JOAN OF ARCADIA: PREMIERE EPISODE

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Release Date: September 26, 2003

Starring:

Genre: Drama

Audience: All ages REVIEWER: Dr. Ted
Baehr JOAN OF ARCADIA is a new
CBS television series that
attempts to make the spiritual
connection of TOUCHED BY AN
ANGEL relevant to teenagers.
CBS was first in the
television ratings at the end
of last year, but CBS's
audience skews older so CBS
can't get as much for its ad
time as NBC. Therefore, CBS
wanted a program that kept its
family image, but reached out
to teenagers. In this program,
a teenage girl named Joan
Girardi, played by Amber
Tamblyn, meets God at various
different points during her
daily life. God appears to her
as a handsome young boy, an
old man, and a black cook at
the school cafeteria. She’s
not particularly religious and
finds it hard to believe in,
much less to find time for,
God in her life. Her parents,
the police chief Will Gerarde,
played by Joe Montagne, and
his wife, played by Mary
Steenbergen, are perplexed and
disturbed by Joan’s
conversations with God. In
this episode, God tells her to
go work at a bookstore. At the
same time, there has been a
man sexually abusing and
killing young teenagers
Joan’s age. When she comes
out of the bookstore, the man
attempts to get Joan into his
car. The episode ends without
any resolution of this
issue. JOAN OF ARCADIA is not
a story of overcoming like
TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL. Angels do
not appear to help people
learn how to solve their
problems. More questions are
raised than answered when God
appears. Some of the elements
are very dark and frightening.
In fact, at points the program
borders on a thriller. The
good news is that the program
helps bring up the issue of
God in a concrete way, and it
adheres to sort of a Judeo
Christian dialogue about who
God is. The not so good news
about the movie is that it
fails to show that we know who
God is in the flesh: He is
Jesus Christ. The orthodox
biblical view is that every
epiphany or appearance of God
is Jesus Christ, although God
acts in and through people,
and we become His hands, feet,
and voice as His church. When
he appears in the flesh, He is
Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the
writers of the program have
included Islam in the
Judeo-Christian mix, and some
of the dialog gives the
impression that Islam has the
same faith in the same God
whom Jews and Christians
worship, which is not the
case. For those who are
looking for TOUCHED BY AN
ANGEL, they may not be
satisfied with JOAN OF
ARCADIA. Martha Williamson,
who is a committed Christian,
is “the brains” behind
TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL, whereas
in JOHN OF ARCADIA, its
executive producer, Barbara
Hall, says she is still
searching and takes the
position that this could be a
psychological phenomenon. In
this regard, CBS is skirting
on thin ice. The vast majority
of people in the United States
believe in God and adhere to a
Christian belief system.
Several shows that have tried
to introduce God have failed
because they have not
respected the views of
Christians. So far JOAN OF
ARCADIA seems to be on target,
but there are some elements in
the first episode that could
go awry in future
episodes. Also, although there
is no sex in the program,
there is the threat of
violence and scenes of the
aftermath of violence. Please
address your comments
to: Leslie
Moonves Chairman/CEO CBS
Television 51 West 52nd
Street New York, NY 10019

Rating: N/A

Runtime: 60 minutes

Distributor: CBS Television CONTENT: (BB,
V, M) God-centered worldview
where God appears as different
people to a young teenage
girl; no foul language; threat
of violence; no sex; no
alcohol; no smoking; and, some
minor rebellion.

Director:

Executive Producer:

Producer:

Writer:

Address Comments To:

Content:

(BB, V, M) God-centered worldview where God appears as different people to a young teenage girl; no foul language; threat of violence; no sex; no alcohol; no smoking; and, some minor rebellion.

GENRE: Drama

BB

V

M

Summary:

JOAN OF ARCADIA is a new CBS television series where a teenage girl named Joan, played by Amber Tamblyn, meets God at various points during her daily life. The episode we saw helps bring up the issue of God in a concrete way, but could be more redemptive and Christian.

Review:

JOAN OF ARCADIA is a new CBS television series that attempts to make the spiritual connection of TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL relevant to teenagers. CBS was first in the television ratings at the end of last year, but CBS's audience skews older so CBS can't get as much for its ad time as NBC. Therefore, CBS wanted a program that kept its family image, but reached out to teenagers.

In this program, a teenage girl named Joan Girardi, played by Amber Tamblyn, meets God at various different points during her daily life. God appears to her as a handsome young boy, an old man, and a black cook at the school cafeteria. She’s not particularly religious and finds it hard to believe in, much less to find time for, God in her life. Her parents, the police chief Will Gerarde, played by Joe Montagne, and his wife, played by Mary Steenbergen, are perplexed and disturbed by Joan’s conversations with God.

In this episode, God tells her to go work at a bookstore. At the same time, there has been a man sexually abusing and killing young teenagers Joan’s age. When she comes out of the bookstore, the man attempts to get Joan into his car. The episode ends without any resolution of this issue.

JOAN OF ARCADIA is not a story of overcoming like TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL. Angels do not appear to help people learn how to solve their problems. More questions are raised than answered when God appears. Some of the elements are very dark and frightening. In fact, at points the program borders on a thriller.

The good news is that the program helps bring up the issue of God in a concrete way, and it adheres to sort of a Judeo Christian dialogue about who God is. The not so good news about the movie is that it fails to show that we know who God is in the flesh: He is Jesus Christ. The orthodox biblical view is that every epiphany or appearance of God is Jesus Christ, although God acts in and through people, and we become His hands, feet, and voice as His church. When he appears in the flesh, He is Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, the writers of the program have included Islam in the Judeo-Christian mix, and some of the dialog gives the impression that Islam has the same faith in the same God whom Jews and Christians worship, which is not the case.

For those who are looking for TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL, they may not be satisfied with JOAN OF ARCADIA. Martha Williamson, who is a committed Christian, is “the brains” behind TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL, whereas in JOHN OF ARCADIA, its executive producer, Barbara Hall, says she is still searching and takes the position that this could be a psychological phenomenon.

In this regard, CBS is skirting on thin ice. The vast majority of people in the United States believe in God and adhere to a Christian belief system. Several shows that have tried to introduce God have failed because they have not respected the views of Christians. So far JOAN OF ARCADIA seems to be on target, but there are some elements in the first episode that could go awry in future episodes.

Also, although there is no sex in the program, there is the threat of violence and scenes of the aftermath of violence.

Please address your comments to:

Leslie Moonves

Chairman/CEO

CBS Television

51 West 52nd Street

New York, NY 10019

SUMMARY: JOAN OF ARCADIA is a new CBS television series where a teenage girl named Joan, played by Amber Tamblyn, meets God at various points during her daily life. The episode we saw helps bring up the issue of God in a concrete way, but could be more redemptive and Christian.

In Brief: