The Chosen, a television series based on the life of Jesus, has already broken a lot of new entertainment ground. According to its makers, it’s the No. 1 crowdfunded media project in history. And the show eschewed distribution through the world’s streaming giants and instead made itself available on its own stand-alone app. Oh, and by the way, I think the show is quite good, too.
Creator Dallas Jenkins always envisioned the series to encompass multiple seasons: Jesus’ story is too big to effectively tell in just one, and indeed the first season ended when Jesus’ ministry had barely begun. But because of its unusual crowdfunded backing and distribution model—and in the wake of so many coronavirus-related delays and cancellations—I wondered whether we’d see a Season 2.
Just this week, we received word that we will.
According to a press release from VidAngel, the second season of the series has been given the green light. And if all goes well, production will begin this September.
“Between COVID-19 and the fact that we’re doing this outside the system, it has been a challenge to know exactly how and where we can produce season two for the fans,” Jenkins said in the release. “But those are also the reasons we feel such urgency to get the stories of Jesus to the world as soon as possible.”
This is significant for a couple of overlapping reasons.
First, there’s the show’s innovative direction. The Chosen is not a word-for-word retelling of the Gospels. Rather, it takes its cues from today’s prestige TV, concentrating not on the person of Jesus as much as on some of the people whom Christ impacted the most. It tells the stories of many of Jesus’ supporting cast: Peter. Matthew. Mary Magdalene. Nicodemus. The extra-biblical result may rub some Christian viewers the wrong way (concerns that Jenkins addressed when I talked with him not long ago), but the way the story is told turns what could’ve been a familiar series of sermons into a surprisingly gripping narrative—and one that feels particularly accessible to viewers used to complex characters and long story arcs.
Second, the timing might be pretty advantageous for both The Chosen and for its would-be viewers.
Plugged In Director Adam Holz talked a bit about our lost summer movie season last week. We all know that plenty of major motion pictures have been delayed. But in a way, that’s just the tip of the COVID iceberg. While movie and television studios are holding some of their biggest releases until people can see them in theaters, production of new content—stuff we’d not expect to see for a year or two or even later—has largely been put on hold. According to Vox, hundreds of shows have delayed or suspended production. And if somehow The Chosen is able to film when some big studios are not, the second season may land in an environment starved for quality content: An oasis in an entertainment desert. And that might encourage some viewers who’d never otherwise watch a “Christian” show to check it out.
It’s good news for families of faith, too, who might find The Chosen as a way to help bring new life to stories their kids have heard at home and in Sunday School plenty.
We’ll keep you updated, of course. And when we’re able to check out the season, we’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, feel free to read our review of the first season, and take a listen to my conversation with Director Dallas Jenkins.