The End of the World


NBC—last seen bitching that Nielsen queered TV ratings by adding too many Hispanics—thinks that the Apocalypse should garner big numbers. A mini-series is in development on the ultimate battle between good and evil.

Assuming the flick builds on the built-in audience already out there buying up "end times" books by the millions, the network might well be onto something. But as for one exec's claims that the story will "masterfully weave theology and reality into a truly frightening epic tale," I thought that was the War on Terror's storyline.

BTW, there's slim chance a network TV offering can top The Rapture for pure end-times fun, murder, and swinging sex. Featuring the talents of Mimi Rogers.

NEXT: Monopoly on Professionalism

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  1. Mimi Rogers and Christianity? I thought it was something else.

  2. Not Stradamus: By opening the discussion as you just did. The world might end tomorrow, but it probably will not. Present the situation as “what if?” rather than “it will!”. Non-apocalyptic endings probably offer more-widely-recognized warnings, and a period to mitigate or forestall the climax.

    Merovingian: There is a decent case that punishment and redemption are both parental functions. Either implies a sense of powerlessness in the claimant.

    Ghost Dancers maybe and Fifth Monarchists certainly, were looking at the end of their society as the end of the world. Social apocalypse is not the same as the End of All Life.

  3. Hey! My momma wasn’t on the list of people who “generally hate themselves and the world they live in” and she was quick to assert that “such and such will happen when our laws are not obeyed.” She wasn’t kidding, either. She had a lot of laws and a strong paddling arm.

  4. are you sure? strict authoritarians tend to be hidden sadists without much imagination.

  5. I’d be cool with a rapture show, if they have a post-rapture scene with Jerry Falwell, George W. Bush, and others of their ilk clearly depicted as non-raptured.

  6. Hear Hear on The Rapture. To find a better and sexier movie on a religious visionary, you’ve got to go all the way back to Song of Bernadette.

  7. The real problems with hyping up “end times” stories from the Bible in a flashy miniseries are (1) there’s not much that the Bible actually claims to be factual about the end times — it is mainly given in hints and allegorical visions, and (2) many Christians latch on to end times stuff with a fervor that borders on fanaticism. I say this as a Christian who teaches Bible class at my church, where it seems like I am constantly having to deal with people who seemingly live for the end times. I fear that this miniseries will only feed disinformation (meaning, stories that are unfaithful to the originals in the Bible) to the general public and to impressionable Christians as well. The real meaning of end times prophecies — i.e. to be faithful to Christ’s teaching in the present day — gets lost.

    Speaking of disinformation… Anybody remember the NBC miniseries on Noah’s Ark? The one that had a scene with Lot floating by in a boat after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? Even when, in the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed in Genesis 19 and the flood happened in Genesis 7, several generations before Lot?

  8. A nun and a physicist walk into a bar…

  9. Wonder who is going to be the antichrist? I remember back when I watched Jack van Impe religiously – for a while it was Gorbachev, then it was the King of Spain (?) something to do with the EU becoming the 12-headed beast or something, then it was Saddam. Quit watching after the early 90s. It was probably Hillary Clinton at some point.

  10. Bob –

    Why do you think end-times talk is so popular? Just curious what people tell you…

  11. Jack Van Impe is the best. I also love his wife, Rexella and his trumpet-syncing announcer.

    If I were ever forced to watch religious shows, JVI would be my pick!

  12. The Jack Van Impe Show is good stuff, like a fundie-themed “Space Ghost Coast to Coast.”

    “There was an earthquake in Turkey; the Bible says there will be earthquakes at the End Time.”

  13. Van Impe is hilarious. Hal Lindsey has nothing on him.

  14. The thing (John 2:1) I like best about Dr. Van Impe is the footnotes (Revelations 3:17) he places thoughout his explanations (2nd Kings 3:56)

  15. eschatological themes are so popular in so many movements, religious and secular, because people generally hate themselves and the world they live in. the destruction of the world, or the social order, allows them to not only fantasize about punishing themselves, but the everyone else around them. guilt is the closest we come to a universal “original sin” if you will.

    personally, i think of eschatological tales as metaphors for the destruction of the religious or ideological order being established. buddhists have one, so did the aztecs, and so on. it’s rare to find a group without a story about “such and such will happen when our laws are not obeyed” or in some cases “such and such will happen when the clock runs out” (ragnarok)

    eco-mystic types have dozens of these, btw. it used to be nukes, now it’s genetic manipulation and pesticides, etc. so do many conservatives – the end is near for western style liberal democracy, society is too lenient, there aren’t enough rules, the next dark ages is around the corner…

  16. Oops, typo. That should be Rapture, like the Blondie song.

    And folks who try to see themselves as coldly rational aren’t off the hook in this kind of thinking. There are numerous hard SF novels in which the universe is coming to an end but a group of characters set out to influence the new universe that will appear afterwards.

    Uncertainty is a curse that comes with the level of intelligence we’ve attained along the course of mastering our environment. It nags at us but there is no relief since a death of utter final oblivion and an unending future are both equally difficult to accept. We really aren’t geared for dealing with big questions but our brains can’t seem to avoid it.

  17. And interesting end-times group are the “Fifth Monarchy Men” of the English Civil War.

    BTW, millineal prophecies can have significant and important purposes, and the people involved may have good reasons to hate they society they live in; think of the Lakota “ghost dance” for example.

  18. The problem with many end-time cults (Ghost Dancers, People’s Temple, Heaven’s Gate) is self-fulfilling prophecy; they tend to create or at least contribute to their own demise. I am just worried that they with come up with the idea one day to take everyone else with them.

  19. Tom: I agree. Their worlds can end as prophecied, but I hope to keep my world going for a good long time.

    I sense the parental element in whichever power is believed to bring about the end of time. We’ve been bad, and now we’re going to get punished. If only the rest of you would have listened…

    “Can I be with Daddy soon?”

  20. WARNING: In case of rapture this comment will be unmanned.

  21. Well, in the case of the Ghost Dancers, they didn’t view the end of the world as a punishment, but as a redemption. The same is true for a lot of millenial groups.

  22. And to be frank, who wouldn’t want to be redeemed from the nightmare the Lokota were going through at the time?

  23. Disregarding the biblical apocalypse, which is purely a matter of faith, how do you discuss the possibility of a disaster that destroys or damages human civilization without sounding like an end-times maniac? After all, an exchange of nuclear weapons or a deadly virus that kills billions or a sequel to “Gigli” is not outside the realm of possibility. Isn’t it as silly to say “these things will never happen” as it is to say “these things will happen tomorrow and there’s no hope and we’re all doomed”? How do you discuss the potential ramifications of a global disaster without slipping into hysterical cult-ism?

  24. How exactly do you go from “folks who try to see themselves as coldly rational” to readers of science fiction books?

  25. Featuring the talents of Mimi Rogers.

    Both of them?

  26. Jack van Impe was/is a piker. The best telescammer was the reverend Ernest Angley. Sadly, for those of you who remember the good reverend, his head has almost certainly sunk into his clavicle by now.

  27. While we’re talking about millennial movements, don’t forget the internet’s favored Rapture, the Singularity, when technology advances at a rate beyond human comprehension and you had better welcome your new AI overlords.

  28. hi,
    kindly tell me the email address of rev. ernest angley.thank u.

  29. hi,
    kindly tell me the email address of rev. ernest angley.thank u.

  30. hi,
    kindly tell me the email address of rev. ernest angley.thank u.

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