Of Kings and Prophets producer talks about making the Old Testament “relevant to the way we live today”

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My fellow Patheos blogger Kate O’Hare has posted an article over at Angelus News in which she interviews Chris Brancato, the writer and producer who was brought on board to help retool the upcoming biblical ABC series Of Kings and Prophets.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

“When you’re dealing with subject matter,” said Brancato, “that is faith-based and beloved by so many, it’s going to be very difficult to do a show that pleases everybody. So, frankly, what I’ve looked at in studying the Old Testament Book of Samuel I is trying to find things that are relevant to the way we live today, how these characters had God in their lives, what it meant to them, how having God in their lives affected their actions, and what faith meant to people in this particular time.”

According to Brancato, one of the problems with the first pilot is that the production was rushed, and producers and crew didn’t have the time to create sets, props, etc., that really evoked ancient Israel. This time around, Brancato plans to bring more authenticity to the look of the show, while essentially telling the same story.

One thing “Killing Jesus” did was to take a biblical story and tell it in a naturalistic way, not showing miracles or anything supernatural. In the case of “Of Kings and Prophets,” Brancato says we’re not going to see or hear a direct representation of God.

“Samuel is the one who speaks to God,” said Brancato, “and that leaves open, for other characters, the interpretation of whether Samuel is interpreting God’s words directly, or whether Samuel is trying to exert his own influence on the kingdom.

“That’s obviously something that’s incredibly relevant today in various religious conflicts all over the world.”

Of Kings and Prophets was originally going to premiere a month or two ago, but it got bumped when it was sent back for retooling. At one point it sounded like the show would debut sometime mid-season, soon after the new year, but O’Hare says it now looks like the first episode will air in the summer or fall of 2016.

As they say, stay tuned.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).