TV Review: CBS’ ‘The Dovekeepers’

Husband-wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey partner again for a new biblical epic, CBS’ The Dovekeepers. The four-hour miniseries stars network alum Cote de Pablo (NCIS) and Rachel Brosnahan (House of Cards) as witnesses at the siege of Masada, along with Sam Neill, playing the historian who captures their retelling. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“This epic two-night tale of the siege of Masada – starring Cote De Pablo – by Rome’s bloodthirsty legions  proves that big is not always better on the small screen ”
—Dominic Patten, Deadline

“These women ought to be more interesting than they are. As with another recent ancient-world concoction, The Red Tent on Lifetime, the filmmakers here seem to think alternate perspectives must be delivered in the language of bodice-ripping paperbacks.”
—Neil Genzlinger, New York Times

“It is so bad that a person could write books about its badness. It is so bad that it should be seen by anyone involved in television in any way, so as to ensure that this level of badness does not occur ever again. It is so bad it's almost good — who knew there was so much adulterous kissing in the days leading up to the mass suicide at Masada? ”
—Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times

“This type of as-told-to storytelling works well in literature, but it hampers The Dovekeepers, as Flavius Josephus constantly breaks into the story to chastise these women for their choices, killing momentum to insert a stark point of view into the text. ”
—Molly Eichel, A.V. Club

“[The] closing moments capture some of the romance that has surrounded the story of Masada, but having poorly established the characters even with the occasional Harlequin Romance-style grappling between Shirah and Eleazar, it’s simply too little, too late.”
—Brian Lowry, Variety