VidAngel: The Chosen

By Tab Olsen

Doesn’t the greatest story ever told deserve the most influential medium in the world? Believe it or not, there had never been a TV show, complete with multiple episodes and seasons, on the life and times of Jesus Christ – until now. The Chosen is the first-ever live-action multi-season show about Jesus and his disciples. 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 pilot episode, “The Shepherd: A Story of the First Christmas,” was released during the holiday season of 2017. “My original idea in making ‘The Shepherd’ was simply to create a short film about the birth of Christ in a fresh way,” said Dallas. “As I shared it with friends, ministry leaders and entertainment professionals, I kept getting the same response: ‘I want more.'” The resulting series has since has grown to become the #1 largest crowd-funded media project of all time.

What’s The Chosen?

The Chosen digs deeper into the context of the Bible, creating a fictitious backstory about what happened behind the scenes in the gospels. A charismatic fisherman struggling with debt. A troubled woman wrestling with demons. A gifted accountant ostracized from his family and people. In the first season of The Chosen, see how Jesus reaches each of these and more as He works His first miracles and embarks on His ministry to change the world.

It’s great to see how they portray Jesus as down-to-earth, and yet not of this world, if you know what I mean. His mannerisms, patience, kindness, and love for little children are all 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! The actor (Jonathan Roumie) who plays Jesus is so genuine, he’s almost too soft-spoken at times but can be quite assertive when he needs to be.

Oh, and the actor (Paras Patel) who plays Matthew is brilliant! You know how no one likes Matthew because he’s a tax collector, right? Well, The Chosen 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. The Chosen is closely based on what was written in the Bible, while each episode also manages to have someone do or say something unexpectedly witty or funny. This serves both as comic relief and to show that they were real people just like us. It’s also nice to see the director give more attention to those we didn’t see much of in the gospels, such as Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, and Andrew.

The Chosen fleshes out the stories in an interesting way – like did you ever wonder how 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 as a good historical fiction novel would do, and expertly tying everything together. In particular, it does a great job of focusing on the human interest elements, enabling viewers to identify with the people and their circumstances.

No matter where you are in your journey with Jesus, The Chosen will be meaningful to you. 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 phenomenal – right down to the theme song and graphic design!

The opening song reminds me of the movie 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 – watch what the fish are doing.)

How to Watch?

The Special Edition DVD set of Season 1 of The Chosen (episodes 1-8) comes with bonus features including the “The Shepherd” pilot episode, expert roundtables on the Biblical accuracy of each episode, and behind-the-scenes video. Hear Dallas tell about his experiences filming, see a lot of the movie magic that goes into making great productions, and learn about the miracles they experienced while filming The Chosen.

More substantial than a Bible cartoon, and more entertaining than a documentary, The Chosen can be enjoyed by youths and adults of all ages. As stated in a response 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 helps fund future seasons.

What’s VidAngel?

VidAngel is a Netflix and Amazon-based streaming service that allows you to skip distasteful content regarding profanity, nudity, violence, and other things that you don’t want to see. 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!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THE CHOSEN DVD!

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