Title: The Chosen: Season 1 (2019; TV-PG)
Director: Dallas Jenkins
Series: The Chosen TV series
Major Themes: Jesus, Biblical History, The Disciples, Ancient Israel, Christianity
Synopsis: A striking introduction to Jesus’ life and teachings, from the perspective of His disciples.
The first mention I remember hearing of The Chosen was when a friend posted a meme about this disciple Matthew on Facebook. I don’t remember now what it was about—I remember it didn’t make sense to me—but when I asked her about it, she told me about an app and something about a TV show. I downloaded the app (surprisingly, it worked on my old phone!), but didn’t take time to figure out how to use it for quite a while—it looked like another set of Bible videos like you see on the YouVersion app now and then. Later, I talked to that friend again, and she recommended I watch it.
Enter The Chosen: Season 1! Wow. I loved that first episode, and although I struggled a little with the fact that what we were being told about the disciples wasn’t directly from the Bible, I realized that I appreciated being able to see them as people—not as these “holy saints” from a holy book. Mary’s story undid me in more ways than I thought, and when that first episode came to a resolution, I wanted to weep, even though I’m not the crying type. I realized then that I’d probably want to keep an eye on this series—although it took quite a few more months before I finally finished watching Season 1!
There are eight episodes in the first season.
This episode stars Mary Magdalene—her special relationship with her father, and then in later years, how she was forced into a life of sin and ended up being possessed by demons. Simon and his brother Andrew, the tax collector Matthew, and the great Jewish Pharisee Nicodemus, were also introduced in this story. One thing that really struck me from this episode was the Jewish people’s complete inability to fight the powers of darkness—their Messiah had not yet come, and the old temple worship just didn’t cut it. You can’t miss the end of this one! A very special moment.
WARNING: Prostitution and demon possession are common themes in this episode; near the end, you suspect someone is going to commit suicide by throwing themselves off the cliff, but they are saved in time. This is not an episode I would show to my younger siblings. The prostitution side, especially, was done discretely, but you know what’s going on.
This episode is about Simon’s debt problem, and what he did to try to fix it. Andrew wasn’t sure it would work—and wasn’t sure if he should even be trying—but didn’t know how to change his brother’s mind. Mary Magdalene stars in here and hosts a special meal, where we meet some of Jesus’ disciples and then Jesus himself. Nicodemus is greatly troubled by some news he has been given—how could an ordinary person have a miracle happen, when even he, a man of God, could not perform one?
WARNING: From 19:00 – 19:25, there is a fight, and a man ends up being knocked out by a sword handle being brought down on his head.
This episode is one for children, a departure from the rest of the season, in that it only features Jesus. Here, He’s still a traveling carpenter and sets up camp near a village. Several village children find him, they become good friends, and he teaches them about God.
This episode is back to the regular programming. Simon’s in deeper trouble than before, with Rome about ready to pounce on him and all his livelihood. He spends one last night fishing, in hopes of catching something to offset his debt, but the gleanings are slim. Then, Andrew spots someone he recognizes on the shore—will this stranger be able to help them?
WARNING: From 3:40 – 4:25, a man has his ear sliced by a soldier, is punched in the gut, and yells. From 14:50 – 15:05, people are shouting at each other.
This episode is about Jesus’ first public miracle—turning the water into wine at a wedding at Cana! Jesus’ twelve disciples are slowly gathering, one by one, and they accompany him to the feast. Meanwhile, Nicodemus tries to figure out what John the Baptist knows—and John realizes that Jesus’ ministry has begun. I’d never thought before how difficult that first public miracle must have been for Jesus as He realized what He was committing to by performing that first miracle. An astounding thought.
WARNING: At 14:03, a couple is hugging each other and almost kiss, and near the end of the episode, there is some dancing as part of the wedding celebration.
This episode is something of a compilation of different pieces of the gospels. Jesus heals a leper and continues to Capernaum, where several of the disciples—including James and John and Simon—were from. After arriving there, a crowd quickly gathers and surrounds the house where Jesus is staying. Jesus teaches, and a woman who saw the leper’s healing earlier in the day brings a crippled friend to Jesus for healing. Meanwhile, the Pharisees become increasingly alarmed about who this man is, and Matthew the tax collector has his own questions about Jesus.
WARNING: At 16:17, a leprous man appears, and someone, feeling threatened, pulls out a knife and tells him not to come closer. Later, at 47:25, Roman soldiers are called and draw their swords and pound on a house door. No one gets injured.
This episode tells the story of Matthew being called to follow Jesus. Jesus also meets with Nicodemus late one night, and Nicodemus ends up with more questions than answers.
This episode wraps up the series, with the powerful story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well. From a beaten-down, fearful woman to a woman of faith, this is a story I didn’t want to miss even the second time around! In this episode, Jesus shares who He is—the Messiah. Though his disciples are unsure of their presence in Samaria, Jesus seems to have plans in store for the future.
No warnings, aside from references to the woman’s past as she married and was divorced by multiple men (no more detail than in the Bible).
Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults, Family Friendly