Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On DVD: The Greatest Adventure: Stories From the Bible: The Easter Story (1989)

With Easter being this weekend, I thought I'd pull out this direct-to-video offering from Hanna-Barbera (now distributed through Warner Bros.) that I picked up for mere chump change some months back.

"The Easter Story" is the final episode of the Greatest Adventure: Stories From the Bible series, which H-B produced between 1985 and 1989. As it is explained in the opening, a pair of college students and a Middle Eastern youth fall through a hidden trap door in the sand and into a dark cavern which holds a doorway through time. In "The Easter Story", the trio--Margo, Derek, & Moki--meet the apostle Mark (Richard Thomas, ex-The Waltons) who tells them the tale of the Last Supper, and the subsequent betrayal & crucifixion of Jesus (Joe Spano, ex-Hill Street Blues), followed by His resurrection. It's a hard enough task to compress everything into 30 minutes, especially considering that the Pharisees are portrayed as typical cartoon villains, which they really shouldn't be. It suggests, then, that Greatest Adventure could've been marketed as a syndicated series aimed at the Sunday School audience, but H-B couldn't find any takers, hence the DTV format, resulting in 13 episodes released over the course of 8 years.

It would've made more sense, since it ended up as a DTV series, that each episode could've been expanded, but remember, too, that it was launched during an era where continuity from one episode to another was only just being accepted in animated series (i.e. G. I. Joe, He-Man), so it would've presented another challenge.

Grade: B.

Edit: 4/11/14: Here's "The Easter Story":

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