I recently watched the first season of The Chosen, the first-ever multi-season TV show about the life of Jesus. The show is directed by Dallas Jenkins and it was created outside of the Hollywood system. The Chosen shows the Savior through the eyes of those who knew Him.
Like many others viewers, I loved that the series combines historical authenticity with some creative fiction, showing living characters that seems authentic, people with whom we can easily connect.
The multi-episode streaming series is produced by and exclusively available to stream at VidAngel.
“People from the Jewish faith, evangelical Christians, Catholics and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all came together as one to make this series happen,” said VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon. “We celebrate the fresh, evangelical, and biblical script that is more concerned with telling a story from the New Testament that we can all relate to rather than focusing on religious differences between faiths.”
An eight-part Bible study series, largely created by Jenkins’ wife Amanda and biblical scholar Douglas Huffman (who is the TV show’s principal expert), centres on “what does it mean to be chosen?”
Amanda Jenkins outlined to Eternity News how the materials include Old Testament context and details, their connection with the New Testament and then how that lands for people today.
“We have so many great points of application [in the show] because we see ourselves in these characters … but we aren’t actually on the ground with him … It was really put on my heart to answer the question: ‘What does this really mean for us?’” said Amanda Jenkins about the importance of Jesus in the real lives of viewers.
The first season consists of eight episodes and follows the stories of Mary Magdalene, Peter, Matthew, Nicodemus, and others as they learn of the man called Jesus and gain a sense of his divine mission. At the heart of “The Chosen” is a desire to tell the story of Christ in a living way.
“Aside from the fact that it is truly an interfaith project, we believe that people are responding so enthusiastically to the show because it’s authentic,” Harmon explained to LDSDaily. “It brings the Bible to life by highlighting the fact that these people were real people and that this was a real human experience. Rather than feeling like distant pages, it connects to help people alive today, and I think that’s the magic that Dallas Jenkins, his team, and the backers (we call them The Chosen army) created.”
Working outside of the Hollywood machine has never been financially easy, and VidAngel’s team turned to social media and crowd-funding. Initially, they thought they’d be impressed if they managed to raise $800. What happened next can be described as a miracle. By the time the crowd-funding project had ended, “The Chosen” had raised over $10 million dollars from more than 16,000 people. It became the largest crowd-funded media project of all-time.
THE CHOSEN SEASON TWO
The Chosen Season Two is about how the relationships between the disciples start to develop. According to Eternity News,
From the Texas set of The Chosen – and without announcing when Season Two will be available – Jenkins dropped a scene from Episode One. It featured Jesus’ newly formed band of disciples (from the end of Season One) and their sparring for prominence.
“In Episode One, there’s been a little bit of in-fighting between the disciples about who is in charge; who is supposed to be the leader. James and John have started to assert themselves as the leaders,” said Jenkins to his online audience.
As former tax collector Matthew (Paras Patel) admits to having “never performed hard labour”, his fellow disciples walk and talk through a marketplace and discuss Jesus’ plans to visit a leper colony and whether Jewish purity laws will be preserved.
The disciples wind up debating what is the best use of Jesus’ time – should he debate with rabbis or meet with local treasury officials?
“Let’s leave it the boss, hey? What do you think?” offers Simon (Shahar Isaac) before James and John command the group about what to get for a dinner party that evening.
Like the first season did, everyday interactions of biblical characters are at the fore, located during the first century period of Jesus Christ’s public ministry.
Season Two received a similar level of crowdfunding to Season One, and almost $1 million of the $15 million budget for Season Three already has been raised.