We just experienced a miracle—the premier of a prime time network series that we actually enjoyed. "Joan of Arcadia"(CBS, Friday, 8:00 pm) is about a sixteen year old girl who starts to encounter God in all sorts of guises. First, just a voice. Then a shadowy figure who seems to be an old man. Then a hunky teenage boy. And finally a black woman, for the requisite non-sexist political correctness. Personally, I was rooting for God to always appear to Joan in the guise of a male, since this seems to me to be the most appropriate and natural form for God to manifest in. But since the series was created and produced by a woman, it figures that it wouldn’t take long for the feminine side of God to make an appearance.
Nice things about Joan of Arcadia: (1) Hip music plays every time Joan is in a scene, apparently to indicate that those to whom God speaks are cool, cool, cool. (Can’t argue with that, really). (2) The metaphysics is pretty advanced for a show of this sort. God already has told us that though he speaks, he really is beyond speech, and though he has a form, he really has no form. (3) It isn’t "Touched By an Angel," thank God. Much more philosophically metaphysical than traditionally religious. The Bible and the Koran got mentioned in the same breath, which I liked. (4) Since Joan’s father is the city police chief, there is murder and crime stuff to get involved in, so it isn’t all warm and fuzzy “God-loves-us” for 60 minutes. (5) Joan’s mother gets pissed off and rants at God’s unfairness in a scene with a Catholic priest; Joan herself is apparently totally unreligious. It’s encouraging to see that God involves himself/herself/itself with such unbelievers—that gives me hope.for my own salvation.
Oh, just remembered another appealing philosophical side of the first episode. When Joan gets too curious, hunky-young-guy-God tells Joan that he asks the questions not her. After she continues to inquire about his nature, and what he is doing here on Earth, God says, “Did you notice that I kept silent every time you said ‘Why…?’” Don’t want to get too attached to this show, though. Laurel and I have learned that if we really like a new series, this virtually guarantees that it will be cancelled after a few episodes. We still miss "Cop Rock," but apparently few other people do.