Well, it’s that time of year again. The sun is out, birds are singing, and broadcast television is sifting through a new generation of TV shows hoping to find the next big hit. Many networks have already teased a few glimpses of their upcoming projects, but which ones should Christians know about? As is tradition here at Crosswalk, below you’ll find an assembled list of upcoming programs Christians should be aware of. Some because they look good, some because they look bad, but all of them are worthy of a second glance.
Here is everything you need to know about five new TV shows coming to you soon.
By the Book (CBS)
What’s it About: Based on the bestselling book The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs, By the Book centers on an everyday man (Jay R. Ferguson) who decides to start living according to the Bible. The twist? He doesn’t just keep the better-known rules like being honest and giving to charity, he also adopts the more obscure laws such as calling the days of the week by their ordinal numbers to avoid voicing the names of pagan gods, playing a 10-string harp, growing a hipster beard, and eating crickets.
Why Christians Should Care: If done right, By the Book could be an excellent show for starting conversations about faith. Watching the lead character wrestle with scripture and his modern identity could be refreshing for viewers, and it’s fun to laugh at the more awkward quirks of Christian culture. Either way, the Bible will be front and center, which means Christians will be watching.
Splitting Up Together (ABC)
What’s it About: Based off a Danish series, Splitting Up Together follows a longtime couple in the process of getting divorced. Surprisingly, instead of drifting apart, the two slowly discover their love remains. Now they’ll have to relearn what it means to be husband and wife all over again, with some added confusion from their friends and family.
Why Christians Should Care: Marriage has always been an important topic for Christians. Splitting Up Together doesn’t just challenge the purveying ideathat divorce is a good solution to marital troubles, it also encourages viewers to take marriage seriously. Whether the rest of the show’s content is as edifying remains to be seen.
The Gospel of Kevin (ABC)
What’s it About: An oblivious and self-centered man (played by Jason Ritter) encounters a spiritual entity who claims to be a messenger from God. She explains that in every generation there are 36 people who stand for all the righteous souls on Earth, and Kevin has been chosen to help save the world. Obviously, this proves more difficult than either of them expected.
Why Christians Should Care: There are faith-based aspectsto the show such as honesty, charity, and learning to be selfless. Not to mention, Kevin’s personal ark appears to revolve around fixing relations with his broken family. Still, Kevin’s spiritual guide appears pretty lax on certain religious details, and the God she serves may just be another generic, ethereal version who wants people to be happy. Either way, it’s worth taking note.
The Crossing (ABC)
What’s it About: The locals of a small coastal town in Washington state are suddenly met with an influx of refugees desperately fleeing a war-torn country. Making things twice as interesting? The refugees are all from 150 years in the future, and said desolated country is the United States. Also, some of them may-or-may not have superpowers.
Why Christians Should Care: Despite the absurd premise, The Crossing brings up a number ofhighly-combustible topics that have been circling the Christianhemisphere. The treatment of refugees, cultural divides, our inherit fear of otherness, ect. The show might not get these subjects right, but it will get people talking.
13 Reasons Why, Season 2 (Netflix)
What’s it About: Perhaps the most controversial show of 2017, 13 Reasons Why followed the devastating aftermath of a teenage girl’s suicide. The episodes largely revolved around her surviving friend, Clay Jensen, and detailed how a number of cruel decisions by their classmates ultimately led to her death. The first season ended on a cliffhanger, with many unanswered questions and another life hanging in a balance. According to Entertainment Weekly, 13 Reasons Why has been renewed for a second season.
Why Christians Should Care: The responses to 13 Reasons Why have been as divisive as the show itself. Numerous Christian writers and leaders have condemned the series, claiming it glorifies suicide and leaves no room for hope or redemption. Other critics have praised the series for it unflinching depiction of rape culture, grief, and the often overlooked realities of bullying in school. Regardless of where viewers stand personally, it’s clear this conversation isn’t going away.
*Editor’s Note: plotlines and release dates of new shows subject to change.
(Image Credit: ABC, CBS, Netflix)