By Tab Olsen
The Chosen is the first-ever multi-season television show about the life of Jesus, as seen through the eyes of those around Him. Created outside of the Hollywood system, this groundbreaking series is directed by Dallas Jenkins (son of Left Behind writer Jerry B. Jenkins) and distributed by VidAngel Studios. The Chosen has grown to become the largest crowd-funded media project of all time.
“My original idea in making ‘The Shepherd’ was simply to create a short film about the birth of Christ in a fresh way. As I shared it with friends, ministry leaders and entertainment professionals, I kept getting the same response: ‘I want more.'” ~Dallas Jenkins
What’s The Chosen?
The Chosen creates a fictitious backstory about what happened behind the scenes in the gospels. When I first started watching, it was cool to know that Jesus would be coming, even before he made his appearance in the show. And when he did enter the scene, wow!
It was great to see how they portray Him as down-to-earth, and yet not of this world, if you know what I mean. His mannerisms, patience, kindness, love for the little children, is just how I imagine He would be. He’s intelligent and wise, He has a sense of humor, He’s a skilled craftsman, and He goes camping! Plus the actor (Jonathan Roumie) who plays Jesus is so genuine.
Oh, and the actor (Paras Patel) who plays Matthew is brilliant! You know how no none likes Matthew because he’s a tax collector, right? Well, Jenkins offers a unique interpretation of Matthew’s character that makes him a lot more human. Whoever did the casting put together a really talented team, even though most of them are relatively unknown (except for Erick Avari who plays Nicodemus, he’s been around for a while).
Getting to know all the characters as they eat, talk, laugh, and go about their daily lives truly brings the gospel to life. It’s also interesting how The Chosen fleshes out the stories – like did you ever wonder how did Simon Peter’s wife reacted when he left to follow Jesus? And at the wedding in Cana, why didn’t they have enough wine in the first place?
This series answers all of those questions, filling in the blanks like a good historical fiction novel would do. It’s also nice to see the director focus more on the people who we didn’t see much of in the gospels, such as Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, and Andrew. The Chosen does a great job of focusing on the human interest elements, enabling the viewer to identify with the people and their circumstances.
The meticulously researched settings and well-written dialogue will allow you to gain something new each time you watch it. The scenes are richly detailed, the characters are realistic, and the acting is excellent. Overall, the quality of production and attention to detail is unexpected for a Bible show – right down to the theme song and graphic design!
The opening song reminds me of “Holes,” must be that old-time gospel rhythm and blues. “Walk on the Water” was composed by D. Haseltine, M. Bronleewe, and J. Bose, and performed by Nashville soul-rock singer Ruby Amanfu, originally from Ghana. The graphic design of the animated title sequence was inspired by the simple symbolism of the great Saul Bass. (It even tells a story – look and see what the fish are doing.)
How to Watch?
You can get your very own Special Edition DVD set of Season 1 of The Chosen, complete with episodes 1-8, plus bonus features including “The Shepherd” Christmas special, Bible expert roundtables, and behind the scenes. Hear Dallas tell about his experiences filming, see a lot of the movie magic that goes into making great productions, and hear about the miracles they experienced while filming The Chosen.
The pilot episode, “The Shepherd: A Story of the First Christmas,” was released during the holidays in 2017. One of our favorite responses from an early screening: “The story of Jesus that actually appealed to my teenagers!” Share The Chosen with your family and friends! Get the DVD! Give it as a gift! Buy more and save! Every purchase you make helps fund future seasons.
VidAngel is a Netflix and Amazon-based streaming service that allows you to skip distasteful content regarding profanity, nudity, sexual situations, and violence. The Chosen is distributed by VidAngel Studios, but you don’t need a subscription to VidAngel to watch The Chosen. Episodes 1-8 are available now!