This Memorial Day weekend, NBC hopes to see a rating boost with interesting things planned for both their shows American Odyssey and A.D. The Bible Continues. The shows air during the 9 P.M. To 11P.M. slot on May 24, which makes them prime time. Both shows are nearing towards the end of their first seasons, with only three more episodes to go before their June 7 season finales.
A.D. The Bible Continues might also be renewed for a second season by NBC, but its ratings have not been that great so far. On Rotten Tomatoes, reviewers gave it a 4.8 out of a 10 and it has been panned by critics for not having a fresh take, but it has also managed to get a fan base on Twitter. If most users have ‘religion’, ‘Christ’, ‘Jesus’ in their Twitter handles, it is but expected.
— alan (@lifechurchalan) May 18, 2015
American Odyssey is up for an Emmy consideration, if Twitter is to believed, and has already managed to get a fan-base petitioning for the show to be renewed for a second season on NBC. The show also has a good rating on Rotten Tomatoes where it got a 7.3 on a scale of 10.
— Robyn Rudd (@lisette225) May 22, 2015
— Peter Facinelli (@peterfacinelli) May 22, 2015
A.D. The Bible Continues
The show airs at 9 P.M. every Sunday and was produced by Mark Burnett of The Voice, Shark Tank, Survivor fame and his wife, Roma Downey, actress in Touched By an Angel and The Bible. The couple have produced The Dovekeepers for CBS that also aired this year, on Mar. 31. The show takes off after the Crucifixion and follows the lives of the disciples who are now charged with spreading the message of Christ, post History’s The Bible series. After each episode, viewers can turn to watch Beyond A.D., NBC’s digital talk show where guests discuss the actual show.
This week’s episode will follow Saul of Tarsus as he makes his way to Damascus hunting Peter, but he has a vision that leads to him being baptized and becoming Paul the Apostle. Pontius Pilate’s gets into further trouble.
TV Insider called it “fresh in its approach to the texts” and “inspired.” Deadline Hollywood, in its video review of the show, prior to its release called it a main network attempt to cross The Game of Thrones with House of Cards. The show is changing how Hollywood sees Christianity, said the singer and former American Idol contestant, Colton Dixon in a The Christian Post interview. He said that it was not just a show meant for the believers and people who frequent religious organizations, but also for “non-believers” who wonder what the Bible is all about.
A.D. The Bible Continues has met with its fair share of criticism too, as Entertainment Weekly reviewer, Jeff Jensen, graded it a “C-” and called it a piece of “Christian pop.” He says that the production is chintzy and the actors too earnest.
American Odyssey, like A.D. The Bible Continues, also draws in a lot of viewers for NBC and even more are expected to come in this Memorial Day weekend. One of the show’s executive producers, Simon Maxwell imagined it as a take on the modern-day version of Homer’s Odyssey. It airs at 10 P.M. and follows Sergeant Odelle Ballard, who starts uncovering the plot behind the funding of terrorist cells. She’s joined by Peter Decker, a corporate litigator and Harrison Walters, a social activist, as they race to expose the conspiracy.
This week’s episode sees Odelle hit by an attack on Shakir Khan while Odelle’s daughter back in the U.S. makes a new friend. Peter brokers a deal with Alex Baker, the CEO of Societal Mining. Harrison’s relationship with Ruby is also under scrutiny.
NBC is actively promoting the show by releasing the website Explore American Odyssey, where viewers can trace all the destinations in the show. Rob Lowman at the Los Angeles Daily News, calls it an intriguing show that conspiracy theorists will love. He says that it is edgier than Homeland with a cinematic sweep.
The show has been called overtly melodramatic by TV Insider because Ballard, portrayed by Anna Friel, keeps getting into trouble one after the other. They also said that the tension tends to sag when attention is diverted from Ballard’s life to the other two characters. Deadline Hollywood reviewer, Dominic Patton praised NBC for taking on such an ambitious project, but said that fans of Homeland will feel like they have seen it before. He calls it a “sub-plot taken from the series” and said that he almost imagined some of the Homeland actors to show up. He calls is too busy at times and says that it loses focus, unless viewers watch it for “the journey and not the destination,” he adds.
Both shows, have faced some problems since their release. While American Odyssey was in danger of being cancelled after its ratings fell by 27 percent in its second week, A.D. The Bible Continues has been performing better for NBC. The Nielsen TV Ratings for both shows are better than some of the other shows in the time slot which air on CBS, ABC and Fox. Last week 2.63 million viewers saw American Odyssey while 4.80 million viewers tuned in for A.D. The Bible Continues.
By Anugya Chitransh
TV By the Numbers: Sunday Final Ratings: ‘The Simpsons’ & ‘Billboard Music Awards’ Adjusted Up
The Christian Post: ‘A.D. The Bible Continues’ Is Making a Difference in Hollywood, Says ‘American Idol’ Contestant Colton Dixon
Los Angeles Daily News: Review: ‘American Odyssey’ is an intriguing new conspiracy show
Entertainment Weekly: A.D. The Bible Continues: EW review
TV Insider: Roush Review, Weekend Edition: Critic’s Takes on Wolf Hall, A.D., American Odyssey, and More
Photo Courtesy of Geoffrey Fairchild’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License