Television Reviews

4 Things You Should Know about VidAngel’s The Chosen

  • Michael Foust
4 Things You Should Know about VidAngel’s <em>The Chosen</em>

It’s the first multi-season show about the life of Christ, and it’s already turned heads within Hollywood for its record-breaking form of funding.

VidAngel Studios’ The Chosen began streaming its first season this spring at TheChosen.TV, examining the life of Christ in a way few (if any) movies and television shows have done.

It was directed by Dallas Jenkins, who created the concept for the series and previously helmed The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, What If and Midnight Clear.

Here are four things you should know about The Chosen:

Photo courtesy: VidAngel

1. It’s Different... In a Good Way

1. It’s Different... In a Good Way

The Chosen is similar to Risen, the excellent faith-based film that followed a Roman military tribune as he encounters the risen Christ. Like that 2016 movie, The Chosen tells stories of radical transformation. But unlike Risen– which used a fictional character as its main character – The Chosen spotlights the real-life men and women who knew Christ. The first four episodes examine Matthew, Peter and Mary Magdalene. We watch their emotions and personalities develop, from one episode to the next.    

“We have the time to really make these characters into human beings and spend time with them,” Jenkins told Crosswalk, comparing the character development in The Chosen to that in Downton Abbey or “any other show that people binge-watch.” 

“There are so many rich, nuanced details that you can get into that allow you to get to know the characters. It doesn't feel rushed.”

Each time the credits roll, you’re ready to watch the next one.

Photo courtesy: VidAngel

2. It Has Relatable Characters

2. It Has Relatable Characters

Perhaps you identify with the struggles of Peter. Or maybe it’s Matthew. Or Mary Magdalene.

With The Chosen, you see your own flaws and struggles in the characters. You watch them search for purpose, pre-Christ. You see their lives transformed, post-Christ. It’s a testimony every Christian can share.   

“That's absolutely the goal,” Jenkins said. “We believe that if you can see Jesus through the eyes of those who actually encountered Him, and can actually identify with these people, then you can perhaps be changed and impacted in the same way that they were. You're saying, ‘OK, I can identify with the struggle. And therefore I can identify with the victory.’ And it makes it that much more powerful.”

Ravi Zacharias and Joni Eareckson Tada are among the Christian leaders, speakers and authors who have endorsed it.

Photo courtesy: VideAngel

3. It’s a Combination of Scripture and Artistic License

3. It’s a Combination of Scripture and Artistic License

The Chosen includes scenes and dialogue directly from Scripture, but it also includes scenes and dialogue not in the Bible. Viewers learn on the opening scroll it is “based on the true stories of the gospels of Jesus Christ.” Some locations and timelines “have been combined or condensed” and “backstories and some characters or dialogue have been added.” 

“However,” the scroll says, “all biblical and historical context and any artistic imagination are designed to support the truth and intention of the Scriptures.”

Jenkins, who created the concept for the series, emphasized he is someone who “believes absolutely in the Word of God.” 

Similar to Bible-themed movies like The Nativity Story and RisenThe Chosenexamines what might have happened in between the Bible verses. If you enjoyed those earlier movies, then you’ll likely enjoy The Chosen. But if you only watch films that stick strictly to the biblical text, then you better give it a pass.  

“I have no interest in changing anything from Scripture,” Jenkins told Crosswalk. “We are adding cultural and historical context, we are adding some artistic imagination to these stories. This is not Scripture, and we are not adding to Scripture.”

The series, he said, was created to help viewers love the Bible more.

“This show was designed to enhance our love for Scripture, to draw us more to Scripture, and to bring to life some of the stories that we've heard many times,” he said.

Photo courtesy: VidAngel

4. It Was Crowdfunded

4. It Was Crowdfunded

The Chosen wasn’t bankrolled by Hollywood studios. It was funded by 15,000 investors who raised more than $10 million for the show to be created. VidAngel is distributing it. 

The crowdfunding campaign was so successful that it received coverage in mainstream entertainment sites like The Hollywood Reporter. It was the most successful TV crowdfunding campaign ever, beating Mystery Science Theater 3000 ($5.8 million). The record-holder for movies is Veronica Mars ($5.7 million).

Investors will receive any profits, although most people who gave money weren’t in it for the money, Jenkins said.

Future episodes, too, will be crowdfunded. The first episode of Season 1 can be viewed for free at TheChosen.TV.

“Most of the investors are just passionate about getting the message out to the world. And we are, too. So we are hoping that this will generate the opportunity to do multiple seasons and multiple episodes,” he said. “There's no reason why we can't do six, seven, eight seasons.” 

Visit TheChosen.TV

Related:

The First 'Binge-Worthy' TV Series about Jesus

Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.

Photo courtesy: VidAngel




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