This faith-based streaming program on the life of Jesus and his followers has become wildly popular on multiple streaming services, including its origin on VidAngel. By August, the first season had more than 45 million views in 180-plus countries.
To make viewing even more accessible, BYUtv has picked up the first season, which held its broadcast premiere of “The Chosen” this past Sunday. The entire first season is now available anytime on the free BYUtv app.
For millions of Christians all over the globe, “The Chosen” has been a source of hope, peace, and love—especially during the uncertainties and anxieties of 2020. This crowdfunded, episode-based story aims to portray Jesus through the eyes of those who met him. It truly is unlike any other depiction of Jesus’ life, and has resonated with audiences, worldwide.
Here are just a few of the reasons it makes such a strong connection:
A side of Jesus—and his disciples—you’ve never seen
One of the aspects of making “The Chosen” that was most important to the director and co-writer, Dallas Jenkins, was the hope to have audiences really get to know Jesus on a more personal level, with each episode and season meant to build off the previous.
In “The Chosen,” Jesus is depicted as a kind, loving, compassionate man—a man with a personality and a sense of humor. In reading through audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, this depiction of the real and the divine seems to have struck a chord with audiences where other depictions of Jesus have struggled.
One reviewer on IMDB said, “For a story that I’ve read and heard many times, I’ve never felt more connected to Jesus and his disciples than I did watching ‘The Chosen.’ The authenticity and relatability in the stories surrounding the characters add so much depth. Sensible humor throughout this series only adds to viewers’ enjoyment. A must watch for anyone who enjoys well written, authentic, thought-provoking stories.”
With a 9.7 rating on IMDB, 100% Tomatometer score, and 99% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
In a recent Lemonade Stand Stories podcast episode, Jenkins said the emotional resonance with the characters, especially Jesus, was key in making “The Chosen” appeal to Christians in a new way. “Seeing Jesus through the eyes of those who actually met him and were changed by him, you identify and connect with that,” Jenkins said. Given the response from audiences worldwide, Jenkins appears to have has succeeded in portraying what he desired.
A challenge inherent in depicting the life of Christ in film format is how to tell a larger-than-life story in two hours or less. Thankfully, this isn’t an issue for “The Chosen.” The first season takes its time, sometimes devoting an entire episode to just one or two scenes from the Bible, which gives time for the story and characters to evolve at a meaningful and natural pace.
Jenkins wants the series to be several seasons long, which means plenty of time to get to know, and love, the characters, and their humanity - given the crowdfunding efforts continue to be successful for future seasons, according to The Federalist.
The pace pays off, too. In season one, you’ll see Jesus interact with characters that are more authentic than in other depictions. As Brett McCracken writes in a review for The Gospel Coalition, viewers see “Simon Peter be a bit of a knucklehead, Matthew is on the autism spectrum, Andrew is a bad dancer,, and so on. These characters were ordinary people, but when touched by Jesus, they became extraordinary—and “The Chosen” depicts that in ways that every Christian will relate to.
With compelling characters, real emotion, and excellent storytelling, “The Chosen” promises a side to Jesus’ life as you’ve never seen—or felt—before. Going forward, the show will also have a strong Utah connection. A Deseret News articlereports its creators will film the second season in Goshen, Utah County, where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built a replica Jerusalem movie set.
No matter where you are in your journey with Jesus Christ, this TV show is for you. Stream the full first season now on the BYUtv app.