AFRICANGLOBE – Sunday evening’s episode of the History Channel’s hit series ‘The Bible’ threw up an awkward coincidence when viewers noticed that Satan bore a remarkable resemblance to President Obama.
Twitter exploded into life during the airing of the latest edition of the Mark Burnett-produced series with most noting the striking similarities between the 44th President and the devil played by actor Mehdi Ouzaani.
The show has been a surprise hit in the ratings, with the religious mini-series attracting 13.1 million viewers on Wednesday – topping television leviathan American Idol’s 12.8 million viewers on Wednesday.
Right-wing commentator and radio-host Glenn Beck first pointed out the eerie similarity on Saturday, tweeting, ‘Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on History Channel looks exactly like That Guy?’
Others were simply struck by the clear physical match.
While Matthew Gaudet commented, ‘Watching The Bible series on the History channel and noticed the guy playing the role of Satan, looks strikingly similar to Obama.’
The unfortunate incident bares comparison with HBO’s infamous inclusion of a fake George W. Bush head impaled onto a stick during the background of a Season 1 Game of Thrones episode.
When the incident went viral, the network announced it was pulling the offending episode – from its rotation, freezing shipments of DVD box sets and halting sales on iTunes until the embarrassing blunder had been fixed.
‘We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste,’ HBO said in a statement.
‘We made this clear to the executive producers of the series, who apologized immediately for this careless mistake.
‘We condemn it in the strongest possible terms and have halted all future shipments of the DVDs, removed it from our digital platforms and will edit the scene for all future airings on any distribution domestic or international.’
HBO and the show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, apologized for the incident.
Mr Benioff and Mr Weiss, who noted the appearance in the series’ DVD commentary, insist it wasn’t a political statement – just a prop.
It remains to be seen whether this particular presidential mishap will create a similar backlash against the wildly popular mini-series.
The Mark Burnett-produced program retells the stories from the scriptures in a scripted format, from Genesis through to Revelation, the last book of the New Testament.
The miniseries’ popularity is somewhat of a mystery. For one, the drama wasn’t a hit with television critics, receiving a mediocre score of 44 on the Metacritic site.
‘As a cable series, The Bible lacked the ready-made, large scale promotional platform and popular lead-in that can drive strong ratings for a new show on a major broadcast network, of the kind NBC was, for many years,’ writes a columnist in The Washington Times.
Indeed, Burnett told Entertainment Weekly that the series’ success seemed almost preordained while it was being made.
‘The hand of God was on this,’ he said in an interview before the show’s premiere. ‘The edit came together perfectly, the actors came together perfectly, it just comes to life.’
Mr Burnett, who is most famous for creating reality shows such as Survivor and produced The Bible along with his actress wife Roma Downey, described a number of ‘weird things’ which drew the attention of cast and crew during filming.
In one scene, filmed during a still night on the edge of the desert, Jesus tells the priest Nicodemus, ‘The Holy Spirit is like the wind.’
According to Mr Burnett: ‘At that moment, a wind, like as if a 747 was taking off, blew his hair, almost blew the set over and sustained for 20 seconds across the desert.
‘Everyone just looked at everyone like, ‘What just happened?’
Meanwhile, Glen Beck today tried to pour water on his comments, tweeting: ‘Media – relax. Actor has been in similar roles b4. Funny, nothing more. For different reasons, #TheBible is 1 of my fav shows. Keep watching.’
The Bible is airing on the History Channel in two-hour chunks on Sunday nights, and has been the surprise winner in its timeslot.
The series will air its finale on March 31, Easter Sunday.
By; James Nye