mosley—Kevin Doyle—also made an appearance as a friend of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea.

I also love the racial diversity of the cast: Both the angel who rolls the tombstone away (British actor Lonyo Engele) and John the Beloved—played by Babou Ceesay (a Gambian/British actor known for his roles in Inspector Lewis and Getting On) are black actors. Mary Magdalene is played by Zimbabwean actress Chipo Chung, who was in Doctor Who, Camelot, and The Politician’s Husband. Considering that most Bible films and series are known for casting all white actors and actresses, this is a refreshing change and a step in the right direction.

Historical Setting
The show’s setting—ancient Jerusalem and the surrounding Mediterranean cities of Damascus, Antioch, and Rome—all take center stage in this story. In the first episode we see Jerusalem and the hills of Golgotha (Calvary), where Jesus was crucified. As the show beings to tell the story of Paul and other apostles, we are sure to venture into what we now consider Turkey and Italy. If the story progresses to tell of Paul’s arrest in Rome, we are sure to see some Gladiator-esque sites and landmarks.

In-Depth Christian History
The subject matter this show is tackling is a remarkable mix of historical storytelling, fictional narrative, and regional and religious tensions. If you are a history buff and love religious history, this series will lend a hand toward understanding the context of the early Common Era and the New Testament texts, including the Book of Acts, First and Second  and Paul’s letters to the churches. If you identify as a Christian, I believe this show is vital to understanding the events that birthed the Christian church. If you don’t identify as a person of faith or a student of history, you can definitely enjoy this show purely for its dramatic qualities. The music is sweeping, the costumes are rich, the setting is Israel in the year 33 A.D./C.E., and the tension between the religious leaders in Israel and their Roman oppressors is visceral.

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A.D. The Bible Continues airs Sundays on NBC 9/8C.


TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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