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.