This Netflix show has knocked '3 Body Problem' out of the No. 1 spot

Testament: The Story of Moses
(Image credit: Netflix)

Sci-fi adaptation “3 Body Problem” has been the hottest show on Netflix since its release on March 21, after which it quickly rose to the No. 1 spot on Netflix’s top 10 TV shows. But now, it's been displaced by a show that doesn’t have the buzz associated with a bestselling novel series or “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. 

The religious documentary series “Testament: The Story of Moses” does have one of the most popular books of all time (that would be the Bible) as its source material, and “Game of Thrones” star Charles Dance as narrator. 

With the recent Easter and upcoming Passover holidays, it’s not surprising that viewers might have been looking for religious content, and since “Testament” was just released on March 27, it would have been prominently placed among Netflix’s newest offerings. Obviously, it struck a chord with audiences, sending it to the top of the chart, above popular series including Guy Ritchie’s “The Gentlemen” and the latest season of “Is It Cake?”

What is ‘Testament: The Story of Moses’ about?  

As its title implies, “Testament” tells the story of Biblical prophet Moses, in a three-part series chronicling the major events of his life. It’s a non-denominational presentation that Netflix bills as “revealing Moses’ intensely personal quest for redemption — setting in motion some of the most inspiring and iconic events in the Bible, Qur’an and Torah.” The documentary mixes talking-head interviews with religious scholars and experts with re-enactments featuring actor Avi Azulay as Moses.

This isn’t Charlton Heston in the classic film “The Ten Commandments,” though, and “Testament” is as much about the perspectives offered by its interviewees as it is about the drama of the re-enactments, as Moses leads the Hebrews out of Egypt and receives the Ten Commandments. It’s a basic primer on the life of one of the most renowned figures in world religion, with an effort to be as inclusive as possible.

What the critics are saying about ‘Testament: The Story of Moses’

Critics seem to have much less interest in “Testament: The Story of Moses” than Netflix viewers do, since there are only a handful of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Those reviews are not particularly kind, though, and the show sits at a 29 percent “rotten” rating.

Ben Travers of IndieWire gave “Testament” a “C” grade and said, “Recapping the Old Testament with scripted ‘recreations’ and talking-head interviews, the three-part series isn’t a huge dramatic lift. There’s no nuance added or fresh perspective explored. The ‘Story’ simply intends to spread God’s word via the world’s most popular streaming service.”

From her Jewish perspective, Danielle Solzman of Solzy at the Movies said, “‘Testament: The Story of Moses’ offers more drama than documentary but the flaws may prove to be too much for religious viewers.”

Joel Keller at Decider was more favorable, giving “Testament” a “stream it” recommendation and calling it “one of the better ‘docudrama’ series we’ve seen since this hybrid style of series came into vogue, mainly due to good acting, cohesive storytelling, and expert interviews that add to the narrative instead of interrupting it.”

If that sounds appealing, maybe you’ll want to join all the Netflix users who’ve helped “Testament” rise to the top of the service’s most popular TV series.

Josh Bell

Josh Bell is a freelance writer and movie/TV critic based in Las Vegas. He's the former film editor of Las Vegas Weekly and has written about movies and TV for Vulture, Inverse, CBR, Crooked Marquee and more. With comedian Jason Harris, he co-hosts the podcast Awesome Movie Year.