DOCUMENTARY "Top X: Bible Weather"
WHEN | WHERE Premieres Sunday night at 9 on The Weather Channel
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Hmmm, what two things in the universe fascinate just about all of us, even though (perhaps because) we can't truly understand them? Maybe the weather? And the Bible?
Al Roker knows. That's why his production company paired the pull of each, for a Top X hour (that's Top 10) of ancient stories, modern science, and the many ways the twain shall meet.
"Fire from the heavens, wrathful torrents, towering dust storms" -- and that's just the introductory minute, intoned by voice-of-God narrator Michael-Leon Wooley. "These aren't just stories from Scripture, they're epic disasters ripped from today's headlines."
No kidding. There's the Weather Channel's best-known personality, Jim Cantore, amid meteorological mayhem!
That's the pattern. Footage from (earthly) hell. Stories from (God in) heaven. Professors from Iowa, Emory, Texas Tech and The Jewish Theological Seminary interpret such ancient tales as Jonah, the burning bush, and Sodom and Gomorrah ("Weather events to both bless and to curse are attributed to God"), while Weather Channel meteorologists explore the natural phenomena behind floods, sinkholes, red tides, meteoric blazes, sandstorms and, getting local, massive storms, of which Sandy is of course the star.
MY SAY If only religion and science could always get along as well as in this hour radiating awe of both. Faith experts provide literal chapter and verse, without disparaging the discipline of discovery. Weatherheads willingly acknowledge the super- of the -natural. The channel's go-to guy for severe weather, Carl Parker, says his specialty makes us "inherently feel something spiritual, because you're talking about forces and scales of magnitude that are so much larger than we are."
Yet "Top X: Bible Weather" employs the same formulation as most countdowns, and each numerical instance uses the same blueprint: Bible tale, scientific explanation, nasty footage from recent event -- houses crumble, cars tumble, Cantore stumbles into the storm. The only surprise is where each Bible biggie gets placed on the list.
BOTTOM LINE Betcha can't guess where Noah's ark ends up.