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Joan of Arcadia

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Like God, there’s something…ineffable?…about the CBS drama “Joan of Arcadia.” The show follows the trials of an average teenager (Amber Tamblyn) who must complete certain “missions” for God, who often appears to Joan in various everyday forms.

Typically, “God” simply tells Joan to do a certain something: e.g. “join the debate club” and the ultimate purpose of the mission presents itself. But more often than not, these tasks reveal a final outcome that only the Supreme Being could possibly understand.

Example: In one show, Joan is ordered to take a burnout student to the prom. Showing kindness to an outcast student? Nope. Through a series of circumstances, it’s discovered that the troubled teen had been on the cusp of a Columbine-style rampage; one that had been averted by Joan’s intervention. His life is ruined…but numerous lives are spared in a future seen only by the Almighty.

My feeling is that “Joan of Arcadia” is a hit because (like the example above) it touches upon the nature of God and the heart of spirituality. On another level, there’s this suggestion by “God” that we have free will and the good and evil in the world is of our own making. So, like Joan, we should try just a little bit harder and everything will fall into place.

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About Eric Lindholm

  • I did a review of this a few months back, too. I have no shame in my love of the show, I think it’s one of the best shows on right now. I don’t know if I agree that it’s the “God and spirituality” aspect that people are tuning in for. I think it’s really that the show has managed to keep putting new challenges in front of viewers and hasn’t stumbled yet – somehow they have managed to keep up without letting the “gimmick” overwhelm the show. Plus, the family is “normal” in that the parents are actually fleshed out and take part in their kids lives, have their own lives, and treat their kids with respect. Plus the actors are absolutely top-notch – only the youngest son hasn’t had a chance to really shine yet, but Amber Tamblyn and Jason Ritter have shown incredible talent and depth. I’m glad to see it continues to be a hit for CBS. We really need intelligent shows like this on TV.

  • I really like “Joan of Arcadia” because it has really good writing which avoids formula, a really good cast, and it is subtle and expects you to keep up. I like that they’ve eased up with the parallell case plot line with Will. Plus they are unashamed about hot nerd love. And they aren’t shy about heavy topics, we’ve had dead kids, rape, sex for the disabled, political corruption, and rail guns. Plus the hot nerd love.

    It will be interesting to see how “Wonderfalls” fares. It is a similar story, only the heroine is older, and toy animals in the souvenir shop where she works give her directions. And her family thinks she’s crazy. If it can avoid the same plot every week disease of “Tru Calling”, it promises to be a good show.