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The Controversial Biblical Miniseries Blowing Up On Netflix Right Now

What makes Netflix so accessible to millions of users is its diverse array of programming. From blockbuster crowdpleasers to region-specific titles, the service always has something for its wide-ranging, global audience. One of the most interesting projects taking over the streaming service is "Testament: The Story of Moses," a three-episode docudrama that recounts the life of the religious figure Moses. Debuting on March 27, 2024, the series quickly became one of Netflix's most popular offerings, taking the number-one spot in countries like the United States, Canada, and Pakistan. Worldwide, it's the second most-watched show on the streaming service as of April 2. 

"Testament" is the latest Biblical project to gain traction; Russel Crowe's controversial 2014 film "Noah" got a second life on Netflix in early March. Yet the popularity of the docudrama isn't surprising considering its debut was in line with Good Friday and Easter, two key holidays for Christians around the world. Moses is also an important figure in Islam — the show debuted during the tail-end of Ramadan, a month of spiritual and religious reflection for Muslims. 

While "Testament" is taking over Netflix, critics aren't enthused by the production, which dramatizes the figure's life and intersperses it with interviews from various theologians. The series has a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, while IndieWire critic Ben Travers found the miniseries to be routine, mundane, and not particularly thought-provoking. "There's no nuance added or fresh perspective explored," Travers wrote. "The 'Story' simply intends to spread God's word via the world's most popular streaming service." 

Opinions are mixed on Testament: The Story of Moses

Audiences aren't entirely pleased with the Biblical miniseries, either. The audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is 33%, though it should be noted that less than 50 users have submitted ratings as of this writing. Viewers on IMDb have been far more forgiving, as "Testament: The Story of Moses" has a 6/10 rating based on over 1500 reviews. Some viewers, like writetonight-1, didn't appreciate the project's stylistic approach. "I'm not really crazy about this format which mixes interviews with experts with dramatization," they said. On the other hand, some fans adored the show's presentation and were enthused by how nuanced it was in its depiction of Moses. "What I'm trying to say is that this show is not religious in any way, it's pretty much objective and shows that everyone has good and bad sides, such as fitting real life," shared amitai333

Perhaps the most interesting (and inviting) thing about the series is that it features theologians and historians from various faiths, as Moses is a central figure in all Abrahamic religions. Some praised the inclusivity of the show and its diverse input on the figure, while others were upset that the series didn't stick to one interpretation. Overall, "Testament" is sparking a conversation about how Moses is depicted, both by fans and haters, making it another controversial TV show on Netflix

If you enjoyed "Testament: The Story of Moses," here are 25 movies about the Bible that you should add to your watchlist