April 17, 2006 12:00 PM

ABC (April 10 and 11, 9 p.m. ET)

BY TOM GLIATTO

DRAMA

It’s a pity, or worse, that the most famous dramatization of Moses should still be Cecil B. De Mille’s 1956 epic The Ten Commandments, a huge, bland sponge cake drenched in Technicolor syrup. This new four-hour version, airing on the same network that traditionally broadcast the De Mille film each Easter, trims back the pageantry and tries for a degree of modern psychological realism. Dougray Scott, currently starring on NBC’s Heist, plays Moses as a prophet driven by divine will but often rattled by his God’s commands. Paul Rhys, as the pharaoh Ramses, is cruel but oddly pitiable: His headdress should be inscribed with whatever ancient hieroglyph would spell “loser.” The production itself is unimaginative. The parting of the Red Sea looks like a Christo project using giant blue shower curtains.

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