‘The Chosen’ for a Better New Year
While its crowd-sourced funding and modest production budgets have made The Chosen a quiet success until now, its recent “blow out the doors” performance in theaters have given this TV series new visibility.
In case you missed it, the first two episodes of season 3 were packaged for theaters and ranked third nationally in box office revenues the weekend of Nov. 18.
My wife and I became viewers of the series only just over a year ago when we discovered that Peacock had free showings of The Chosen Christmas Movie.
A friend had told us about taking his two sons to see it at a theater; they weren’t too enamored. That’s because it’s more like an 80-minute music special followed by a 40-minute Christmas story.
But what music! Some were familiar carol-type tunes, but many were new to us and by artists we didn’t know.
Several times I exclaimed, “That’s the best Christmas song I’ve ever heard,” only to repeat myself later. In our house, it’s a new Christmas-time viewing tradition.
While it’s a bit late for the Christmas version, in mid-December the streaming app and other platforms began showing season 3. While we just watched the first episode, I’m not sure how quickly we’ll finish all eight. It’s to be savored casually, not binge-watched.
I consider this one of the best dramatizations of the life of Jesus ever produced. I formed that opinion after watching season 1 on Peacock soon after the Christmas movie. Our fall ‘22 viewing of season 2 reinforced this impression.
Going back five years, we first heard about the series from several friends and our pastor. In addition to their rave reviews, several Christian magazines published stories about it. Yet we never managed to get around to watching.
Now that we have, we are fans. The fact it’s taken five years for the series to make it to season 3 illustrates its unique history. Because it’s been backed by a host of individuals, The Chosen hasn’t been subject to the normal pressures of the commercial marketplace, but has also had to move at a slower pace.
A Fuller Picture
There are all kinds of reasons I like the series, but to name a few:
- It shows Christ’s human side
Jesus is a joking, laidback, approachable figure. Yet He’s also clearly divine, as seen through His remarkable intelligence, insight into human emotions, and prophetic and healing gifts.
- It depicts the enormous impact Jesus made
Everywhere Jesus went, people followed. Accounts, both fictional and factual, swirled around Him. Roman soldiers came to check on the fuss, angry that unrest in the Jewish sector might lead to reports that landed on Caesar’s desk.
- Its portrayal of Jesus’s compassion
Anyone familiar with John knows the story of the Lord turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). But what I recognized watching this episode in The Chosen was why Christ performed this miracle: to save face for the bridegroom’s parents. People of modest means, they had been scorned by the bride’s upper-crust family.
- Its sense of humor
In the last episode of season 2, Jesus is meeting with Mark—the inveterate note-taker and scribe—to discuss writing His legendary Sermon on the Mount. As they reflect on various opening lines, Jesus says they must be memorable.
At one point the Lord says (in effect, because this isn’t a direct quote), “What should I say, ‘Do what you’ve been doing for the last thousand years because that’s worked so well’”?
That observation provoked guffaws from yours truly. But don’t take my word for it. Watch it yourself.