Alissa’s Note: A.D. The Bible Continues begins airing on Easter Sunday, and during its run, each week Peter Chattaway will be writing recaps of each episode as they air. Recaps involve spoilers, especially if you’re not familiar with the Bible story.

Episode 1: 'The Tomb Is Open'

There are four gospels in the New Testament, each of which include parts of the story that the others leave out. So in a way, it makes sense for Mark Burnett and Roma Downey to produce a whole new dramatization of the death and resurrection of Jesus just two years after they first ventured into this territory with their hit miniseries The Bible.

The first season of A.D. The Bible Continues has been billed as an adaptation of the first ten chapters of Acts, but the first episode sticks to the gospels instead. In fact, it follows the same basic arc as the ninth episode of The Bible, from the trial before Pilate to the discovery of Jesus' empty tomb—but it gets from one point to the other by a very different route.

For one thing, where the earlier series made Nicodemus a major character, the new series focuses on Joseph of Arimathea—and it explores questions I had never really considered before. How did the high priest Caiaphas react when he heard that Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin like himself, had provided a tomb for Jesus mere hours after Caiaphas and the others had condemned Jesus for his "blasphemy"? After all, since the priests asked Pilate to post a guard outside the tomb, they must have known whose tomb it was.

The new series also focuses on the Roman centurion Cornelius. In the Bible, he appears only in Acts 10, as a devout and God-fearing man who becomes the first Gentile convert to ...

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Watch This Way
How we watch matters at least as much as what we watch. TV and movies are more than entertainment: they teach us how to live and how to love one another, for better or worse. And they both mirror and shape our culture.
Alissa Wilkinson
Alissa Wilkinson is Christianity Today's chief film critic and assistant professor of English and humanities at The King's College in New York City. She lives in Brooklyn.
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