The Chosen' on The CW

The Chosen’ on The CW – A Captivating Streaming Series About the Life of Jesus

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‘The Chosen’ has had a fascinating journey, as the series created, directed, and co-written by Dallas Jenkins was financed through crowdfunding. Since its debut in 2019, it has been licensed to various streaming services and linear networks. It is also available on its own streaming app and website for free, with donations to the nonprofit Come and See Foundation supporting the series. Its premiere on The CW marks its first appearance on one of the major U.S. broadcast networks.

The opening shot presents a man praying in front of a fire late at night after a disclaimer emphasizing that while the settings and characters in ‘The Chosen’ may have changed, the intention is to support the truth and intention of the Scriptures. The man consoles his frightened daughter by reciting a passage from Isaiah 43:1, offering reassurance. Meanwhile, a woman wakes up in bed, holding a doll, only to find blood on her hands. A man covered in blood runs out and encounters a Roman soldier, claiming that demons inhabit the woman.

On the road to Capernaum, Rabbi Nicodemus and his wife Zohara encounter a Roman magistrate named Quintus, who proposes a deal. If Nicodemus assists Quintus in collecting taxes from the Pharisees, he promises to keep his fellow Romans from bothering them too much.

Nicodemus delivers a message to his fellow rabbis in Capernaum, urging them to take action against Jews fishing on Shabbat. During his visit to the local synagogue, he is approached by a Roman soldier who requests Nicodemus’s help in exorcising demons from a woman named Lilith in the Red Quarter. Although Nicodemus performs the exorcism as a favor, he realizes that whatever is afflicting Lilith is too powerful for him to handle.

Meanwhile, two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, struggle to make ends meet. Simon arranges street fights for Andrew to bet on, but in their latest bout, Andrew loses after being sucker-punched by the opponent’s brother. The brothers risk losing their boat if they fail to come up with the tax money they owe. Simon goes out to fish on Shabbat but returns empty-handed when a larger merchant ship seizes the catch. Later, Andrew is giving all their money to the tax collector when Simon reveals their arrangement with Quintus, which involves reporting merchants who fish on Shabbat.

Lilith, after recovering from her encounter with demons, gives her doll to a local pub owner from her childhood. Distraught, she contemplates throwing herself off a cliff but is diverted by a bird flying overhead. Turning to alcohol, she encounters a rabbi named Jesus Christ, who tells her she can be redeemed and reveals that her true name is Mary Magdalene.

‘The Chosen’ presents itself as the first multi-season series about the life of Jesus Christ. While it shares similarities with the History Channel’s miniseries ‘The Bible,’ it distinguishes itself by focusing on character development and making the story accessible to both believers and non-believers. The production quality is commendable, with solid writing, acting, and well-crafted costumes and set pieces.

Jenkins wisely opts not to begin the story with Jesus’ birth, allowing Jesus to already be a grown man, a wandering rabbi and prophet who attracts followers with his new teachings. The characters, including the apostles, are portrayed as relatable individuals with human flaws and problems. The show maintains a balance between scriptural content and a grounded depiction of earthly behaviors.

As the series progresses, with Jesus gaining more followers and facing increasing challenges, the focus on the human aspects of their lives will likely become even more apparent. The characters, including Jesus, are not depicted as heroic or tragic figures at this stage, but as humans grappling with spiritual and earthly dilemmas.

Overall, ‘The Chosen’ is a captivating series that appeals to a wide audience, offering an engaging portrayal of Jesus’ life and the people who crossed his path.

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