4th February 2019
The ‘sequel’ to The Bible (2013) TV series, was originally shown on Australian TV with the title A.D. Kingdom and Empire in 2015 and is now available on some subscription channels. Even though the series is based on the first ten chapters of the Book of Acts, the latter title is a more accurate a description as it is more a biblical Game of Thrones than a historical docudrama rendition of the Bible stories. The last episode of The Bible series provided a shorter consideration of some key parts of the Book of Acts. The A.D. series has 12 episodes, with the first two connecting with the previous series The Bible and acting to remind or introduce viewers to the context of the new Christian community with a focus on the death and resurrection of Christ.
This series is similar to the SBS aired Vikings in terms of its historical accuracy (lack thereof) and use of truncated time-lines and re-arrangement of historical figures to suit an overall story, rather than a series based solely on the biblical text and historical sources. There is a good amount of creative licence (they are filling in 12 hours or so of material), but there are also some good scenes of biblical message and interaction. The main issue for me is that it suffers from the curse of contemporary television; the reality TV show, and so focusses on personalities and individual perspectives, rather than providing a holistic theology of the bible. Too often, (especially in the later episodes), the main characters are reduced to emotional caricatures in the attempt to personalise them. Essentially it is Hollywood-style television aimed at a nominal Christian audience and culture.
If you watch, have your bible ready and take the opportunity to review and work out what is biblically based and where the creative licence comes in.