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With Christmas coming up, I’ve been thinking a lot about what we’re really celebrating. The Bible is the most important “book” ever written, but reading it can sometimes feel very two-dimensional. We read about the amazing life of Jesus Christ, but we miss out on a lot of the day-to-day detail and emotional complexity of the people written about in it. That’s why I was so excited when I heard about a new TV show called “The Chosen.” This is the first multiseason show to attempt to tell the in-depth story of Jesus Christ and his followers. If you don’t remember seeing ads for this show, that’s because it wasn’t made through traditional Hollywood channels. Show creator Dallas Jenkins made the show using crowdfunding. This is when content creators go directly to the public to raise money for a project. In interviews, Jenkins stated that he used crowdfunding in order to avoid having to take orders from Hollywood executives about this project. Fundraising for “The Chosen” raised over $10.2 million, setting the record as the top crowdfunded TV project in history. I believe this speaks to how strongly people wanted to see this story be told with biblical accuracy, character depth, and historical detail. The plan is to make seven seasons, though only season one is available right now. I watched the whole first season (the pilot and four episodes) in a week, and I truly liked it. From a technical standpoint, I think “The Chosen” is a very good TV show. The team behind it clearly put a lot of work into making the historical details as accurate as possible. Everything, from the costumes to the acting, seems to be of the highest quality. But what sets “The Chosen” apart from other Biblical adaptations is the way it takes individuals from the Gospels, from Nicodemus to Simon Peter, and turns them into fully realized characters. In essence, the viewer gets to experience their humanity, before, during, and after their convergence with Christ. For instance, they did a really good job with Mary Magdalene, who only appears in just a few verses in the Gospels. From that, all we know is that she was a demon-possessed prostitute who became an early follower of Jesus. “The Chosen” spends the better part of an entire episode exploring her life. They show what a bad place she was in, how messed up she was, and how the “religious” people treated this poor woman. Then she has an encounter with Christ, and she is changed into a beautiful human being. This show is special for me because it turns these Biblical names into real people. Through their eyes, we see the powerful experiences they had with Jesus. Episodic television is a good media to tell this story because it allows time for characters to develop and stories to unfold. The audience can identify with these people and understand who they are and what they went through. ‘The Chosen’
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“The Chosen” puts the story of Jesus into perspective. He was a carpenter; he was a man who worked hard, who probably cut himself and smashed his fingers; who got tired and thirsty. Yet, at the same time, he focused solely on his one and only mission. It really made me think about this mysterious concept of someone who was 100% man and 100% God. “The Chosen” made me think, and it led me to this question ... If Jesus was here now, would I recognize him? This show is clearly one man’s version of the historic story. Obviously, Jenkins takes some artistic license, but you can tell it’s done as a means of telling Jesus’ story in a way that will hopefully resonate with the audience. I enjoyed it a lot and am looking forward to watching the next seasons as they come out. I highly recommend watching it for yourself, especially around Christmas. It’s a great reminder of what we’re celebrating. You can find “The Chosen” online at VidAngel.com/the-chosen or by searching for “The Chosen” app on your phone or in your tablet app store. I recommend downloading the app because it has all of season one available to watch for free. That’s another amazing thing about this show. Dallas Jenkins didn’t make “The Chosen” because he wanted to make a lot of money; he made it because he wanted to share this story with the world. And it’s a story that will always be worth telling.
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