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TV Movie Goodness Mini-Series Preview: Lifetime’s The Red Tent [VIDEO and PHOTOS] 

Photo Credit: David Appleby/Lifetime
Photo Credit: David Appleby/Lifetime

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

Lifetime gets biblical this weekend with The Red Tent, a genuinely sweeping four-hour mini-series that follows a family of women short-shrifted in the Bible. Full disclosure–it’s been at least 30 years since I thumbed through a Bible, and I haven’t read the blockbuster novel by Anita Diamant which spawned this project. Those admissions out of the way, I can tell you I cut my TV-watching teeth on the mini-series of the 80s back in the days when they rolled out 6 and 12 parters–I’m talking about Roots, The Thorn Birds, The Winds of War, North and South, and on and on. The Red Tent is a worthy successor to those epic productions.

Photo Credit: Joey L./Lifetime
Photo Credit: Joey L./Lifetime
Photo Credit: Joey L./Lifetime
Photo Credit: Joey L./Lifetime
Photo Credit: Joey L./Lifetime
Photo Credit: Joey L./Lifetime

Set in Mesopotamia and Thebes during the Old Testament, the story is broken out over two nights and follows a tribe of women for whom the red tent in their compound is a place of solace, learning, and motherhood–it’s where they escape from the patriarchal society that would suffocate them.

The first night focuses on all of the women–the four wives of Jacob, and how they came to be his wives, and the coming of age of his headstrong, independent daughter Dinah (played by The White Queen‘s Rebecca Ferguson). The second night switches gears and follows Dinah into adulthood as a tragedy sets her on a path apart from her family, and her mothers.

In addition to Ferguson, the multi-national cast includes Minnie Driver as Dinah’s biological mother, Leah, and Morena Baccarin, Agni Scott, and Vinette Robinson as her other mothers. Will Tudor plays Dinah’s half-brother Joseph, who shares her divergent path. Iain Glen plays Jacob, and Debra Winger cameos as Dianh’s grandmother, who shares with her a bleak vision of her future.

The mini-series was filmed in Morocco and directed by Roger Young, who’s helmed several previous projects set in the same era, and adapted by Anne Meredith, who wrote Bastard Out of Carolina.

Photo Credit: Joey L./Lifetime
Photo Credit: Joey L./Lifetime
Photo Credit: Joey L./Lifetime
Photo Credit: Joey L./Lifetime

It’s super well done, and Ferguson is very good playing a role that spans decades. While she’s more of an ensemble player in part one, Dinah’s story anchors part two. If you’re itching for a break from the holiday films and enjoy historical-based dramas, this is the ticket.

The Red Tent airs Sunday and Monday on Lifetime, beginning at 9 pm/8c, preceded Sunday night by a new documentary called Women of the Bible, which starts at 7/6c. Here’s a sneak peek of the mini-series.

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