Vikings is at least fun to watch, in a sword-swinging, head-chopping, maiden-despoiling sort of way, with Travis Fimmel ( The Beast) as a Viking raider who’s sick of pillaging the same old Baltic towns each year and wants to head west. Unfortunately, his chieftain (Gabriel Byrne) — a guy whose idea of management science is to offer subordinates the chance to sleep with his wife, then kill anybody who shows interest — is opposed. And then there’s Fimmel’s wife (Katheryn Winnick, Bones), pouting at home because she isn’t invited on the raid. Lots of steaming viscera ensues.
The Bible, on the other hand, doesn’t amount to much more than a further piece of evidence that drama and reverence don’t mix well. (To be fair, it would be the prohibitive favorite if only there were an Emmy for Screenplay In Which The Sentences ‘God Has Spoken To Me’ and ‘God Will Provide’ Are Said the Most Times.) With the pace of a music video, the characterizations of a comic book and the political-correctness quotient of a Berkeley vegetarian commune — laughably, the destruction of Sodom is depicted without the faintest hint of the sexual peccadillo that takes its name from the city — this production makes Cecil B. DeMille look like a sober theologian. The Bible marks the first attempt at drama by reality-show maven Mark Burnett, whose soul I would consider in serious jeopardy if it hadn’t already been forfeited during the second season of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?