"The greatest story ever told … has a final chapter." That's the tagline for NBC's new six-hour miniseries, "Revelations," which debuts April 13 at 9 p.m. ET. It will run on consecutive Wednesday evenings in "The West Wing" slot, which is shortening its season this year.
'Revelations' debuts next Wednesday on NBC.
That's the tagline for NBC's new six-hour miniseries, "Revelations," which debuts April 13 at 9 p.m. ET. It will run on consecutive Wednesday evenings in "The West Wing" slot, which is shortening its season this year.
Veteran actor Bill Pullman plays astrophysicist Richard Massey, whose 12-year-old daughter has just been slain in a Satanic ritual. He's understandably devastated and in no mood for making friends when Sister Josepha Montifiore (Natascha McElhone) approaches him for help.
She works for a renegade religious foundation that's documenting how the Bible's prophecies are coming to pass. Her work puts her in touch with all sorts of supernatural goings-on, one of which is a Florida girl who—after being struck by lightning—is babbling Latin and scribbling archaic characters.
Sister Josepha approaches Massey thinking he can help decipher their meaning, and Massey—who says he doesn't really do religion—develops a reluctant interest in the case.
"Revelations," written by "The Omen" scribe David Seltzer, comes across as good television. Massey and Sister Josepha play like a reverse Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from "The X-Files"—one a believer, the other a skeptic.
Both are given a very personal backstory for being the way they are, which is a hallmark of any good investigative character.
The first episode flits to and fro across the globe, building tension with short scenes and odd events—a disaster movie in the making.
Only this isn't a disaster movie. It's a miniseries with potential, the network says, to be not so mini. If the ratings look chipper for this end-of-the-world tale, it could garner more episodes in the fall.
Seltzer uses biblical prophecies for dramatic value, and much of what occurs in "Revelations" is extraneous to Christian Scripture. Part of the apparent storyline is whether Massey and Sister Josepha will be able to postpone the end of time.
"I believe the Bible has left a blank to be filled in by man," Josepha tells Massey. She believes it's possible that Jesus has already returned to Earth. She wants to find him, protect him and "forestall the confrontation between good and evil."
Of course, this sort of speculation won't sit well with some Christians. Nor will the very beginning of the miniseries, even though viewers shouldn't build a psychological wall before watching the whole sequence.
So what's the hubbub? The sequence portrays the Big Bang.
The event is narrated by a Dr. Lampley (John Rhys-Davies), who is giving a college seminar about Big Ideas.
"It's as probable for a tornado traveling through a junkyard to produce Buckingham Palace than for life to emerge from the Big Bang," he says. "But emerge it did, into the hands of man." Cut to shots of violence.
But then a student asks if there's no room for God, since Lampley spoke of science accounting for creation.
"There's room in science for everything and everyone—even God," Lampley responds. "If only he would make himself known."
The miniseries is punctuated with text crawls about the end of time—the really good ones, too, about the moon turning to blood, seeing signs and wonders, etc.
Coming along for the ride are various other characters, including the Satanist who killed Massey's daughter, and a baby who survives a ferry wreck in the Adriatic Sea.
As if all that isn't enough, the miniseries benefits from a timely release. There's talk of the pope, not to mention the religious significance of the incapacitated girl in a hospital bed in Florida.
"Revelations" puts some fairly intense moments on screen (e.g. when the girl is struck by lightning), and the overall effect raises the bar for what to expect from television.
The first episode certainly leaves you wanting more, which, we're told, includes DNA analysis, that baby from the ferry accident, NASA photos and more miracles.
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.
The miniseries' official Web site is here.
Read our earlier news story about the series.