The Chosen: – Season One Review

Without reservation, I can say that I love what Angel Studios is trying to do with this first season of The Chosen.  I understand the risks, and there certainly are some (discussed below), but after being deeply moved by more than one episode, I will call this first season a success.

The Chosen is absolutely not the Bible on television though.  What you get in The Chosen are a selection of Bible stories from the gospel (it seems to favor the book of John), where the writers/director take those stories and flesh them out with a large amount of fictional details. 

They do try to make the details historically and biblically accurate, but they are entirely fictional. 

SPOILER ALERT begins here, scroll down to skip:

Let’s use the apostle Matthew as an example.  Here is the list of fictional details for his character: 

  • His parents are leatherworkers and have disowned him.
  • They have been robbed.
  • Matthew is neurodivergent.
  • He owns a dog.
  • He has a sister.
  • He has to pay people to ‘sneak him into town’ because he’s so unpopular.
  • He has befriended the centurion who guards him.  –who I strongly suspect will be the centurion with the sick kid who appears in scripture.
  • He has met with and impressed the Praetor of Rome.
  • He was assigned to spy on Peter and witnessed the miracle fish-catch.

To be clear, NONE of these details are in the Bible, but…  I don’t care.  In fact, I love what they’ve done here, because NONE of these details contradict anything in the Bible.  They are just an artistic way to flesh out a character that we don’t hear a ton about in scripture.  It’s a chance to get you and I to consider that the apostle Matthew was a real person, with a full life of his own.  –thus making the response to Christ’s call ‘follow me’ far more emotionally impactful. 

The Chosen doesn’t just do this with Matthew, it fleshes out Mary Magdeline, Doubting Thomas, Peter, James, John, Nicodemus, and Thaddeus all to varying degrees as well.  It introduces you to the politics of Roman oppression through Praetor Quintus.  It dives into the Pharisees with Nicodemus, and two of his students.  

SPOILER ALERT OVER –

Lots, and lots, and lots of the information in The Chosen is made up.  In fact, I would expect that if you did a breakdown of how many ‘on screen minutes’ are direct from scripture and how many ‘on screen minutes’ are historical fiction…  there is way, way more fiction in this show than scripture. 

But again, I don’t care… in fact, I really appreciate it.  The goal of this show is clearly to humanize the disciples, to get you to think about whether or not can (or will) be one of them.  To do that you have to add to the story in order to make a television show, and Angel studios does that very well. 

And yet there are some dangers, though I believe them worth the risk, of taking in this type of media.

THE DANGERS AND RISKS – speaking of season one only here. 

To my friends in the greater Christian community who are scared of, or wary of this show.  You have valid concerns if: 

  • You are worried it will be the ONLY point of contact for someone getting to know Jesus (because so much of it is fictional).  –but both you and the church should be ready to help with that. 
  • You are worried it will supplant the gospel in someone’ s imagination.  It’s a powerful medium, it might do that… though it hasn’t for my wife and I.
  • If you are questioning whether or not this is Idolatry (because an image was made of Jesus). If that’s you, then you have a REALLY interesting question and we should sit down for coffee sometime.  At the moment, I don’t believe that this accusation applies to The Chosen, but it remains on my mind. 

I believe you have less valid concerns if: 

  • You are concerned that the show has Mormon backing, or Catholic ties, or nonchristians working on the production team – all accusations thrown around online. 
    • These things may be true, but I did not experience anything that contradicted scripture in season one, or that seemed to have an agenda. 
    • Perhaps my view of this will change for later seasons, and I hold that as a possibility, but I saw no concerns for season one. 

HOW WE USED THE SHOW

My wife and I used the show in the same way we would use a devotional book or podcast.  It’s someone’s artistic or scholarly interpretation of scripture. 

But it also a TV show… it’s entertainment, so we turned it into quality time together.

We made watching The Chosen a prayerful, but relaxed time together.  We were moved by the Holy Spirit, at times we laughed, at times we paused the show and chatted about what was happening, or what aspects of our own lives we were thinking about, or “I remember the first time when God did that in my life…”, and at times there were tears. 

We prayed, we watched, and then we spent time together in Christian conversation. 

That… was time very well spent. 

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