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Before A.D.: 6 other TV movies and series based on biblical stories
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Ian McShane, left, as King Silas Benjamin and Chris Egan as David Shepherd. - photo by Jeff Peterson
Biblical subjects are all over TV right now. CNN is airing a series called "Finding Jesus," and National Geographic Channel joined in with "Killing Jesus," which drew record viewership for the network.

On Sunday, Mark Burnett and Roma Downeys sequel to highly successful History Channel series The Bible," "A.D.: The Bible Continues," premieres on NBC.

Unlike film, which has only recently rekindled its love affair with biblical epics, TV never fell out of love with the subject. Following is a look at a few of the significant made-for-TV movies, series and miniseries based on biblical subjects that have come out over the years.

'The TNT Bible Collection' (1994-2002, not rated)

Two decades before History Channels The Bible miniseries took on the challenge of adapting big chunks of both the Old and New Testaments for the small screen but with Hollywood-level production values, TNT did something similar with "The Bible Collection."

Divided into 17 parts, each installment (usually clocking in at around three hours) focuses on a specific biblical figure or event, beginning with Genesis: The Creation and the Flood, going through major characters like Joseph of Egypt, King David, Samson and Delilah and Jeremiah and ending with The Apocalypse.

The casts are generally quite good, with plenty of recognizable faces scattered throughout each of the 17 parts, including Ben Kingsley, Barbara Hershey, Leonard Nimoy, Matthew Modine, Sean Bean, Gary Oldman and not one but two Dumbledores (Richard Harris and Michael Gambon).

These movies avoid straying far from the source material.

Available on: DVD

'Kings' (2009, TV-14)

A modern adaptation of the story of David set in the fictional kingdom of Gilboa, this under-seen, underrated series only lasted one season on NBC before it was canceled.

Christopher Egan (Dominion) stars as Capt. David Shephard, an ordinary soldier who becomes embroiled in the political machinations of the Gilboan king Silas Benjamin (the always great Ian McShane of Deadwood fame) after he singlehandedly destroys a Goliath-class tank during a battle with the neighboring state of Gath. This act makes him a national hero, but also a rival to Silas own son, Jack (Sebastian Stan from Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

Kings plays pretty fast and loose with the biblical source material, and the stylized dialogue might take an episode or two to get used to, but its a fun retelling of the story of David.

Susanna Thompson (Arrow), Allison Miller (Terra Nova), Eamonn Walker (Oz) and Dylan Baker (Spider-Man) round out the cast.

Also worth noting, the first four episodes were directed by Mockingjay and Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence.

Available on: DVD or to rent or purchase for streaming on Amazon Instant

'Moses the Lawgiver' (1974, PG)

The first in a trilogy of biblical miniseries co-produced by Italy and the U.K., Moses the Lawgiver stars the great Burt Lancaster as Moses and is based on a screenplay co-written by of all people novelist Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange).

Moses the Lawgiver has never been released on DVD, so its a little tough to come by, but it is currently available to watch on YouTube.

'Jesus of Nazareth' (1977, not rated)

Franco Zeffirelli (Romeo & Juliet) directed Jesus of Nazareth, which remains one of the most well-regarded depictions of Christ ever put on film.

Like Moses the Lawgiver, Jesus of Nazareth was also based on a script by Burgess.

Depicting Christs life from birth to death and resurrection, the whole thing clocks in at more than six hours. In that time, though, the actors playing Christ blink a total of three times. This was done on purpose to give him an ethereal, inhuman quality. Its a very specific take on Christ and it stands in stark contrast to more relatable portrayals of him in things like Killing Jesus but its very effective nonetheless.

In addition to Robert Powell as the titular Jesus of Nazareth, Zeffirellis film features an all-star cast, including Laurence Olivier, Anne Bancroft, Christopher Plummer, James Earl Jones, James Mason, Michael York, Anthony Quinn, Peter Ustinov, Ian Holm and McShane as Judas Iscariot, among others.

Available on: DVD

'A.D.' (1985, G)

Not to be confused with the new A.D., this biblical miniseries, like Mark Burnett and Roma Downeys, takes place after the death of Jesus, spanning the years 30 A.D. to 69 A.D. as it follows Christs disciples during the reigns of the Roman emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero.

McShane once again appears not as Judas ghost, unfortunately alongside another great cast, including the Scarlet Pimpernell (Anthony Andrews) and Shaft (Richard Roundtree).

The entire miniseries originally lasted nine hours; however, the version available on DVD trims that substantially, cutting out a full three hours of the original run time.

Available on: DVD (edited)

'The Nativity' (2010)

A pre-Orphan Black Tatiana Maslany stars as Mary in this four-part miniseries from the BBC

At the time of its premiere, The Nativity drew some backlash from certain Christian groups for what they felt was too much liberty taken with the character of Joseph, particularly with how he reacts upon hearing that Mary is pregnant.

Others defended it. According to the U.K.s Express, a spokesman for the Church of England said it presents a gritty interpretation of the events of the first Christmas.

Dont go in expecting the Dark Knight of Nativity stories, but as per usual with anything BBC, its well-acted, well-written and, for most, well-worth checking out, either for Easter or Christmas.

Also, current Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi plays Pontius Pilate.

Available on: DVD or to rent or purchase for streaming on Amazon Instant