A History Channel miniseries based on The Bible premiered on Sunday (March 3, 2013), the first of five two-hour chunks that will air each weekend, finishing on Easter Sunday. It's the work of 'The Voice' producer Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey, who say they are the first to use computer graphics to bring images likes Moses parting the Red Sea to life on-screen.

"Momentarily, I think he thought I'd lost my mind," Downey told the Associated Press of suggesting the show to husband Mark. "He went out on his bicycle and he prayed on it and he came back and said, 'You know what, I think it's a good idea. I think we should do it together.' We shook hands and haven't looked back." The first episode focused on the world's creation, though became more narrative driven when focusing on the lives of Abraham and Moses. "It's like saying you never heard of Macbeth or King Lear," Burnett said, "In school, you have to know a certain amount of Shakespeare, but no Bible. So there's got to be a way to look at it from a pure literature point of view. If it wasn't for the Bible, arguably Shakespeare wouldn't have written those stories."

The husband-and-wife team pitched their idea to several networks, though Nancy Dubuc - History's president and general manager - was willing to take a punt. Last spring's historical miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, starring Kevin Costner, was a huge success for the network, though reviews for The Bible have been mixed, with many critics applauding Burnett and Downey's ambition, though ultimately slamming the show for its cheap looking sets and slow pace. Brian Lowry of Variety said, "Told with great earnestness and a Hans Zimmer score, The Bible hits only a few conspicuously awkward notes," while Ed Bark of Uncle Barky wrote, "The Bible has the misfortune of looking cheap in comparison to the visual feast provided by the preceding Vikings. And the acting isn't nearly strong enough to overcome this."

Watch The Bible miniseries trailer:

The Bible miniseries continues on The History Channel at 8pm on March 10, 2013.