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Sunday, March 13, 2022

Lenten Blogging 2022: Day 12

A few years ago a movie, or whatever, started popping up in Facebook ads.  Something called The Chosen.  I looked into it.  Turns out that The Chosen is a streaming series about the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of the disciples.  Intriguingly, the entire show has been completely crowdfunded.  Season one aired in 2019 and this past year saw the release of season two.  More seasons are planned.  A few months ago saw the release of a Christmas special in theaters, and it apparently did quite well.

This past week, for a number of reasons, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided that it was finally time to check out The Chosen and see what the hype was about.  I finished season one last night.

What did I think?  In a word: WOWSERS!!


Let's talk about the cinematography first.  The Chosen may be the most beautiful attempt to depict the era of Christ, that I have ever seen.  Yes there have been more theatrical efforts, like The Passion of the Christ, but that film is in a class all its own.  The Chosen's camera work reminded me of that from Game of Thrones... and that's not a bad thing at all.  In fact, all while watching this I found myself thinking that this series wouldn't be that far removed from being an HBO quality show.  Right down to what could be considered an iconic title sequence and work of art all its own.  Part and parcel to this is the effects work: there is more than you might expect from a series like this.  The miracle of the fish is one of the better CGI-enhanced scenes that I've beheld in recent years.  I'm looking forward to seeing what else The Chosen brings in that regard as the seasons progress.

Then there is the casting.  Every role is well played, from Jesus Himself (portrayed by Jonathan Roumie) to the initially reviled Matthew (Paras Patel).  And for Nicodemus the producers were able to cast Erick Avari.  You'll know the face even if you can't recall the name.  Avari has been in a lot of good projects and his inclusion in The Chosen bode well. I think my favorite character so far has to be Simon, played by Shahar Isaac.  Watching Simon transform from punchy slick-talking fisherman into Jesus's most devoted servant is a lovely thing to behold.

Concurrent with casting, there is the chemistry at work among these characters.  Especially among the disciples, who are coming from disparate backgrounds and careers.  By the end of season one they are well on their way to being the band of thirteen (including Mary Magdalene) willing to follow Jesus unto the ends of the earth.

The writing on The Chosen is magnificent.  It is also more than a little daring.  This series depicts Jesus in ways that nobody has risked doing before and yet it ALL makes sense.  When we see Jesus making farting sounds to entertain a couple of children who have found Him, well... why not?  This Jesus is absolutely divine.  And He is also absolutely human.

Folks, I'm just gobstopped by how impressed I was with The Chosen season one.  It was NOT what I was expecting at all.  Dallas Jenkins and his crew have turned in a television series as mighty, as risk-filled, and as rewarding as any other.  And I will absolutely recommend catching it.

You have some options about that.  Seasons one and two are available on Blu-Ray and DVD.  But if you wanna watch it now (and you should) there's the official The Chosen app for iOS devices and on Google Play.  I watched season one on my iPad, except for the final episode which I streamed onto my high-def TV.  So if you've a streaming thingy like a Roku or whatever it'll work with that too.

And if you like The Chosen enough, you can also contribute to the crowdsourcing.  Season three has been fully funded and they're now onto funding season four.  I decided it was worth making a contribution toward.  And after watching a few episodes, you may decide it's worth contributing to also.  Visit the official The Chosen website for more.