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A Paean to “A.D. Kingdom and Empire” on Netflix

They Cancelled This Show in 2015
…but I Just Found Out

When NBC cancelled A.D. The Bible Continues, I had no idea it was a thing, but now, three years later, I’m heartbroken. Now I have watched all 12 episodes of A.D. Kingdom and Empire (it got renamed for it’s Netflix Release) and I am very sad that the Roma Downey and Mark Burnett produced adaptation of the book of Acts is not continuing.

So this is my eulogy for “A.D. Kingdom and Empire” AKA “A.D. The Bible Continues” and my contribution to the googleverse in hopes of a reboot some day soon, and a motivational essay to read the book of Acts again this week.

Peter praying to stay the Holy Spirit’s hand

The Holy Spirit is No Joke

In Acts 5 we find the troubling story of Ananias (Peter De Jersey) and Sapphira (Indra Ové) who held back some of the money they got from selling their house but said that they gave it all to the newly born church. In A.D. Kingdom and Empire blood comes out of their eyes and they die for lying to the Holy Spirit in a very scary scene. How could any TV producer skip such a gruesome moment in history? Acts 5:11 says “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.”

Um… yeah! Great fear seized me when I first heard this story, too. If I’m honest, there’s still a tinge of fear in me as I reflect on it now. The Holy Spirit is no joke. God was trying to do something that required the utmost seriousness. The new movement was not for spiritual tourists who could move on to what’s next after the high wore off. This movement could not peter out (poor Peter!). If the Church of Jesus’ first followers didn’t survive, thrive and bust out of the confines of Jerusalem, God’s plan would not have happened. Desperate times call for desperate measures, it seems — even the confounding sudden death of two would-be-followers. The way this story is portrayed in the show brings the immediacy and the meagerness of the movement to light in a compelling way. Peter (Adam Levy) gets why they are dying but he is freaked out, too. I love the confusion that streaks through the faces of the main characters. They are not yet saints, wise in their remote spaces in history. They are living, failing, God-trusting people just like us. In a later episode of the show, the Holy Spirit almost kills Simon Magus (Stephen Walterswho tries to pay Peter for the Holy Spirit but Peter begs God in the thundercloud to spare the foolish new disciple. It didn’t happen just like that in Acts, but it made for good TV, and it communicated the live-wire wildness of the moment.

Procla, Pilate’s wife (as the story goes), is a Saint in the Greek Orthodox Church

The Resurrection Had Political Consequences

Four of the main characters of the show are Pontius Pilate (Vincent Regan), his wife Claudia (Joanne Whalley), Caiaphas (Richard Coyle), the high priest, and his wife, Leah (Jodhi May). They are not just the evil ones, they are real people with real pressures of their own. Each are tempted to believe in Jesus’ resurrection, especially Claudia and Caiaphas. The political intrigue is not historically accurate, but it could have been! How would the Jesus movement know that Pilate’s wife had dreams about Jesus (as in Matthew 27:19) if she did not one day become a Christian and tell them her story?

From Wikipedia: “In the 3rd century, Origen suggested in his Homilies on Matthew that the wife of Pilate had become a Christian,or at least that God sent her the dream mentioned by Matthew so that she would convert. This interpretation was shared by several theologians of Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The apocryphal Letter of Pilate to Herod, dating from around the 3rd–4th century, names Pilate’s wife as Procla and connects to the story of Matthew 27:19.”

The show writers had a lot of opportunities to incorporate other legends and speculations from the early church but didn’t do so, however, they did take the opportunity to highlight the political consequences of the resurrection. Jesus disrupted the political potentates of his day, and he continues to do so. The power to kill is the source of all political power. When you boil it down, that’s it. The state’s ability to kill and the permission the people give it to kill is the only real ultimatum. Violence is the source of state power. Read the first two chapters of William Cavanaugh’s book “Migrations of the Holy” if you need to be convinced of this. There are other places to find this argument too. But, for now, it suffices to say that the foundation of any governmental power is death. And if Jesus rose form the dead then he is not subject to any power. Pilate and Caiaphas, and Claudia and Leah, as portrayed in the show, are obviously threatened by this. How we respond to Jesus’ anarchic resurrection will dictate how we relate to government. Are we subjects of the Kingdom or the empire(s)?

Chipo Chung as Mary Magdalene

They Don’t Know What They’re Doing Either (But the Women Knew Better)

After Jesus’ death, the disciples have no idea what to do. Only Mary, Jesus’ mother (Greta Scacchi), remembers what Jesus said. She is stone-faced and sad after watching her son die but she refuses to give up as many of the men are doing. She is waiting for the third day. Mary Magdalene (played by Chipo Chung), who is the first apostle of the resurrection in the Bible, also gets her proper place in the show. She sees Jesus, and we get to see her as one of the most important characters in the show (because she IS one of the most important people in history). The men defer to her, she makes converts, and she’s always part of the dialogue about what they need to do. Twelve disciples would be too many characters for drama so only a few disciples are dramatized. It’s unclear what happened to the rest of the twelve in the show, but Mary Magdalene takes one of their places.

They muddle through the amazing things that happen. From the resurrection, to Pentecost, to persecution, to new believers who aren’t Jewish, they are stumbling through an incredibly disorienting ordeal. Can you imagine what it would be like? I can, but not so well as they creators of this show have done for us!

It is helpful to read through scripture with our imaginations. What was it like? What were the smells? What did you see? How did you feel? Art like this show, all the many, many paintings, and the other films that were made about these stories from the Bible help us feel our way into the story even more. John, the Beloved disciple, may always be a slow to speak, dark skinned African man (Babou Ceesay) in my imagination. And I am forever grateful for that. 

I need to feel my way through these stories and find myself in them because reading the Bible at a distance just doesn’t work. The point of reading the Bible is to relate to Jesus and find myself in his story. Art helps me do that. It will help you, too, especially when the artists assume that these people in the Bible were a lot like us. We don’t know what we’re doing a lot of the time either.

“The Road To Damascus” Episode 108 — Pictured: Joe Dixon as Phillip

Those Baptisms Though

The formula for baptism in the show is backwards into the water for like a three second count — in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is a good ritual! I love that they stay underwater for as long as they do because it is really symbolic of the death they are dying with Christ. When we baptize people in Circle of Hope we do it three times, bowing forward in submission to Christ. Some folks I have baptized are pretty scared about going under, and I assure them that is the point. We are going through death with Christ and coming out on the other side with him. Staying under, though? Holding your breath for a moment until you get pulled up? That is pretty cool.

Paul wrote in Romans 6:3-5

“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

This show gets that. These early Christians were serious about what Paul said even before he wrote it. Paul codified the ritual in Romans but it meant something before he said that. It meant death and resurrection, and you can SEE that in the show, even if it isn’t said. That is what ritual is all about. It is an enacted truth that often goes deeper and truer than words ever can.

Saul was initially devastated by Jesus’ appearance to him.

Paul Really Was a Badass from the Start

When Saul has his Damascus Road encounter with Jesus in the show I was unimpressed. Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of how they portray Jesus in the show at all. But the aftermath of the encounter was awesome. Saul’s agony and redemption mediated by someone who isn’t sure of what they saw (it was an Angel — who is also totally badass). Then Saul comes back to the disciples in Jerusalem and demands forgiveness.

Peter and Saul have a one-on-one conversation. Saul is under tons of suspicion. He is trying to make Peter and the disciples trust him but Peter is slow to do so. Saul says to Peter,

“This is all a bit ridiculous, surely. I know what I’ve done, Peter, but listening to you all downstairs it’s like you had forgot that Jesus taught you forgiveness. I mean you lived with him — you know his message — so, so, sorry but I’m confused.” Saul of Tarsus got swagger! And that is why God chose him! I love how Emmett J Scanlan gets that across in his Irish brogue. Saul’s confidence, his arrogance even, was what God needed! You might have something in you that doesn’t seem like a gift. You might have done things that are hard to forgive. You too are chosen by God for a purpose. And a lot of what you see as useless, God can use. You might not receive such a direct address from Jesus as Saul did, but if you listen you will know.

In Conclusion, Bring it Back For Season Two!

I could go on and on about this show (and I already have), but please, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey of Lightworkers Entertainment, please bring back this show! I hear you’re working on an end times story instead. No thanks. I want more of these characters and the imaginative plot twists that your writers have supplied already. What if the stories of all these unsung heroes really did weave together in this way? Some of my Christian counterpoints are up in arms that you did not “stick to the Bible.” To them I say “p’sha.” You got it. No, it was not exact, but you got it. If they demand some fastidious recreation of only what is in the text 1) it’s bad TV, bad drama, bad art and 2) they are just way too uptight. Jesus likes this show, mkay? Well, I guess he’ll tell us whether or not he does some day, but I really, really like this show, mkay? So can we get a Season Two of A.D Kingdom and Empire? Lord, hear our prayer.

And if you made it this far, you must like to read. So keep reading. Read the book of Acts. Imagine, pray and listen right through the whole epic story. We’re living the 29th Chapter.

106 Comments

  1. I agree!!! My wife and I will finish season 1 today and we pray (and demand) season 2 release soon! We have watched it in Spanish from Netflix Spain. Can you imagine how many people from many nations would like to watch the continuation?

  2. Rosana Vaz Wolters

    December 25, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    I just finished season 1 of AD to find out there’s no dragon 2 I am heartbroken I also demand bring back AD.

  3. Please bring back A.D. season 2.

  4. My husband and I just finished Season 1. Heart broken there’s no Season 2.

  5. I am so heart broken that their is no season 2 for this AD. We love to see the season 2.Looking forward to bring back AD soon.

  6. I feel exactly as the author feels. Please AD producers, fight and struggle to continue your amazing work. I am sure is a work of God! You are in our prayers.

  7. Just finished binge watching this with my husband, giving it top 5 stars!! Had my BIBLE close at hand for character reference…. ready to watch season 2; very disappointed, no season 2…Please, Please bring it back. Love your faith Roma Downey, and because Roma loves you – we love you too Mark Burnett….

  8. Loved watching this show. I am also disappointed there is not a season 2. PLEASE BRING IT BACK..

  9. I pray to God that season 2,3, 4,5…….is made. This show inspires me to read the Bible and find out what happened. God is alive and unstoppable!

  10. Just finished watching this on Netflix but there’s no season 2. Horrified, it was wonderful. Please please make another series. Only just found out about this series 1 hence only just watched it.

  11. My Wife and I also just completed season one to discover no season two. Very heartbreaking. This series was one of great spiritual content. Our Church is called “Acts 29 Church unto God” as you stated we are the continuation of Acts. We also are praying for the release of season two and beyond until Jesus returns.

  12. Just finished on Netflix and had to google season 2. What a disappointment that it was ended! The show gives such great visual to the events so important to our history as Christians. And something finally worth watching. I can only think someone “important” or so many got offended that the show was stopped. It makes no sense why this inspiring depiction of history was halted.

  13. I loved watching A. D. Kingdom & Empire on Netflix. Like many of you who lauded this excellent TV series, I was also in search of season two. If I had to guess why season two was not created… perhaps season one was not profitable enough to justify a season two. Of course, that is simply a guess. Congratulations to the cast & crew for an outstanding performance.

  14. Bring back season 2!!!!😭😭

  15. I have just watch this truly amazing account of after the crucifixion it was directed and produced in a very understandable way and making the story of the Bible so eady to follow.please please Netflix show season 2

  16. Please bring season 2 to Netflix… I just finished watching season 1.. I loved it and it touch my 💓 and soul … Jesus is love….

  17. Alexander Maillis

    January 25, 2019 at 6:41 am

    I just finished season one. It was fantastic. Am shocked and saddened to learn there is no Season 2. I would love to see the show continue into a second season!!

  18. I loved season one, it broke my heart when I found out that season 2 was canceled 🙁 Praying that it somehow makes a comeback!!!!!!!

  19. My husband and I just finished season 1 and loved it, so sad to see there is no season 2.

  20. I started watching this show one Saturday night and before I knew it it was 4am and I had to go to bed but didn’t want to because I wanted to keep watching more episodes.Once I watched the first episode I was hooked.The best show I have watched in a long time on NBC.There needs to be a season 2 you cant just leave us hanging like that.Its funny that The Walking Dead can show all of its gore and violence but we cant get another season of something more powerful and meaningful.

  21. I am lately interested about Jesus and the religion. Watched The Bible and after watched this show. I was so excited to search when the second season will start. But there won’t be the second season 🙁 How sad I am. It’s a great way to learn and understand the Bible and all it’s history.

  22. There is such a hunger for the word, and is a great way to get the word all over the word, It really did help when you go back and read the chapters to really get a better understanding than I ever had just trying to read it, they did an amazing job!!!
    Standing in agreement, we need more seasons!!!

  23. Wow, This series of the Bible made me want to know more about what happens next, unfortunately I try searching for season 2 but just find out the series was cancel, even my 12 year old was hook on this series, this series truly was a work of god!,

  24. Matundu Mireille

    February 5, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Oh Lord! Please. Season 2!

  25. I’m new to Netflix and this series is by far the best I’ve seen. Please give us Season 2!

  26. Perhaps what we need are investors to make Season 2 come to pass

  27. Vic and Missy Maurer

    February 10, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    My wife and I just finished season 1. Technically this was my 2nd watching, I got through almost half of it and then decided that my wife must watch it so started back at the beginning with her. She got just as hooked as I did and it is a show all Christians should watch. The actors were superb and the stories awesome. Great job to the cast and writers. Netflix, please pick up this ball and run with it!!!

  28. Just finished season 1, I really wish it was a season 2! We can’t just end it like that 😩🤦🏽‍♀️

  29. Please make a season 2 of the bible and ad kingdom and empire.

  30. Wow, what a great series, please bring back A.D. for at the least season 2…always seems to be my luck, find a great show to have it cancelled…especially the content…..much needed.

  31. Just finished watching the last episode of season one. Heart broken 💔 to find out there is no second season A.D. Kingdom Empire. There is still so much more story to tell. You can’t stop now.😥

  32. Season 2 please….

  33. That was a horrible way to end a season.. Let alone… Not have a 2nd one. We all need season 2.

  34. Yes please , season 2 would be greatly appreciated.

  35. We must have season 2. Maybe it will be released like how Sherlock seasons got released every few years. But that’s just what I think might happen. Nevertheless, we need season 2. We were left hanging in season 1 ending after Peter is seen being captured by a Roman soldier. Probably this may be in the section of the Bible where Agrippa had Peter imprisoned and James executed. But, who knows, they may have changed the story a little bit in the show. Furthermore, I personally would have wanted to see more Paul if season 2 was made. So maybe we should petition for season 2. Its not even like Roma Downey and Mark Burnett gave up on making these biblical series. they’re even trying to make a end of time series. But, we all know we want AD SEASON 2.

  36. Waiting for the season2. just finished watching 1st season on netflix france. love this fresh point of view love the way the writers made it intertwined with complicated real life political issues !!!

  37. Pray that they bring back season two.

  38. Please bring on season 2!! It needs to happen

  39. Jorge Rodriguez

    March 9, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    Make sure you put the AD on your list and like the rating so Netflix can push for a season 2

  40. What are you waiting for. In your heart do something that is not about money. We need this show more than ever

  41. I just finished watching season 1 and I was so sad to find out there is no season 2. Please bring back season 2, the story needs to continue.

  42. Found this article in hopes that there was talk of a season 2! My husband and I just watched all 12 episodes within a span of 3 days! We so love this shows; please bring it back—somebody!

  43. Amelia A Stevens

    March 15, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Please bring back A.D I love it Bring Back Season 2

  44. I absolutely loved season 1, so much that I’m planning on rewatching it with my boyfriend. I would also love to see a second season

  45. I am definitely one of those who would relish the opportunity to see more seasons of this series. I loved “The Bible” adored “AD Kingdom and Empire” and am now disappointed that there is no Season 2 in sight. This series is a much needed light in a time of darkness. I plead with anyone who has the power to continue this series to PLEASE do so. We would forever be in your debt.

  46. Anthony Mcguigan

    March 22, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    Please bring back this series. It’s the best and cant just end that way with Peter being caught

  47. SEASON TWO! Truly enjoyed watching A.D. Kingdom And Empire I pray and hope the story will continue with season two. Thanks to those who have helped make the bible come to life. Thank you Lord Jesus for your Word and truth continue to let your story be told in Jesus name amen.

  48. I have watched season 1 twice. PLEASE bring on season 2!!!!!!!

  49. Just finished Season 1 on Netflix…if NBC won’t permit Season 2, get Netflix to have a Season 2….please!!!!!

  50. Carmen Williams

    March 25, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    Yes please make season 2. My husband and my family ( including teens) enjoy a lot this first season and Mede us think a lot about the mercy of God and his miracles!!!!!!

  51. After watching the bible and now AD I’m really impressed. I haven’t seen a bible movie with such good writing and acting since “Jesus of Nazareth” from the 70s. Please bring this show back for season 2 you have a blockbuster on your hands. Netflix I’m looking at you!

  52. Let us not wait for Season 2 to happen. Let us all join forces and petition for it. With Jesus Christ on our side anything is possible. Please, any of u who would like to do something like this should reply.

  53. Me and My husband are blessed for this movie and for all the cast you did the good job !!!We praying for Season 2 God bless you all.

  54. Wow to cancel the next series is shocking , it’s the best biblical series on Netflix , Everyone’ is tired of watching silly reality shows we want more shows like this with meaning , lots of people need educating on the bible ..

  55. AD Kingdom and Empire:
    We are avid Bible readers. This brought some of the events written in the Bible to life. Maybe not as exactly written yet understandable and enjoyable. We would very much appreciate a continuance of this series.

  56. Season 2 please! Please! Please!

  57. Yes!! Pleaseee start season 2! God Blessings frpm Sweden!

  58. I looved AD ! And have just finished watching it on Netflix. Am heartbroken there is no second series! It’s awesome!! Please bring out another totally!!

  59. I agree. I love every episode; was sad when it ended several years ago and watched the only season again on Netflix. It was so inspiring, i pray they will bring it back again. I’m sure the actors would change as they have moved on, but nevertheless it would be exciting to continue on.

  60. France Hlalethwa

    April 6, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    Bring back season 2. Now we know it exists. At the time it was cancelled we did not know of it. It inspires many please bring it back. God bless all all the way from South Africa

  61. My Wife and I watch it all episodes of season 1. She found this page and to found out about that there will be no longer for season 2. Yeah , same we are also very sad about this. Maybe, is there any chance that we can make a petition to bring it back? How? Anyone knows where to start with and to raise this up. Thank you and God bless everyone.

  62. I need Season 2….

  63. Season two please !!!!

  64. Season 2 please!!!!

  65. Please bring it back, let the story of Jesus be told

  66. Bring back A.D. Kingdom and Empire!

  67. I also just completed binge watching A.D. Kingdom and Empire!!!! I most say I was completely immersed with the story. Although I do know some artistic freedoms were probably embellished. However it was extraordinarily well done from the casting to the biblical character’s portrayed. Every actor presented and authentic account during this time.
    It seems as though whenever a well crafted visual depiction of the BIBLE is made for TV viewing, someone always decides to cut it’s life short just as was done with Jesus. Much more could be said about that.
    I enjoyed watching the series also in recognition for the coming Holy Week.
    Prayerfully, Ms. Downey and Mr. Burnett will see these post and hear our request for a continuation of this awesome series.

  68. I binged watched A.D Kingdom and Empire on Netflix and just completed looking at 1st episode again in sadness as there is no Season 2. What an excellent show that brought it to life for us! All of the characters were amazing and endearing. Reassures that they had human weaknesses and faults just like us. Downey/Burnett productions, I do hope you continue as you all and your team were awesome! God bless you!

  69. Very well done!! I think the biblical account is exciting enough but do not mind some artistic embellishments. I wouldn’t normally say that, but I do agree…this show seems to “get it” and is a powerful tool for spreading the message of Jesus Christ. I am telling all my friends to watch this 1st season knowing it ends abruptly. It is still a great depiction of the early church and promotes thoughtful Bible study. I join the others asking for a season 2 but I am thrilled with the first one.

  70. I love this show and learning a lot too. Looking forward to Season 2, 3, 4…10 or so!

  71. Me encanto!! Por favor necesitamos la continuación

  72. #bringbackAD

    This show inspires me to know more.
    Let us not lose hope!!! BRING BACK AD!!!!

  73. Wilson E. Gavilaga

    April 19, 2019 at 12:06 am

    Season 2 please make it happen!

  74. Yes please bring this back. Season 2 please. There are more stories that needs to be told, esp for the younger generations. This is beautiful. Please

  75. Pauline Howarth

    April 19, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    I have just finished watching the series and was amazed at how the Bible came to life with the characters portrayed. Hope and pray that the Lord will work in the hearts of those concerned so the Gospel is spread through another season. Jesus is alive and seated at the right hand of the Father. May God bless my brothers and sisters in Christ out there and I look forward to our meeting one day. Keep the faith !!

  76. Really need a season 2

  77. Please! please! please!
    I just fineshed episode 12 today.

  78. Just watched the all episodes of season1 in on sitting. Absolutely loved it, would have cont’d watching season 2. But found out there was none, big let down, we are left hanging.
    Maybe Netflix could could be used to air season 2?

  79. Season 2 …

  80. Yes pleeese! Been waiting for season 2 for a while. Friends and family have watched season one along with me. It’s a MUST! It’s a series, a reality TV series… the difference to the other ones is that this one can change lives! We need this at such a time as this! Thank you in advance for whatever you can do to make this happen. I don’t have the power to do it or I would. I’m sure I’m not alone in this! Thanks again!

  81. Just finished season 1 and was very impressed. Great acting and Writing. PLEASE bring season 2, netflix…PLEASE!!!

  82. Ana Lynn O. Hernandez

    April 21, 2019 at 2:16 am

    I love another epsiode of this great show. Thank God for Season 1. It brings me closer to Him. Praise be to God forever and ever!

  83. IBelieve inJESUS!

    April 21, 2019 at 8:47 am

    those critics ratings are dumb, i love season 1 and I want to continue to watch more!!! I DEMAND MORE!!!!! you cant just start season 1 and let it unfinish like that shame on you!!!

  84. Marissa Figueroa

    April 21, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Preciosa Serie !! … Sería Maravilloso ver una Segunda temporada !!

  85. I am home sick over Easter weekend so watched all of season 1. Very well done. Please do a season 2. We all know why the folks at NBC cancelled this.

  86. My husband and I just finished watching all twelve episodes of A.D. Kingdom and Empire and thought it was amazing! He isn’t a believer and to have him say it was one of the best series he’s watched and also that it was the best movie he’s seen covering Christ and early Christianity was remarkable in its self. Please, please continue this very excellent series! You never know when you might enlighten a nonbeliever and be the catalyst for a changed heart! Thank you for your effort to tell the story visually of the early church. Great work on behalf of all involved!!

  87. Bill Rittenhouse

    April 22, 2019 at 9:13 am

    We need season 2.
    I watched not knowing that you all had decided not to do season 2. I was very upset when I found out.
    Please continue the series.
    Neflex seems 2 season’s is about the length of your series, unless already old canned ones.
    I could complain and plead more but said my peace.

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