Tag: the bible

“Of Kings and Prophets” (ABC) pilot preview: when “The Bible” is just… a “Game Of Thrones”

Ofkingsandprophets

Written & produced by Adam Cooper & Bill Collage (Exodus, Assasin’s Creed, Tower Heist, The Transporter Refueled). Co-produced by Chris Brancato (Boomtown, Hannibal, Narcos), Jason Reed (Casino Royale, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter), Reza Aslan (Tyrant) & Mahyad Tousi (We are New York). Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (Hostages, Chicago Fire, Legends, The Day After Tomorrow). For ABC, ABC Studios & BoomGen Studios. 64 pages.

Description: An epic Biblical saga that begins during the reign of Saul, first King of Israel – and follows his dramatic fall from grace and the rise of his successor, David. Living in the land of milk and honey isn’t easy when enemies circle on all sides…

With Oliver Rix (The Muskeeters), Ray Winstone (The Departed, Noah, Hugo Cabret, Indiana Jones 4), Simone Kessell (Underbelly, Terra Nova), Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The Originals, Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens), James Floyd, Mohammad Bakri (Tyrant)…

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Damn! I will say this once and then move on anyway: I don’t think I am legitimate to judge a pilot script like Kings And Prophets‘. Because I don’t know much about The Bible -and I’m not really interested to learn more- so I can’t say if it’s faithful to the “true” story (wink wink) or not. Plus in another news, I don’t watch Game Of Thrones -yeah, you can throw stones at me and spit on my grave when I die. What the writers are cleary trying is to make some sort of biblical version of the HBO hit. But legitimate or not, my vision of what the show might be(come) may not be that uninteresting -yes, I’m selling my article here, please keep reading- since I was dragging my feet to read it and I kind of not hated it along the way. I’m not saying I will watch it if it’s picked-up but I’m curious about the outcome…

Kings and Prophets found the best way possible to attract the young demo towards what traditionally appeals more to the older viewers. It’s not really about teaching people the history of the Israelites, even if it’s inspired by it through The Book of Samuel in the Old Testament -and I’m sure the Jewish community will be attentive- it is more about embarking us on an eventful journey with strong willing, fearless characters who are about to change the lives of thousands of other people. Game of Thrones is a soap opera in its bones. The Bible is too, in a way. Kings and Prophets even more. It’s about lies, treasons, revenge… Death is everywhere all the time. Love is in the air too, but sex is a weapon, for women but not only. There is a feminist vibe thanks to the character of Ahinoam mostly, the first Queen of Israel but also the real King of Israel when you take a closer look at her doings. And her daughters, at least one of them, could follow her steps. In a way, there is some Reign in Kings And Prophets. It’s more adult of course than the CW show but they play with the same cards, they just don’t use it the same way. And Reign is quite a good show, for those who are rolling their eyes right now.

The three main characters are men, obvisouly. Saul (Ray Winstone) is the unworthy old King of Israel who will, sooner or later, die in atrocious conditions. He’s on the edge of madness, he even threatens to kill his son Jonathan who he considers as a traitor. His fall from grace happens because he refuses a genocide God has ordered… Or is it Samuel? Samuel (Mohammad Bakri) is the narrator of the show -and his voiceover is heavily present in the first and the last act, which is necessary to properly understand what happened before we arrive and as you can imagine, a lot happened. He’s the prophet, but above all a giant liar with an hidden agenda. Finally, there’s David (Oliver Rix), the young innocent and handsome shepherd, who will become the Queen’s new beau. We like him very much for obvious reasons, but also because he offers the best scene of the script: a big fight with a lion he defeats beautifully! If done properly, it could be a very impressive moment of television. As long as ABC Studios don’t use too many ugly CGI (I’m probably dreaming there). There’s also a big death in the pilot. And it was all shot in South Africa, which means it should look stunning.

ABC is very high on the show and recently added Narcos‘ Chris Brancato to Kings And Prophets’ team, eyeing him as showrunner if the pilot goes to series. It means it is very likely and according to Deadline, they are already assembling a writers’ room to start working on new scripts ASAP while the order may be as big as 15 episodes for the first season. It sounds like a mid-season show, possibly to replace Once Upon A Time when it is on a break, but we can also imagine a fall launch, right behind Once Upon A Time at 9. I wouldn’t have bet on it before reading the script, now I’m intrigued though not totally convinced. It could crash, it could work, it could even be a hit. Everything’s possible. Time will tell…

“Unveiled” (NBC) pilot preview: “Touched by an Angel” all over again

unveiled

Written & produced by John Sakmar & Kerry Lenhart (Boston Public, Make it or Break it). Co-produced by Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel, The Bible, A.D. The Bible Continues,The Dovekeepers) & Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice, The Shark Tank, The Apprentice, The Bible). For NBC, Universal Television & Lightworks Media. 65 pages.

Description: An ensemble of flawed guardian angels intervene in the lives of those who find themselves facing crisis in an attempt to restore their faith and, often, save their lives. Beyond the veil, a space between Heaven and Earth, two brother angels, Hunter and Lucas, good and evil, are waging war against each other…

With Liam McIntyre (Spartacus: Blood and Sand, The Flash), Connie Nielsen (Boss, The Following, The Good Wife), Will Kemp (Van Helsing, The Great Fire), Dana Davis (Heroes, The Nine, Franklin & Bash), Stephan James (Selma, Degrassi, The LA Complex), Mouzam Makkar

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Dear readers, don’t be fooled by the stunning lady (Connie Nielsen) and the beautiful men (Liam McIntyre & Will Kemp) in the picture up above. They may play angels and they may be very good at it -let’s just hope time won’t tell- but they’re working for very dark forces that need to be stopped as soon as possible. I’m talking about Roma Downey & Mark Burnett, husband & wife, who are trying to turn TV into a giant church. They produced The Bible for History, which was a tremendous success, then the follow-up entitled A.D. The Bible Continues which is coming to NBC in a couple of weeks (we’ll see if it works as much), plus another religious mini-series for CBS called The Dovekeepers, and they’re now responsible for this drama pilot which, in my opinion, should never be revealed to the public. I don’t deny there is a big audience for something like Unveiled, but my problem with it is not the message that it’s carrying -that I don’t approve but have nothing but respect for- it’s the show in itself. You just can’t do something like this in 2015. You just can’t, for Christ’s sake!

Let’s go back to the year 1994. Then started on CBS a show called Touched by an Angel, starring… oh oh… a certain Roma Downey as Monica, a guardian angel who is tasked with bringing guidance and messages from God to various people who are at a crossroads in their lives. Basically, the same story as Unveiled, except here it’s an ensemble show with multiple angels who may not be as joyous and positive as Monica and her friends. The thing is, Touched by an Angel was huge: it lasted 9 seasons, 211 episodes; it even gave birth to a spin-off called Promised Land. It peaked during season 4 as the 5th most watched shows of 1997, behind Friends, ER, Veronica’s Closet and the Sunday Night Football! So it totally makes sense that NBC and Roma Downey thought it might be a good idea to revive the show, but without using the same name or the exact same story. One sure thing: if it’s ordered to series, whenever NBC put it on the schedule (Sundays in spring?), it will skew old, very old. TV has changed and nobody wants to see that anymore. The Bible is epic and you learn things while watching it. Unveiled is just dumb and you learn nothing.

During the opening, a girl in a wedding dress cries her eyes out on a beach, praying for her “Adam” to be safe. Which is a ridiculous image. And then the whole episode tells you the story of poor Adam, through the eyes of our guardian angels, especially one for whom it’s the first day on duty. There’s a second story, with an old man who’s about to commit suicide in front of his wife. In the end, you discover the stories are connected and that’s about the only surprise of the pilot. The rest is exactly what you expect from this kind of show: cliché dialogues, uninspired declarations of love, smooth characters you want to slap in the face… And the perspective of meeting new ones every week made me wanna cry my eyes out like a girl in a wedding dress on a beach. Or drown myself into the ocean directly. About the guardian angels, let’s just say they’re all very kind and mysterious, not funny one second, too buzzy doing good to give anything that could make us care about them. And there’s a lot of sky. A lot of light. A lot of sun. A lot of water. A lot of “ethereal” music. It’s heaven on earth, mostly Los Angeles, California. But the pilot is shot in Vancouver in March, meaning there won’t be that much of light and sun. In the very end, there’s an hint of Spartacus/Game Of Thrones with a sword fight, but no blood. It comes out of nowhere but I guess it’s their way of saying: look how modern we are! Well it’s an epic fail, guys.

Sorry Father. Forgive me for I have sinned. But these awful things needed to be said loud and clear. Unveiled should never ever see the light of day. Not on a network. Not in 2015. Not in real life! And I can assure I will pray for it everyday until the Upfronts week. Hear me out.