Thursday, April 07, 2005

Omnium Finis Imminent

I don't usually post any comments that are overtly political or highly opinionated. There are a lot of bloggers who do such a good job, I tend to read everyone else and just nod in agreement. But last night while we were watching the season finale of West Wing, we were bombarded with promotions for a mini-series called Revelations. Revelations? Yes, Revelations is going to be on NBC. That sounded ominous to me. In fact, the floating latin phrase on the screen was exactly this: Omnium Finis Imminent. Ah yes, NBC is going to bring us The End of Days. We muted the commercials, as we always do, so I have no idea what this fun-filled six hours will sound like, but it looked unbearable. I went over to NBC and found this short description:

"COULD THE END OF DAYS BE NEAR? -- From executive producer Gavin Polone ("Panic Room") and writer/creator David Seltzer ("The Omen") comes "Revelations," a six-hour event series starring Bill Pullman ("Independence Day") as Harvard professor Dr. Richard Massey, an astrophysicist who is certain that all worldly events can be explained by Science. In the series premiere, Dr. Massey is dealing with the tragic murder of his 12-year-old daughter by a maniacal murderer, Isaiah Haden (Michael Massee, "24"), who was captured and imprisoned. After a strange course of events, Massey is challenged by a nun, Sister Josepha Montafiore (Natascha McElhone, "Solaris"), who leads him on a journey through the unfamiliar world of faith. Drawn together by personal tragedy, these unlikely partners -- one who worships God and one who worships Science -- are propelled into a deepening mystery, finding evidence that the world, as predicted by The Book of Revelation, has reached The End of Days. Also starring, Chelsey and Brittney Coyle, Tobin Bell and John Rhys-Davies. TV-14."

This doesn't sound good at all. I thought, I can't be alone in my apprehension. So, I googled NBC Revelations and came up with some interesting pre-reviews.
Frederick Smith, an Oxford educated Episcopal priest and biblical scholar at Southern Methodist University weighed in on the dark, six-episode miniseries, which is a portrayal of the so-called "End of Days," and is soaked with special effects miracles, comatose children speaking in Latin and other biblical symbolism.
According to Schmidt, fundamentalists have hijacked the New Testament Revelation as a literal prediction of how the world ends rather than a poetic interpretation of the harsh experiences of the early Christians.
That idea is behind the highly successful, fundamentalist "Left Behind" phenomenon — named for the wildly popular and highly controversial series of novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, which Schmidt says the NBC miniseries is piggybacking on.
NBC officials say their show — which airs next month — has no relationship with the "Left Behind" series.
But it does use some similar material.
"The way in which they [NBC] are treating the book of Revelation and the way in which they are treating Christian imagery, the central assumptions . . . are fundamentalist readings of the book of Revelation," says Schmidt. "So I think the associations with the ['Left Behind'] series are all but inevitable."
A review in The Wichita Eagle said:
Inspired by the New Testament's Book of Revelation, the show is about a Harvard professor, played by Bill Pullman, who teams with a nun to try to stop what they believe is the beginning of Armageddon. That's not a premise commonly tackled on "The West Wing" or "ER," but NBC executives are praying that "Revelations," which will run for six episodes starting April 13, can connect with the same audience that turned Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" and Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' apocalyptic "Left Behind" series into best sellers, and Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" into a box-office smash.
Yes, Revelations, End of Days as a box-office smash. Let's cash in on fundamentalist madness, shall we?
What really bothers me is the soul-searching all the vapid pundits will do. It's the round table discussions that this tripe will spawn. And nary a one will even talk about the dangerous absurdity of it. It's make-believe, folks. All of it. Even the "original text." Oh, I am not happy.

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