The wait was certainly worth it.
After three-and-a-half years in production and many more months of public anticipation, The History Channel's miniseries The Bible debuted on Sunday night to captivated audiences.
As the series opens, viewers are transported aboard Noah's ark, as it tips to-and-fro amid the raging waters of the great flood. There, Noah tells his family about the six days in which God created the earth and, then, how men became so evil that He was forced to cleanse the land with the rising waters that rocked beneath them.
We know the stories - of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, of Sodom and Lot's wife, of Abraham's faithful willingness to scarifice his own son, Isaac - but what sets Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's depictions of these stories apart is the humanness and personal touch written into each character.
A scene in which Abraham lovingly fathers Ishmael, whom he conceived with his servant Hagar, is heartbreaking as Abraham's wife Sarah looks on, devastated that she has yet to give birth to her own child. And then, as Sarah races up the mountainside, attempting to stop Abraham from sacrificing her son, viewers are again given an incredibly intimate look into the hearts and psyches of these inconic characters.
All in all, Burnett and Downey's Bible series is a success, a true and honest - albeit sometimes graphic - retelling of the greatest stories that ever were.
"We have both been very blessed to have achieved success in our careers," the husband and wife team wrote in a guest essay for the Huffington Post. "But while working on The Bible, we have experienced a different kind of success and prosperity. It is the success of accomplishing something that God has led us to do. And it is the prosperity of knowing that accomplishing the things God calls us to do results in deep satisfaction and fulfillment that worldly success and prosperity can never bring.
"It is our prayer that the same message of God's love permeates The Bible series. And that the lives of those who see it may be touched as much as the lives of those who made it."