Where History Channel’s hit miniseries "The Bible" left off in 2013 with the cliffhanger featuring Jesus’ disciple John taking up the mantle of spreading the news about the Christ, NBC’s "A.D. The Bible Continues" picks up with his and the story of many other disciples living in an exciting yet treacherous era following the crucifixion.
The two series’ executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, responsible also for NBC’s “The Voice" explore the later chapters of Biblical history and NBC hopes to duplicate the success History Channel had with “The Bible” -- a 10-parter which reached 13.1 million viewers in March and wrapped up Easter Sunday 2013 with 11.7 million.
“When Mark Burnett was launching The Bible on cable, I told him, without hesitation, that if he wanted to tell more of the story, we’d love to do it at NBC,” said NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a release in December 2013. “We value our relationship with Mark and Roma and know that no one could bring this story to life better than them."
The immediate aftermath of Christ's death had a massive impact on his disciples, his mother, Mary, and key political and religious leaders of the era, completely altering the entire world in an instant. The series will focus on the disciples who – in the face of mockery and threats of violence - had to go forward and spread the teachings of Christ to a world dominated by political unrest. They used Christ’s teachings to start of a whole new religion for which the world – at the time- was not ready.
Viewers will see a new Jesus, played by Juan Pablo Di Pace, die on the cross at the hands of the Romans; Peter (Adam Levy) and the disciples are hunted by Temple authorities led by High Priest Caiaphas (Richard Coyle) and Roman soldiers carry out the violent orders of Governor Pontius Pilate (Vincent Regan).
The story, written by two-time BAFTA nominee Simon Block (The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall), recounts the miracle of the Resurrection and the shocking arrival of the Holy Spirit at the Day of Pentecost, enabling them to inspire more and more people to join. The growing church brings challenges for Peter, John (Babou Alieu Ceesay) and Mary Magdalene (Chipo Chung) who they face trials, imprisonments, persecutions and floggings while grappling with the new God-given power granted to them to perform Christ-like miracles and inspire throngs of people.
"A.D. The Bible Continues" is a production of LightWorkers Media. Richard Bedser serves as executive producer alongside Downey and Burnett.
“A.D.” is only one of the religious projects Downy and Burnett have in store for viewers this season. The two are reviving a miniseries called “The Dovekeepers” based on Alice Hoffman's novel of the same name which airs on CBS this Tuesday and Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT. Set around 70 A.D, the series is about four women in Masada, a Judean desert in Israel, who were part of the roughly 900 Jews that kept the Roman military at bay from a takeover.
“You might think the story is over at the Crucifixion, but as most of the world knows, that was only the beginning,” said NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. "Everyone’s lives were completely altered in an instant and the immediate aftermath of Christ’s death had an impact on his disciples, his mother Mary, and key political and religious leaders of the time. In the first episode alone you see the last moments of the Crucifixion, Judas taking his own life after betraying Christ, Peter denying Jesus three times, and then the miracle of the Resurrection. We feel so fortunate to be in the hands of Mark and Roma, who have proven that the greatest story ever told is still just that.”
“A.D. The Bible” competes with ABC’s Easter classic Cecil B. Demille’s “The Ten Commandments” on Sunday, April 5 (7:00-11:44 p.m., ET). The first of the 10 episodes airs at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.
Here is a preview of “A.D. The Bible Continues.”