5 Reasons to Watch The Chosen

My wife and I recently finished Season 1 of The Chosen, a new multi-season show about Jesus and the apostles. I was blown away by how good it was and how powerfully it spoke to me. If you haven't heard of this show - or if you've heard of it but haven't made time to watch it yet - here are five reasons you should give it a chance.

1. It is high-quality Christian art.
I don't want to disparage any particular movie, but there are negative stereotypes about Christian films that are often true - that they have bad acting, bad production value, and/or a message that hits you over the head. A lot of people will acknowledge that the quality of a Christian film is lacking, but forgive its faults because it is preaching a good message. But in order for a film to reach a wide enough audience to actually spread its message, it has to do better than that.

Enter The Chosen. It is well-written and well-acted, with a beautiful soundtrack and good cinematography. Bishop Robert Barron always says that people are attracted to the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. That is how God calls people to Himself, and that is how we should bring others to the faith. I believe that The Chosen is a show bursting with truth, goodness, and beauty.

2. It is not influenced by any "Hollywood" agenda.
The Chosen is not produced by any major Hollywood studio, or a television network. Nor is it put out by Netflix, Amazon, or HBO. The reason for this is that any of those outlets would have been able to influence the content of the show. Dallas Jenkins (the show's creator) wanted to tell the story of the Gospels, without any secular organization telling him what to put in or leave out. The show is distributed through a company called VidAngel, which remains hands off in the production, and allows Jenkins and his crew to produce the show according to their vision.

3. It encourages the viewer to engage with the gospels in a new way.
As a lifelong Catholic, I have heard the gospel stories hundreds of times. It can be very easy to allow the Gospel readings proclaimed at Mass (or in other settings) to go in one ear and out the other. Sometimes a priest will draw out an interesting point in a homily that I hadn't considered before, and in that moment, I will rediscover that Gospel story. In fact, this kind of experience has been all too common in my faith journey. I have taken certain truths for granted, only to be struck by moments of clarity. For example, I can't even count how many times I've "re-realized" - as if for the first time - that Jesus is really present in the Blessed Sacrament.

The Chosen does this with the Gospel stories. Watching the series, I "re-realize" that these were real events that happened to real people. The show explores the historical, political, and religious reality into which Jesus inserted Himself. By understanding what everyday life looked like for the Jews, we gain a deeper perspective into what it would have been like for them to hear Jesus's words for the first time.

4. I believe Jesus is speaking to us through this show.
In addition to shining more light on the broad context of the Gospels, The Chosen invites us to experience the story through the eyes of Jesus's disciples. In the first season, we really get to know Mary Magdalene, Peter, Matthew, and Nicodemus, as well as other disciples. And it is in this way that the show affects me on a personal level. When Jesus interacts with these characters, he is speaking to me. "I see you. I know you. I have called you for a special purpose. I know you have concerns, but don't let that keep you away from me. Do you trust me?"

5. It's free!
If the other four reasons haven't convinced you to give the show a chance, how about this one? You can watch this show free of charge. Just download The Chosen's app here, and you can either watch episodes on your phone or tablet, or cast them to your TV using Roku or Chromecast. If that link doesn't work, you should be able to find a link on The Chosen Website. If you're having trouble watching with the app, I believe several of the episodes are available on The Chosen's YouTube page.

If we, as Christians, want to see more high-quality Christian art, then we have to support projects like The Chosen when we come across them. The production of The Chosen is completely crowd-funded, and that includes the costs for streaming the episodes online. So your ability to stream the episodes has actually already been paid for by someone else. If you like the show, and want to support it, you'll find instructions in the app or on the website for how you can "pay it forward." You can donate money to the production, which helps fund subsequent seasons and makes the show available to stream to more people. Or, you can buy the first season on DVD or Blu-Ray.

The other way you can support the show (even if you're not able to give financially) is to spread the word about it. Share this blog post, or better yet, write your own review of the show to share with your friends.

*Note: I am not affiliated with The Chosen, and I am not being paid to endorse it. I just really like it, and want to see more seasons produced.

Have you already seen The Chosen? What did you think of it?

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