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The Messengers Offers a Dramatic New Take on End-Times Prophecy

<i>The Messengers</i> Offers a Dramatic New Take on End-Times Prophecy

The Book of Revelation has fascinated readers since the inception of Christianity. Its end-times prophecies have been the subject of much debate among biblical scholars, and a source of endless inspiration for pop culture (see here. And here). After all, promises of angels, demons, war and tribulation are enough to capture even the most cynical imagination. The CW’s new apocalyptic television drama, The Messengers, isn’t the first show to chronicle the end times, but it does take the genre in a bold new direction. Whether it’s a direction Christian viewers want to go remains to be seen.

After a rather explosive opening,The Messengers wastes no time introducing us to five characters – the would-be messengers of the title. Vera (Shantel VanSanten) is a hot-headed astronomer in search of the truth. Raul (J.D. Pardo) is an undercover cop who’s just been burned. Erin (Sofia Black-D’Elia) is a single mother on the run from her abusive husband. Peter (Joel Courtney) is a young orphan and a target for school bullies. And Joshua Silburn Jr. (Jon Fletcher) is a smooth-talking televangelist and heir to his father’s megachurch.

Though these five have nothing in common, their lives are forever changed when a fiery meteor crashes to earth. The impact releases a wave of energy that kills all five, though they are resurrected moments later. Suddenly these ordinary individuals find themselves wielding extraordinary spiritual powers, while the “star that fell from Heaven” proves far more sinister than it appears. When the five messengers’ paths converge, they discover they have been chosen by God to save the world from the impending Apocalypse. They must become Angels of Salvation, as the Devil is already on his way.

From a purely entertainment standpoint, The Messengers has a lot to offer. The main characters are diverse and compelling, each one has a unique backstory, and the actors take full advantage of their roles. Fletcher in particular is fantastic as the dubious, celebrity preacher who suddenly finds himself in the middle of real spiritual warfare. Where The Messengers ultimately comes under scrutiny is with its story, not because it isn’t exciting, but because of what it represents.

God is present in the narrative, and spoken of quite frequently, but the show’s vision of the Apocalypse doesn’t follow the traditional Left Behind scenario to which most Christians are accustomed. Given how vague Revelation can be, it’s understandable that The Messengers takes a rather loose interpretation of Scripture. However, few things are as important to Christian viewers than a production attempting biblical accuracy if it’s going to bother with biblical source material. If shows like The Bible and A.D. get criticized for deviating from Scripture, The Messengers is bound to receive the same treatment. And yet, The Messengers demonstrates potential to be a powerful voice for faith in mainstream television.

In a nutshell, The Messengers is The CW doing what The CW does best: creating suspenseful drama with attractive actors and a supernatural twist. For believers, The Messengers will be a matter of opinion. Those hoping for another rapture movie where evangelists save the day might want to sit this one out. However, if your interpretation of Revelation is a bit more relaxed, you may just enjoy what The Messengers has to offer.

The Messengers airs Fridays on The CW, with the first episode on April 17. View an exclusive scene from The Messengers here!

*Published 4/16/2015