Yesterday, the final post went up concluding my marathon of the Bibleman franchise. Over the course of 15 years and 3 incarnations, Bibleman became one of the most popular and recognizable figures in Christian entertainment. So, how was the experience of completing the series?
It was pretty awful. There are definitely some golden moments here and there throughout the series that make for some ironic laughs, but the real purpose behind the series as an evangelical tool aimed at children is always present and evident, and it gives the whole series an unavoidably creepy vibe.
Oh, and did I mention all of those brutal Bibleman kills? Here’s a sampling of some of my favorites from the series for you: I’ll have to go back and come up with a final kill count for the franchise at some point, though.
As far as some other final thoughts on the series go, I was amazed to see how much it actually changed over time. Even more interestingly, it was astounding to see how many different hands the series went through, and too how they each impacted the product that wound up on screen. Throughout the series, I got the feeling that there was a lot of tension and backstabbing going on behind the scenes, as creators, actors, and directors would frequently disappear from the franchise, never to return. The creator of the Bibleman character doesn’t even get credit past episode four. I would love to interview some people involved with the show to get a better idea of what all happened behind the scenes, because there just isn’t a lot of information out there, and I can’t go very far on conjecture alone.
Anyway, without further ado, here is the master index of my Bibleman reviews, in chronological order:
Thanks for sticking this out with me, everyone! Next week, I’ll be back to the usual bad movie reviews. As for the rest of this week, you can look forward to a few more requests to be fulfilled over the next couple of days.
2010’s “In The Presence of Enemies” marks the final episode of the third and final incarnation of the Bibleman franchise: “Bibleman: Powersource.” Willie Aames’s replacement, Robert Schlipp, stars once again in the lead role of Bibleman in this final entry into the franchise.
“In The Presence of Enemies” was produced, directed, and written once again by Steve Gilreath, who was a consistent creative presence throughout all of the episodes in “Bibleman: Powersource.”
“In the Presence of Enemies,” as the name suggests, features nearly the entire cast of villains from throughout the run of “Bibleman: Powersource,” including The Cheater, Snortinskoff, Gamemaster, The Slacker, 2kul 4skul, and the supercomputer, L.U.C.I.. Likewise, Bibleman is joined by his entire team of allies from throughout the duration of “Bibleman: Powersource”: Melody, Cypher, and Biblegirl.
The story of “In The Presence of Enemies” follows an alliance between a number of Bibleman’s toughest adversaries, who have grown frustrated with the hero interfering with their various sinister shenanigans. Together, they try to bring down the Bible Adventure Team with a cooperative plot to write and distribute a fake version of the bible with manufactured scripture, in order to confuse them and lead them astray.
The episode opens up with Bibleman and Cypher being flown around in fighter jets, for pretty much no reason at all. It reminded me of the racecar introduction to “Lambasting the Legions of Laziness,” in that it just seems to be something they wanted to do, and it helped them kill time.
It was a nice move to actually have a proper, consolidated sendoff for “Bibleman: Powersource”, as “The Bibleman Adventure” limped to its conclusion with various elements of finality spread throughout “A Fight for Faith,” “A Light In The Darkness,” and “Divided We Fall.” I do wish that either The Wacky Protester or Luxor Spawndroth had been brought back as a nod to the previous incarnation, but I wasn’t particularly shocked by their absence. From what I can tell, the transition from “The Bibleman Adventure” to “Powersource” wasn’t particularly pleasant, and those bridges were likely burned.
However, this is also probably the shortest episode in the whole franchise, not even clocking in at thirty minutes. Traditional wisdom would say that a finale should be big and flashy, but this is just the opposite: half-assed and short, like they just wanted to get it over with and put it in the can. Despite the presence of so many bad guys, this episode just feels small and uninspired, featuring a countless number of extraneous clips and flashbacks, and even a foodfight between the various villains. They couldn’t even get the guy who plays Snortinskoff to physically show up, and have him literally phone in his performance.
The villains’ plot, which involves creating a fake bible, is beyond ridiculous. They honestly think that Bibleman and company, who obsessively quote scripture from memory, won’t realize that their bibles have been tampered with, which goes to prove that Bibleman villains are far from the brightest bulbs out there. However, the plot inexplicably works for a while, proving that anti-intellectual super heroes might not be the best idea, either.
In a rare showcase of mercy to conclude the series, the villains are shrunk, captured, and placed in a tiny cage for the amusement of the Bible Adventure Team, instead of ritually executed to please their ever-hungry God. However, Gamemaster is never shown in the cage, and Snortinskoff is also never specifically dealt with, leaving a theoretical window open for future adventures. Thankfully, however, those have not come to be.
Between this and the equally zero-effort “Combating the Commandant of Confusion,” “Bibleman Powersource” manages to end even less gracefully than “The Bibleman Adventure.” This was clearly either due to financial constraints or a collapse behind the scenes, or perhaps even a combination of both of these things. In any case, “In the Presence of Enemies” makes for a pretty lackluster nose-dive into the finish line for the “Bibleman” franchise. On the positive side of things, this means I’m done with Bibleman! You all can look forward to retrospective on the series within the next day, and thanks for sticking around!
2010’s “Combating the Commandant of Confusion” marks the penultimate episode of the third and final incarnation of the Bibleman franchise: “Bibleman: Powersource.” Willie Aames’s replacement, Robert Schlipp, stars once again in the lead role of Bibleman.
“Combating the Commandant of Confusion” is once again produced and directed by Steve Gilreath, but is this time written by Bibleman himself, Robert Schlipp.
The central villain of “Combating the Commandant of Confusion” is the eponymous Commandant: a metallic, verbose, Soviet-inspired, malapropism-spouting military commander. However, the first villain who appears on stage is a henchman named Chaos, who is just some person in a jumpsuit and a motocross biking helmet. This, frankly, sets a new standard for laziness in Bibleman villain designs.
Bibleman’s allies for the episode include the entire Powersource incarnation of the Bible Adventure Team: Cypher, Biblegirl, and Melody, though Melody is relegated to a minimal supporting role.
The story of the episode follows the Bible Adventure Team hosting a training demonstration to a live audience, in which they are supposed to use a new, recently developed weapon. However, the Commandant of Confusion and Chaos steal the instructions for the device, and plot to replace it with some sort of vaguely evil gizmo to destroy Bibleman and company. Of course, the team figures out a way to defeat them, and ultimately reveal that the “weapon” is actually just a bible. Really.
The episode starts with a retrospective of the entirety of “Bibleman Powersource” to date, totaling in for a whopping two and a half minutes of the run time. It is not only totally unnecessary background, but given the abnormally short length of the episode, I imagine that they were desperate to fill in the time with anything they could find. Likewise, the ending features a particularly bloated prayer segment that seems to drag on indefinitely.
There are live versions of a number of episodes in the Bibleman series, but “Combating the Commandant of Confusion” seems to be the only one that lacks a standard filmed version of the episode. I’m not sure if they did this specifically to cut costs, but it is kind of jarring. They try to make the live setup make sense as if it is a standard episode, under the guise of it being a training academy. However, it is pretty transparent given the low quality of the film and the restricted camera angles.
Something else that is odd about the episode is that, despite this being a live episode, post-production special effects are still used as if it was a standard episode, which just comes off looking strange.
The central concept behind this episode seems to be a sentiment of anti-intellectualism, with the portrayal of the Commandant being a verbose fraud who uses his appearance of intellect to confuse and manipulate people. This reminds me of how a lot of fundamentalists seem to think of university professors at secular institutions. However, I was a bit surprised at how the villain was designed: why did he have to be military-themed? They literally just had one of those with Baron Von Braggard in the previous episode, and it would make a whole lot more sense for Confusion to be a tweed-clad professor caricature, given the way he carries himself and uses language.
The Commandant of Confusion is, of course, struck down by the Bible Adventure Team at the conclusion of the episode. The Commandant winds up taking a slash from Bibleman’s laser sword, which leaves him thoroughly disintegrated, while Chaos manages to escape unharmed.
“Combating the Commandant of Confusion” is incredibly half-assed in just about every way you can imagine. The villains are dull, the story is boring, the run-time is short and packed with filler, and they didn’t even bother to do a professional, studio version of the episode. This is corner-cutting and production laziness at its finest, and makes the episode absolutely skippable.
2009’s “Blasting the Big Gamemaster Bully” marks the fifth episode of the third and final incarnation of the Bibleman franchise: “Bibleman: Powersource.” Willie Aames’s replacement, Robert Schlipp, stars once again in the lead role of Bibleman.
“Blasting the Big Gamemaster Bully” is once again written by Michael Nolan (“Crushing the Conspiracy of The Cheater,” “Terminating the Toxic Tonic of Disrespect”) and directed/produced by series regular Steve Gilreath.
The primary villain of the episode is, of course, Gamemaster: a robot who previously popped up in a minor role in “Lambasting the Legions of Laziness,” in which he was notably stabbed to death by Bibleman. A secondary villain appears in the form of a pig-nosed militaristic creature named Baron Tantamount Von Braggart.
Bibleman is joined by his usual team of allies: his long-time sidekick Cypher, Biblegirl, and the relative newcomer, Melody.
The story of the episode follows Gamemaster, who has been reconstructed and upgraded since Bibleman destroyed him in “Lambasting the Legions of Laziness.” With the help of the evil computer L.U.C.I., he creates a video game called “Big Bad Bully,” which allows kids to pretend to be bullies in a factional realm. However, it apparently brainwashes the children into becoming violent and confrontational at the same time, which raises the attention of Bibleman’s team. Of course, they have to find a way to help the children, stop the video game, and find a way to stop the bullying epidemic in the local schools.
Von Braggart, in fitting with Bibleman tradition, dies brutally in the introductory sequence when his death laser somehow interacts negatively with his electric cane, leaving him a glowing, shocked mess. Surprisingly, Bibleman and team had nothing at all to do with this, and it actually seemed to be a genuine accident. I guess that is one of the hazards of keeping a death laser laying around.
Gamemaster is helped out by a legion of cheap-looking robot henchmen, which make his costume look comparatively advanced (and I previously compared him to ‘Sex Robot’). I honestly think they are made out of cardboard wrapped in cellophane, which is a combination that even makes classic Doctor Who episodes look impressive.
This episode actually shows a little bit of clever continuity from earlier in the series, which it deserves props for. In “Lambasting the Legions of Laziness,” Gamemaster sees Bibleman without his mask on, and manages to figure out his secret identity through searching a facial recognition database. He then uses information about Carpenter’s past to manipulate him, which is actually a pretty solid villain move.
Speaking of which, Gamemaster seems to be the only mostly-serious villain in the entire series, which actually serves to make him pretty forgettable among a colorful cast of villains. If I have a choice between watching The Cheater chew scenery or watching Gamemaster do actual villain things, I’m going to go with The Cheater every time. I don’t think anybody watches Bibleman for traditional bad guys, and having one at the center of an episode doesn’t do anyone any favors. To his credit, Gamemaster does seem to use a lot of puns, but his monotone doesn’t allow them to land very well.
Bibleman ultimately dispatches Gamemaster with the strategic use of a water balloon, which causes him to short circuit and burn out. I guess he deserves props for resourcefulness, but why the hell didn’t Gamemaster have any kind of waterproofing? What does he do when it rains? In any case, the bible team reaches a new level of cruelty with what they do to him after his defeat: instead of finishing him off, Cypher and Melody wipe his memory and force him to sing children’s bible songs indefinitely on loop. Honestly, couldn’t they just have stabbed him again? That’s just a weird thing to do to what I assume is at least a partly biological organism.
The episode’s plot is definitely based on the moral panic over violent video games, which was particularly heated in the 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, one of the most notorious video game companies, Rockstar, which creates the “Grand Theft Auto” series, actually did essentially create a bully-themed video game like the one featured in this episode, called, appropriately enough, “Bully.” It released roughly a year before this Bibleman episode, which means that it was likely an influence on the bully game featured in the plot.
I feel kind of mixed as to whether this episode gets a recommendation from me. Gamemaster is pretty boring, but it is kind of interesting to see an actual villain pop up for once. His henchman robots are hilariously cheap, but the story itself is way more forgettable than it might sound like. If you want to watch a video game episode of “Bibleman,” then “A Fight For Faith” was absolutely hilarious. This episode, outside of some minor details, is pretty forgettable.
2008’s “Lambasting the Legions of Laziness” marks the fourth episode of the third and final incarnation of the Bibleman franchise: “Bibleman: Powersource.” Willie Aames’s replacement, Robert Schlipp, stars once again in the lead role of Bibleman.
“Lambasting the Legions of Laziness” is once again produced and directed by series regular Steve Gilreath, and written by Jeff Durham, who previously penned “Tuning Out The Unholy Hero.”
The primary villain of the episode is The Slacker, who looks like a wizard in pajamas. There is also a secondary villain, a robot named Gamemaster, who will pop back up in his own dedicated episode later on.
Bibleman is of course joined by his usual lineup of Bible Adventure Team allies: Cypher, Melody, and the newly reappointed Biblegirl.
The story follows The Slacker as he uses a magical lantern to cause members of Bibleman’s bible study group to become listless and unmotivated. Bibleman and company eventually realize something is wrong, but not until after they fall victim to his magic themselves. Of course, prayer manages to cure them (as it always does), and the team then goes after The Slacker.
The episode opens with Bibleman driving a race car, during which a guy in a cheap robot costume (Gamemaster) tries to assassinate him. Speaking of which, Gamemaster looks about as advanced as Sex Robot or the cardboard box outfits from “The Humans Are Dead” by Flight of the Conchords, and speaking in one of the laziest robot impersonation voices that you will ever hear.
In true Bibleman fashion, Gamemaster is straight-up stabbed to death by the crusading hero, who clearly isn’t very big on mercy or the potential for redemption. Or, at least, not for robots.
The main villain of the episode, The Slacker, features some of the worst aging makeup I have ever seen. Could they not have found an older man to play the part, as opposed to trying to transform a young guy? Even the fake beard looks embarrassingly awful, and those just can’t be all that hard to come by.
I feel like this episode is vaguely anti-marijuana in its message, but without ever explicitly stating that. The Slacker’s demeanor and everyone’s behavior under his spell throughout the episode struck me as being what a fundamentalist Christian would imagine being stoned is like, which is pretty damn hilarious to me. That also means that this episodes marks yet another instance in the series where the villain blatantly drugs children, which is pretty creepy as far as tropes / motifs go.
Something that you might spot in the background of this episode is one of the Bibleman branded action figures. Specifically, a figure of El Furioso (“Conquering The Wrath of Rage”) is used as part of one of The Slacker’s devices, which Bibleman manages to defuse.
In the end of the episode, Bibleman and company wind up defeating The Slacker, and hold him at the point of their laser swords. The Slacker makes the reasonable inquiry as to what they are going to do with him, which may very well have saved his life, judging from Bibleman’s murderous track record. However, the outcome is ultimately kind of creepy. Here is how it plays out:
The Slacker: “So tell me, Bibleman, what are you planning to do with me?”
Bibleman: “I think you need a long vacation. I’ll even buy you a one-way ticket.”
There is then an immediate cut to the following image:
That sure does raise a lot of questions, doesn’t it? Now, i don’t think it is unreasonable to assume that “The Bad Place” is Hell. However, when someone gets a “one-way ticket” to Hell, that usually means they have been quite thoroughly murdered. Also, how exactly is this package supposed to be delivered to “The Bad Place,” regardless of whether it is Hell or anywhere else? That just isn’t specific enough at all, and I’m pretty sure, theologically speaking, there aren’t a whole lot of people out there who believe that Hell has a deliverable postal address. In any case, I believe that The Slacker pops up in the series finale, so he managed to survive his “one-way ticket” to “The Bad Place.”
“Lambasting the Legions of Laziness” isn’t one of the stronger entries into the franchise, and I personally think that the villain is one of the dullest and least interesting. I mean, there is only so much you can do with a villain centered around sloth, so I guess they did what they could. Still, the story is unremarkable, and the makeup on The Slacker is distractingly terrible, and there aren’t really enough highlights to make the experience of watching through the episode worth it.
2007’s “Crushing the Conspiracy of The Cheater” marks the third episode of the third and final incarnation of the Bibleman franchise: “Bibleman: Powersource.” Robert Schlipp stars once again in the lead role of Bibleman.
“Crushing the Conspiracy of The Cheater” was directed by Steve Gilreath, and written by Michael Nolan: both of whom are regulars behind the scenes on the “Powersource” series.
The central villain of the episode is The Cheater, who was previously introduced in “Terminating the Toxic Tonic of Disrespect” in a flashback. The episode also features two accessory villains, played by radio personalities Rick & Bubba. Predictably, they are a radio-themed dastardly duo called The Whine Brothers.
Bibleman is once again joined by his allies Cypher and Melody in “Crushing the Conspiracy of The Cheater,” and Biblegirl also finally makes her physical return to the series after being absent for two episodes.
The story of “Crushing The Conspiracy of The Cheater” focuses on a plot by the villain known as The Cheater to trick young Christian students into cheating on their schoolwork, as well as a local Bible Bowl. L.U.C.I., the evil supercomputer, manages to steal all of the answers for the Bible Bowl from U.N.I.C.E., and The Cheater then distributes them via a hotline. Of course, Bibleman and company catch wind of this, and aim to stop The Cheater and teach the children a lesson about being honest and not trusting strange men that show up at your school.
First off, The Whine Brothers are very perplexing creatures. They are played by the radio hosts Rick & Bubba, so it is no surprise that they have a radio theme. However, their appearance is just bizarre: they look like Elvis impersonators with bullhorns on their ears and microphones spouting from their necks. Also, their evil plan is to make children whine a bunch? Don’t they pretty much do that anyway? Also, one of them definitely uses a cheap air blaster as a weapon, which gave me a lovely flashback to “Santa Claus Conquers The Martians.”
Also, in Bibleman tradition, both of The Whine Brothers explode violently, with Bibleman taking one of them out in a classic Obi Wan vs. Darth Vader move. This is actually more directly violent than he usually is, as he typically deflects blasts back at villains to kill them. Likewise, The Cheater ultimately takes a stab to the gut at the end of the episode, marking two pretty dramatic kills for Bibleman in one story. Or, rather, it would have: The Cheater somehow survives due to his Ant-Man shrinking device malfunctioning from the blow.
Clearly they needed to fill time in this episode, because there is a sequence where Bibleman operates heavy machinery in order to dispose of the evil gadget being used by The Whine Brothers. Usually this is glossed over, but apparently in this episode it was important that the audience see that Bibleman can operate a backhoe.
One of the main child actors in the episode is absolutely awful, and has very thick southern drawl that is absent from any other character. I don’t know how anyone thought it was a good idea to put him on screen, much less give him a primary speaking role. The best I can guess is that he was related to someone in the production, because there isn’t anything quite as traditionally Christian as nepotism.
In regards to The Cheater himself, I am really confused how nobody spotted this guy walking into a school? Because he might be the least subtle villain in the show thus far. I was reminded a little bit of The Wacky Protester in “A Fight For Faith,” who abducted children from a church without being questioned, while carrying a box labeled “evil.”
Speaking of the villains, how does L.U.C.I. keep bouncing from villain to villain? She has been in every episode of Powersource thus far, without any explanation of how she was discovered after the fall of The Wacky Protester, or how she is coming into the possession of the various villains of the series. The transition from Luxor Spawndroth to Primordius Drool was at least sensible, and adequately explained the transition of the computer. No such luck here.
This episode is a pretty solid recommendation from me. The Cheater is probably the most over-the-top adversary in the franchise next to The Wacky Professor, and every second he is on screen is a joy. The radio bad guys are also super-cheesy, and seeing Bibleman inexplicably operate heavy machinery is just golden. The story itself is kind of dull, but there are certainly some highlights here.
2006’s “Tuning Out the Unholy Hero” marks the second episode of the third and final incarnation of the Bibleman franchise: “Bibleman: Powersource.” Robert Schlipp stars in his third episode as Bibleman, after taking over the role from Willie Aames.
The antagonist for “Tuning Out The Unholy Hero” is a silver-coated, media-obsessed, and fame-powered man named “2kul 4skul,” played by Jeff Durham, who is clearly styled to be like a rap artist. He also has a quasi-henchmen named “Werner B,” which I assume must be a reference to Warner Brothers. A secondary villain pops up in a brief sequence (not unlike “The Cheater” in “Terminating the Toxic Tonic of Disrespect”) named “I. M. Wonderful,” who seems to be based around vanity. The concept reminded me a bit of “Madame Glitz,” a villain who popped up way back in the second episode of “The Bibleman Show,” called “Back to School.”
Biblegirl is once again absent in “Tuning Out The Unholy Hero,” leaving the bible team composed of the trio of Bibleman, Cypher, and the newcomer, Melody, who was introduced in the previous episode.
The story of “Tuning Out The Unholy Hero” focuses on the new celebrity “2kul 4skul,” who is using his new-found fame to corrupt children into being disrespectful and rebellious. Bibleman and his team take notice of this, and discover that he is using his media platform to essentially brainwash his audiences. Despite his possession of a magical remote control, Bibleman and company are able to expose 2kul as a villain, and foil his scheme to cause teenagers to behave rebelliously.
The villain’s power in “Tuning Out The Unholy Hero” is the use of a magical remote control that can manipulate reality. If that sounds familiar to you, it is because that is the plot of the 2006 Adam Sandler summer flick, “Click.” If I am not mistaken, this video would have been released right in the middle of the promotional campaign for that film, so I have trouble believing that this decision was entirely an accident. In any case, the humor in this episode derived from the device makes Sandler look like a comedic genius.
The portrayal of the villain 2kul 4skul is, at the very best, insensitive and misguided. The character, who is designed to speak and look like a rap star, is a stone’s throw from being in black face (the makeup color is silver/gray). Clearly, the writer of the episode had an axe to grind with the violent, brash, and ‘un-Christian’ content of some popular music, and wanted some kids with sideways baseball caps to get off his lawn pronto. It is beyond ludicrous, but it is hard to laugh at a depiction that is so obviously racially charged. Honestly, I’m surprised anything was able to top Wacky Protestor’s flamboyant Jewishness, but here we are: a silver-coated, old white guy brainwashing children with his rap music and rebellious attitude.
Speaking of 2kul 4skul, he stands out from the other villains in the series in another peculiar way: bible verses apparently cause him physical harm. Bibleman, of course, spots verse constantly in combat, but there has never been any indication that the verses themselves actually did anything in the past. In this episode, however, 2kul visibly and consistently flinches when confronted with bible verses, which is never explained in any detail. Is this meant to be specific to his character, or has Bibleman finally figured out a way to weaponize the bible?
This is another episode in the series that I had never seen previously, and it honestly isn’t a standout. The villain is the only reason to catch this one, because the portrayal is astoundingly out of touch and tone deaf, even for a Bibleman episode.
“Terminating the Toxic Tonic of Disrespect” marks the first episode of the third and final incarnation of the Bibleman franchise: “Bibleman: Powersource.” Robert Schlipp stars in his second episode as Bibleman, after taking over the role from Willie Aames.
“Terminating the Toxic Tonic of Disrespect” was produced and directed by Steve Gilreath, and written by Michael Nolan. As far as I can tell, there was very little carry-over from “The Bibleman Adventure” behind the scenes.
Bibleman is once again joined by his longtime ally, Cypher, who features much more prominently in the new, incredibly boring opening sequence. Biblegirl is absent from the episode (only temporarily), but a new character named Melody is introduced as the third member of the team.
The new villain of the episode is a neon mohawked creature named E. Meritus Snortinskoff, who is accompanied by a henchman named Stench. There is another villain introduced in a flashback: a Riddler-inspired man called “The Cheater,” who will pop up later in the series. These villains, in a bit of a separation, aren’t the offensive stereotypes I typically expect of the series. Instead, the antagonistic duo of Snortinskoff and Stench are just run-of-the-mill zany mad scientists. However, they also aren’t quite as memorable as The Wacky Protestor, which is hard to deny.
The story starts as the two sinister scientists are making a bunch of kids indignant and rebellious by selling them “M-Pow-R” energy drinks made from sugar, water, and, basically, “pure evil.” The Bible team realize what is happening after noticing a bunch of burgeoning teenagers acting shitty to authority figures. Because, you know, that never happens otherwise.
The Bible Team ultimately wind up getting a sample of the “M-Pow-R” energy drink, and discover its contents (selfishness, bad attitudes, and probably a lot of high fructose corn syrup I assume?). This leads to a rambling, scripture-laced train of thought that could rival the revelation scene from “Black Dynamite.” Somehow, through rambling about trees for a while, the team figures out where to find the evil scientists.
The acting is somehow dramatically worse than during the run of “The Bibleman Adventure,” which I think is primarily the fault of the new lead, Robert Schlipp (and what I assume is a lower budget). He is so astoundingly wooden that he makes Willie Aames look like a real leading man. Speaking of which, Cypher really should be Bibleman, which is something that I mentioned in my reviews of the past couple of episodes. Schlipp is just awful, and lacks any kind of charisma or screen presence, which Brady Williams actually does have to a degree. Clearly concessions had to be made to get Cypher to come back at all, like having him appear alongside Bibleman in the opening sequence.
The Bibleman lair is gone, which I suppose makes sense, given I assume that was underneath Miles Peterson’s house. Instead, the team is based out of what looks to be a trailer, or “Mobile Command.” They also have kind of creepy, military-ish jumpsuits when they are not in superhero garb, which makes them seem even more like a fanatical paramilitary group. The fact that the show continues on with the previously only vaguely referenced “Board of Directors” of “Central Command” just strikes me as all kinds of creepy, like there is a sinister, right-wing corporation funding fundamentalist vigilantes all across the world.
The introduction of Melody offers the only actual good lesson that I have seen in the entire series: BibleMan and Cypher at first assume that she is a delivery girl when she shows up at the base, and initially dismiss her as a moron despite her expertise with technology. Of course, in typical BibleMan form, they never acknowledge the obvious sexism of their assumptions, and only ultimately apologize for not respecting her as one in “God’s image.” So close, BibleMan. So close.
Something that I will be interested to see once I get to The Cheater’s episode is if the flashback sequence in this story is recycled footage from there, because it is pretty jarring and out of place where it is here, like it was included to fill out time.
Something that I noticed quickly about this episode (in comparison to previous ones) is that the cinematography is distractingly awful, to the point of being nauseating during certain sequences with the villains. The camera is rotated dramatically and constantly during Snortinskoff’s screen time, which is more than excessive. Dutch angles can certainly be effective to create tension and unease, but the way they are used here is beyond over the top: the characters almost look like they are on a boat in choppy water.
This is another episode of Bibleman that I have covered previously on the blog, and I still really like it. This episode might not make the best introduction to the franchise, but it has all of the necessary elements to make for an entertainingly awful episode. The villains are hammy, the plot is nonsense, the acting is wooden, and the special effects / stunt work is laughably terrible. “Toxic Tonic” definitely gets a strong recommendation from me.
“A Fight For Faith” was originally released in December of 2004, and marked the final entry into “The Bibleman Adventure,” which was the second incarnation of the franchise after the short-lived “The Bibleman Show.” The franchise would continue with “Bibleman: PowerSource” in 2005, following the adventures of the new Bibleman introduced in “A Fight For Faith.”
“A Fight for Faith” was co-written by Brady Williams and Jef Scott, the actors who portray Cypher and Wacky Protester, respectively. The director for the episode, a role that had long been handled by the now-absent Willie Aames, is Jim Standridge, who had been a cinematographer on the show dating back to “Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience.”
The villain of “A Fight For Faith” is played by Jef Scott, who appears yet again under the moniker of “The Wacky Protestor,” a character who was notably killed at the end of “Divided We Fall.” Apparently, death once again holds no meaning in the Bibleman universe, as he returns apparently unharmed. The evil computer, L.U.C.I., also makes an appearance as his quasi-henchman once again.
Bibleman is surrounded by his same typical group of allies: Cypher, Biblegirl, and U.N.I.C.E., though Bibleman himself is a new character: Josh Carpenter, who replaces Miles Peterson as the crusading hero.
The story of “A Fight for Faith” centers around a plan by Wacky Protester to literally convert the whole world to atheism through the help of a virtual reality video game that he calls “ART.” The new Bibleman, Josh Carpenter, has to work with the rest of the bible team to save the day.
L.U.C.I.: So, you want to convert the kiddies to atheism?
Protester: Yes! Yes! That’s correct! The belief that there is no god, no faith, no hope, or no future.
“A Fight for Faith” starts with a cold open, where Cypher is attempting to stop a band of bible thieves. Literally, this gang is hauling around giant crates labeled “BIBLES.” Now, if there is anything I know about bibles, it is that they are numerous in quantity and can easily be acquired for free, thanks to the Gideons. So, what exactly is the point in stealing crates filled with bibles? I just don’t get it: they aren’t worth anything, people can access them anywhere, so what exactly is the purpose of the act outside of empty symbolism (which is also irrelevant, because they are doing this in secret). Apparently, their ultimate plan is to burn them. However, I don’t understand why they didn’t just collect the countless free bibles floating around out there to do that? The cost/benefit of going through the trouble and hazard of stealing them from a warehouse just doesn’t make sense to me, particularly for the purpose of what I assume is a political display.
Part of the plot that I didn’t cover in my summary is that the Wacky Protester at one point manages to sneak into a church, unquestioned, and essentially hypnotizes and kidnaps a number of kids from their vacation bible school. And it isn’t like he is sneaky or subtle: he wears the worst possible disguise, acts blatantly suspicious, and is hauling around a mysterious device that literally has “I ❤ Evil” painted on it. I’d be hesitant to trust any institution to keep children that fails to catch that in a security net.
Speaking of which, the evil, atheist video game that Protester uses to trap children in is definitely one of the weirdest things to ever show up in the show. It isn’t a virtual reality game as much as it is a portal to an alternate dimension that is filled with bright colors, cartoons, 2-D images, and nightmares:
The final showdown of the episode features, among other things, a sing/dance-off between Wacky Protester and Cypher, who are notably also the two co-writers of the episode. Apparently, they were just dying to do a duet, so they wrote one for themselves. The episode concludes with Protester getting trapped in his trippy video game dimension, which I suppose spares him the almost guaranteed brutal death that he was going to face at the hands of Bibleman and company.
“A Fight For Faith” may be the most popular episode in the entire franchise, as it is the only one to inspire both a live stage adaptation and a video game. It might just be that the episode title was catchy, but this is definitely the one Bibleman story I have run into the most often, in one incarnation or another.
Something that I can’t help but wonder is how burned Brady Williams, the actor who plays Cypher, was about not getting to become Bibleman after Willie Aames left the show. It seemed like he was being groomed for it, and his presence with the program dated back a long way. However, I suppose it was decided that the conservative, evangelical consumer base wasn’t ready for a black Bibleman. After all, this was only 2005!
I don’t think I have to go into too much detail as to how this episode is offensive and generally shitty to secular people. I mean, the entire premise of the story is that not believing in god is bad and wrong, and that there is literally nothing imaginably worse than a world populated and run by nonbelievers. The entire notion of a moral code beyond the bible is an entirely alien concept from the point of view of the show’s creators. The goal here is clearly to stigmatize anyone who doesn’t believe in god, and to convey that message directly to an audience of young children. In a series packed with lazy stereotypes and bad advice, this is the most brazenly offensive of the bunch in my opinion.
Of course, all of that also means that this episode is, unintentionally, an absolute laugh riot. The lack of understanding and comprehension of technology, atheism, science, and generally everything in this episode is exponentially more over-the-top than anything that has been in the show up to this point. It is enough for me to wonder if Willie Aames was actually a moderating creative force for the program. In any case, this episode makes for a strong recommendation from me: there is plenty of nonsense to enjoy here.
“Divided We Fall” was originally released in March of 2004, and was the eleventh entry into “The Bibleman Adventure,” which was the second incarnation of the franchise after the short-lived “The Bibleman Show.”
“Divided We Fall” was produced and directed by former sitcom star Willie Aames, who once again takes top billing as the central hero, Bibleman. This episode was written by Brady Williams, the actor who plays Bibleman’s sidekick, Cypher.
The villain of “Divided We Fall” is played by Jef Scott, who appears yet again under the moniker of “The Wacky Protestor,” a character who was previously defeated in “A Light In The Darkness.” The evil computer, L.U.C.I., also makes an appearance as his quasi-henchman.
Bibleman’s allies in “Divided We Fall” are his long-time sidekick, Cypher, his supercomputer, U.N.I.C.E., and Biblegirl, who is still played by Heather Hazelwood/McSmith from “Jesus Our Savior” and “A Light In The Darkness.”
The story of “Divided We Fall” picks up when the Wacky Protester tries to use the horrifying (and apparently popular) children’s show “Mr. Funky’s Wild Time” to corrupt children across the nation into becoming rebellious and disobedient. Likewise, he plans to sew discord within Bibleman’s team by using L.U.C.I to pose as U.N.I.C.E. for the purpose of spreading misinformation between them. Interestingly, that sounds really similar to “Silencing the Gossip Queen,” though that episode focuses on causing tensions between annoying children as opposed to annoying adults.
The Protester’s plan hinges on the assumption that Bibleman, Biblegirl, and Cypher won’t actually talk to each other like adults at any point, and prefer being passive aggressive and in-communicative indefinitely. Of course, it initially works because they are essentially giant babies (complete with a slap fight between Cypher and Bibleman), but they do eventually figure things out and foil his plan.
Of course, there is another big flaw in the Protester’s plan: the fact that he bothered to go after Bibleman at all. If he hadn’t hacked into U.N.I.C.E., the team would never have been tipped off as to his plan for “Mr. Funky’s Wild Time,” and he would have gotten away with it. I mean, how exactly was Bibleman going to predict his plan of attack on this television show anyway? If Protester had just hacked into the show and not been obsessively preoccupied with the bible team, he would have a legion of mindless children at his command…or something like that. Y’know, that part of the plan doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. Aren’t children pretty unruly and rebellious anyway? Was his plan to send a bunch of children into puberty early?
The Wacky Protester finally gets an explosive death in “Divided We Fall,” after taking a series of deflected laser blasts from the bible team. It is actually a bit underwhelming for a Bibleman villain death, but it is still pretty brutal for a humanoid to explode into pixels I suppose.
“Divided We Fall” marked Willie Aames’s last appearance as BibleMan, and there is even an awkward reference to Bibleman’s age and potential retirement in the episode. I’m not sure what the situation was in regards to his departure from the show, but I do know it at least had something to do with a change of publisher and the relaunch of the series as “Bibleman: PowerSource,” which occurs following the next episode (“A Fight for Faith”).
Overall, this episode is far from one of the worst in the series, and certainly benefits from the presence of the Wacky Protestor. However, there aren’t any goofy potions or spells, which is always one of the more goofy qualities of the show. There is plenty of impossible hacking magic, terrible acting, and incompetence from the bible team to go around, though. This is another one that isn’t towards the top of my list, but one could do much worse for an adventure with Bibleman.
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