Linked with Easter Sunday in the USA, the long-awaited return of The Chosen TV series is taking place as a live-streamed world premiere event. Tuning in with thousands of viewers around the world, Ben McEachen from Eternity and his family are on the couch in Sydney – on Easter Monday – to see the second coming of this fantastic Jesus TV show. Read on for a minute-by-minute account of Episode 1.
10AM (AEST): The livestream is turning on in about two minutes. We are watching via YouTube with about 76,000 others (at this point); and there are almost 50,000 on The Chosen app. Excitement builds.
10:02AM: Noooooooo. There is a two minute delay between the YouTube feed and The Chosen app. And we are watching via YouTube on our TV. So the suspense is palpable …
10:03AM: The Chosen creator and director Dallas Jenkins starts the live-feed, admitting to feeling a “bit nervous” about this “heartwarming moment”. He’s letting us know that they only just finished the episode a few days ago, including shooting some of the scenes. But The Chosen team wants all of us to see this episode during the momentous Easter weekend.
10:06AM: Jenkins is still doing the housekeeping about how to watch The Chosen and where and how to pay for it or not pay for it. My young daughters are getting restless. “Are we on the app?” No, we are using YouTube. “Is it only us watching this?” No, it’s heaps of people all over the world. Please, Dallas, can you roll the episode because – while we appreciate the background information – my girls want to start seeing the people doing the acting as Jesus and his disciples.
10:09AM: Tough crowd over here. The girls are doing well at persisting with Dallas’ details – he’s talking now about how the new trailer for the second season hit the Top 10 on YouTube recently; yeah, that’s big and cool – but they just want the show to come on. So too does their dad. He’s just trying to hold in the desire to mutter, “Come on, mate, give us the new episode.”
10:11AM: “Dad, when is it going to come on?” I don’t know, young lady. I don’t know. And it’s hard to type this while trying to answer your many questions about when The Chosen Season 2 Episode 1 will be on. Maybe we should put a message in the many comment threads about The Chosen and try to get your questions to Dallas Jenkins.
10:15AM: Jenkins is still giving us the background (“When is the TV show coming on; it’s never,” commentates my daughter. She’s getting restless over here) about the excellent subscription and ‘Pay it Forward’ strategy of The Chosen. Seriously, it is a really cool subscription and support model. But now Dallas is on to the merchandise and the like and, at least over this way, The Chosen fans in this house are just wanting The Chosen show itself to show up. Please.
10:15AM: I have too many words on this page, according to my daughter … But, hang on. Dallas has heard the pleas of the young ladies in our loungeroom and he’s about to flick the switch on Episode 1.
10:17AM: He’s still talking but now he’s recapping the end of Season One (Spoiler Alert: Jesus met ‘the woman at the well’ at end of the first season). And as about 130,000 gather on Youtube and around 40,000 on the app, the show is about to roll. My girls still remain frustrated. They just want the show.
10:19AM: Previously on The Chosen – quick recap of Season One is on. I’d quickly tell you about it here if I also wasn’t trying to answer the “who’s that?” and “is this the movie?” questions in my loungeroom. It’s hard to type AND talk.
10:21AM: We just saw a “I am the Messiah” reference at the end of that recap and, now, here’s the second season. Starting out with Simon Peter as an old bloke. You can tell by his greying beard and funky old man scarf. He’s talking to someone off screen about what it was like when he first started to follow Jesus. And now here are some of the other disciples explaining why they followed. Nice bit of future-setting but my daughters just want to see Jesus show up.
10:23AM: Now, the disciples in this latter-day recap, are talking about John the Baptist. My girls want to know why he was eating bugs and if he died. No, he didn’t. Well, not from the bugs. And now Mary is reminiscing about first meeting Jesus. Speaking of which: “When is Jesus?” my daughters demand. Probably shouldn’t have told them that this is the Jesus show because, while it is, the first season was creative about having Jesus as its epicentre – but surrounding him with all these amazing characters who demonstrate the impact of Jesus by showing us the impact he has on them.
10:25AM: John! As in, John the writer of a gospel and the Book of Revelation (oh, and three letters toward the back of the New Testament). He is the one interviewing everybody after the events of Jesus’s life, death and resurrection. And he’s now talking with Jesus’ mum Mary – who is calls “mother” and she calls “sons’ (see what they did there. Nice touch, The Chosen team … consistently clever about their insertion of biblical truths, principles and facts).
10:28AM: It’s hard to type and watch and listen and take in a show. Just saying. I mean, typing.
10:29AM: “Take you time,” Mary tells John about writing his (divinely inspired) gospel. Same offer of taking your time does not extend from my daughters to the arrival of Jesus. Basically, they want Jesus to show up right now. And now it’s the cool theme song, so Jesus’ arrival on screen is further delayed. Sorry, girls. But I hope you recognise how strong and fitting this theme song is AND how it’s not a clunky or cheesy Christian song that you instantly don’t want to hear again.
10:31AM: Now we have some farmers using ye olde tools to plough a field. Oh, it’s the sons of Thunder, talking about why Jesus likes them best. Looks like hard work, brothers. Almost as tough as telling your young daughters why Jesus is STILL refusing to show up. Sure likes the suspense and building up a big entrance.
10:33AM: Fan favourites! The catering “couple” from the Water To Wine Wedding episode are back in The Chosen Season 2. Sure, they don’t feature in the rest of Jesus’ official biographies beyond that wedding but this TV show – at least, in the first season – was adept at embellishing the gospels with considered additions.
10:36AM: Oh, no. Jesus is missing. On screen, that is. He’s somewhere in Samaria and my daughters just want him to be found. Me too, because Jesus in this show has been an excellent blend of down-to-earth and high-above-us … THERE’S JESUS! We found him. Girls, rest easy. He’s just fixing the axel on a cart. Of course.
10:37AM: My wife and I really enjoyed the lived-in sets and warm, pretty-much-realistic feel of the acting (on the whole, tops) and ambience. And that’s continuing in Season 2 Episode 1 – the marketplaces and costumes and interactions are playing out with enough conviction to keep my daughters quiet and actually watching on. They’ve even stopped asking about Jesus, even when he is not on screen. Which he is not now because OCD Matthew and empowered Mary Magdalene are talking about following Jesus with the “catering couple”.
10:41AM: Jesus is talking with a shepherd about what you do when you lose one sheep out of the flock of 100. “Did you hear what he said there about the lost sheep?” Jesus asks the crowd before telling them that “there will more joy in heaven” if one sinner comes back to God. Boom. The Chosen Season 2 already getting into some of Jesus’ teachings and parables. Yes.
10:43AM: Bit of wandering around the loungeroom and loss of focus from the youngest viewers in our home, as Jesus and a father talk about why people are following him and what is going on with his growing gang … Cut to the next day and the disciples are discussing John and ‘Big James’ – before talking about the regulations around how and when to interact with lepers. Perhaps you can see where this is going.
10:46AM: John and ‘Big James’ becoming de facto leaders of the disciples. Simon Peter not happy. They’re planning a dinner party. And one of my daughters has headed off to do something else. Pity. I’m sure Jesus will be back soon to bring more good news. Oh, and here’s the Woman at the Well and she’s still telling everyone that Jesus is the Messiah and he told her “everything she ever did”.
10:49AM: Subtle nods to the status of men and women. The caterer’s dad and his daughter are now having a terse talk about prospects, before Jesus has a heart-to-heart with this dad. He thanks Jesus for performing the “miracle” at that wedding but doesn’t want to be unclear – he thinks blasphemy is going on, when it comes to belief or devotion in Jesus. “I understand. I ask a lot of those who follow me,” Jesus replies with kindness yet sadness in his eyes.
10:53AM: The episode has slowed down, with the slight frenzy of the disciples’ preparations giving way to a father’s respectful unbelief. Good that the show gives a fair hearing to those who turn from Jesus, while upholding the magnitude of Jesus’ presence and call to people. A pin could have dropped in our loungeroom – but we wouldn’t have heard it over the pretend games of my daughter in the other room. But our remaining daughter here actually seems to be following along. Not bad for a four-year-old.
10:56AM: Jesus and his disciples help a poor farmer, invite themselves over for dinner, and bring the dinner provisions with them. And now the farmer and his family are hearing from the disciples about whey they left their jobs and followed Jesus. Farmer’s wife is asking Jesus when is he going to heal people. “I came to preach the good news of God’s kingdom,” Jesus answers – and tells how bones and heats “in this world” will still break but IN THE END the light will overcome darkness. (SIDENOTE: He is risen! He is risen indeed)
10:59AM: Daughter No. 2 is close to tapping out. But Jesus and the farmer still keep her attention. No, wait. She’s trying to work out what it means for actors to pretend to be real people – and are they acting on a stage? And did someone steal their money (?!?!?!?!)
11:01AM: The farmer telling the (made-up) back story of his injuries. I like The Chosen‘s imagination of what all the people that met Jesus MAY HAVE BEEN thinking or doing or living like. Although its hard to hear the detail of this man’s back story as my daughter was just climbing on my wife. “Why is he crying?” our daughter asks. Um, don’t know, because someone was talking over him …
11:03AM: Kapow! Jesus just linked his earlier ‘lost sheep’ conversation with this one man, a guilt-ridden and impoverished farmer. And the look on the face of the actor playing the farmer is another thing I love about The Chosen – its the sort of astonished and heart-wrenched reaction that I figure Jesus would often have received to his face. “He might be!” my daughter chuckles about some OK joke about ghosts and a haunted house and Jesus not being afraid. Her reaction was a little bit stronger than the joke deserved, but still a nice indicator that The Chosen has a sense of humour.
11:07AM: Morning healing before breakfast! Prayers as Jesus gets up.
10:09AM: “Seek and you will find,” Jesus cheesily says as he heads out. I’m also not sure where Jesus is going and I can’t really hear what the disciples are discussing about that – because one daughter is reading Dr Seuss aloud beside me and the other is climbing again on her mum. But it seems the disciples are doing their best to work out a solution to whatever issue they are debating. And its a cool idea to depict the behind-the-scenes conversations which the disciples might have had when their leader was out.
11:11AM: Oh, and for anyone who hasn’t watched the first season, this episode is indicative of how The Chosen is taking its time to tell Jesus’s life story. It’s a gently paced ‘deeper dive’ into what Jesus did and the consequences of it (at the time, and forevermore). FYI
11:14AM: “You wanted to bring down fire from heaven to burn up those five people?” Jesus asks James and John (“the Sons of Thunder”). “It sounds worse when you say it like that.”
11:16AM: Jesus just got invited to read from the scriptures in the local synagogue. The Word of God reading God’s Word. Imagine being there to hear that. The Chosen tries to give us a window on such an amazing event. “Is Jesus sad?” my daughter-who-went-off-to-play-but-has-come-back-now asks. I don’t think so but it’s hard to tell when I can’t hear what’s going on, because I’m trying to answer your question. But Jesus is smiling now and he seems to be talking about Moses and is asking John to choose a part of scripture to read.
11:19AM: The Chosen loves to play it cautious with adding words and thoughts to God. Fair enough. Exhibit A: Jesus answering “I like them all” when asked if he has a favourite part of the first five books of the (what is now called) Old Testament.
11:21AM: The girls are quiet for Jesus reading the first lines of (what we now call) The Bible – Genesis – which is overlapped with the first lines of John’s gospel … As The Chosen team hopes you can see what they are doing there. Not sure if our girls can yet, but they see how John on screen is crying with happiness about understanding who Jesus is – the divine man sent by God, who is God. Nice way to finish the episode.
11:23AM: “What did you think?” Dallas Jenkins is back and talking about how he was reading the comments online about this first episode of Season Two. We liked it – and have been keen for Season Two’s release – but will definitely need to rewatch it. Not that I’m blaming anyone but next time we watch episode one, our girls will be in bed.
11:25AM: Every upcoming episode of Season Two will be released “as soon as the episode is done”. Sign up for The Chosen notifications to find out exactly when, but expect the next two episodes in the coming weeks.