The Chosen (TV series)
The Chosen is a television drama based on the life of Jesus of Nazareth, created, directed and co-written by American filmmaker Dallas Jenkins. It is the first multi-season series about the life of Jesus, and season one was the highest crowd-funded TV series or film project of all time. The series' creators stated that they had hoped to distinguish the new series from previous portrayals of Jesus by crafting a multi-season, episode-based story. The series portrays Jesus "through the eyes of those who met him". In addition to VidAngel and its own app, the series airs on several streaming services.
|Created by||Dallas Jenkins|
|Based on||The life of Jesus|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||16 (list of episodes)|
|Original release||December 24, 2017 –|
The Chosen is a multi-season television drama about Jesus Christ. Series creator Dallas Jenkins wanted to create a series about Jesus that could be "binge watched." Jenkins' intention was not only to dig deeper into the people who encountered Jesus and to see Jesus through the eyes of those who met him, but also to show him in a way that is more "personal, intimate, immediate."
The first season introduces Jesus and the calling of his initial disciples. The second season focuses on the beginning of his public ministry and what happens as word of his ministry begins to spread.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Shahar Isaac as Simon: a former fisherman in Capernaum, the brother of Andrew, and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
- Jonathan Roumie as Jesus: a craftsman from Nazareth and the son of Mary and Joseph, who is the awaited Messiah and the Son of God.
- Elizabeth Tabish as Mary Magdalene: a redeemed woman from Magdala and one of the women helping Jesus' ministry.
- Paras Patel as Matthew: a former publican or tax collector in Capernaum and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
- Noah James as Andrew: a former fisherman in Capernaum, the brother of Simon Peter and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
- Janis Dardaris as Zohara: the wife of Nicodemus.
- Lara Silva as Eden: the wife of Simon.
- Shaan Sharma as Shmuel: a Pharisee in Capernaum who studied under Nicodemus.
- Nick Shakoour as Zebedee: a fisherman in Capernaum and the father of Big James and John.
- George Harrison Xanthis as John: a former fisherman in Capernaum and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
- Shayan Sobhian as Big James (season 1, episodes 1–4): a former fisherman in Capernaum and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. Sobhian is the first actor to play Big James.
- Erick Avari as Nicodemus: a Pharisee from Jerusalem and a member of Sanhedrin.
- Kian Kavousi as Big James (season 1, episodes 5–8): Kavousi is the second actor to play Big James.
- Brandon Potter as Quintus: a Roman magistrate in Capernaum and the Praetor of Galilee.
- Kirk B. R. Woller as Gaius: a Roman centurion and a former associate of Matthew.
- Giavani Cairo as Thaddeus: a former stonemason in Bethsaida and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
- Jordan Walker Ross as Little James: a former member of the 288 Jerusalem Temple choir and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
- Abe Martell as Big James (season 2): Martell is the third actor to play Big James.
- Joey Vahedi as Thomas: a former caterer, the business partner of Ramah, and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
- Yasmine Al-Bustami as Ramah: a former vintner and one of the women helping Jesus' ministry.
- Vanessa Benavente as Mary: the mother of Jesus.
- Yoshi Barrigas as Philip: a former disciple of John the Baptizer, an old friend of Nathanael, and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
- Austin Reed Alleman as Nathanael: a former architect in Caesarea Philippi and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
- Alaa Safi as Simon Z.: a former Zealot and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
- Luke Dimyan as Judas: a former land speculator and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
|Mary Magdalene||Elizabeth Tabish||Main|
|John||George Harrison Xanthis||Main|
|Big James||Shayan Sobhian||Main||Does not appear|
|Kian Kavousi||Main||Does not appear|
|Abe Martell||Does not appear||Main|
|Nicodemus||Erick Avari||Main||Does not appear|
|Zohara||Janis Dardaris||Main||Does not appear|
|Little James||Jordan Walker Ross||Recurring||Main|
|Philip||Yoshi Barrigas||Does not appear||Main|
|Nathanael||Austin Reed Alleman||Does not appear||Main|
|Simon Z.||Alaa Safi||Does not appear||Main|
|Gaius||Kirk B. R. Woller||Recurring|
|Judas||Luke Dimyan||Does not appear||Guest|
|First released||Last released|
|Pilot||December 24, 2017|
|1||8||April 21, 2019||November 26, 2019|
|2||8||April 4, 2021||July 11, 2021|
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|"The Shepherd"||Dallas Jenkins||Tyler Thompson and Dallas Jenkins||December 24, 2017|
On the outskirts of Bethlehem, during the Roman occupation, Simon (Aaron Himelstein), a crippled shepherd, brings a lamb for sacrifice. While Simon asks the priest about the coming Messiah, the lamb he brings is discovered to have a blemish. The priest rejects it, demanding a perfect and spotless lamb. Simon hears a reading of Isaiah from a nearby synagogue and goes in, only to be expelled. On the way home, the shepherd meets a couple from Nazareth, a pregnant Mary (Sara Anne) and her husband Joseph (Raj Bond). He offers a drink of water to Mary. That evening, far from his fellow shepherds, Simon is forced to eat alone. Suddenly, the shepherds hear the angelic announcement of the birth of the Lamb of God, and they immediately head to Bethlehem. Full of joy, Simon is miraculously healed as he follows after, leaving his staff behind. The shepherds arrive and witness the birth of the Messiah. Seeing the baby, Simon asks his name. Mary and Joseph reply that he will be called "Jesus". Leaving the manger, the shepherds tell everyone what they have seen. The priest from before asks where the spotless lamb for sacrifice is, and Simon simply smiles.Scripture references: Luke 2:1-20 [better source needed]
Season 1 (2019)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||1||"I Have Called You By Name"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||April 21, 2019|
In Capernaum, Mary Magdalene (Elizabeth Tabish), going by the name "Lilith", wrestles with real demons. While Nicodemus (Erick Avari) is touring the region, Praetor Quintus (Brandon Potter) approaches him demanding help collecting unpaid taxes. Matthew (Paras Patel) deals with the turmoil of being considered a traitor by his fellow Jews. Simon (Shahar Isaac) and his brother Andrew (Noah James) struggle with their tax debts to Rome. At a centurion's behest, Nicodemus goes to the Red Quarter to perform an exorcism on "Lilith" but fails, leaving him shaken. On tax day, Andrew is unable to pay, but Simon tells Matthew that he has an arrangement with Quintus. The arrangement is to inform Quintus about his fellow Jews fishing on Shabbat. Andrew disapproves, considering it a betrayal. Following a suicide attempt, "Lilith" loses hope for her condition, until she encounters Jesus (Jonathan Roumie), who calls Mary Magdalene by name, healing and restoring her.Scripture references: Mark 16:9, Luke 8:2 [better source needed]
|2||2||"Shabbat"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||April 21, 2019|
|A recently healed Mary Magdalene prepares for Shabbat. Matthew validates Simon's claims of negotiating with Quintus. Simon continues to spy on merchants and buys drinks for them and his fellow fishermen, Big James (Shayan Sobhian) and John (George Harrison Xanthis), sons of Zebedee (Nick Shakoour). Nicodemus investigates the reported miracle of the healing in the Red Quarter. Simon is forced to fish on Shabbat, leaving his wife Eden (Lara Silva) behind. As Mary Magdalene hosts her Shabbat dinner, she receives surprise guests, including Jesus and his students Thaddeus (Giavani Cairo) and Little James (Jordan Walker Ross). Nicodemus leads a Shabbat dinner with the other Pharisees. Matthew eats dinner with his dog after deciding not to have dinner with his family. Leaving the dinner with Andrew and Eden, Simon is approached by the Romans at the Sea of Galilee to spy on the merchants again.|
|3||3||"Jesus Loves the Little Children"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||April 21, 2019|
|Jesus camps on the outskirts of Capernaum, 26 AD. A local girl named Abigail (Reina Ozbay) discovers the location and plays with the craftsman's tools while he is away. She invites her friend Joshua (Noah Cottrell) to come see Jesus for himself. Jesus soon befriends Abigail and Joshua, as well as the friends they invite in the following days. The children help Jesus on his work. Jesus teaches them about love, prayer, justice, compassion, faith, and wisdom. When he is asked the reason why he is here, Jesus reveals himself as Messiah, reciting the words of the prophet Isaiah. After Jesus moves camp, Abigail discovers he left a gift for her.|
|4||4||"The Rock On Which It Is Built"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||April 21, 2019|
At the Sea of Galilee, Simon misleads the Romans to save fellow Jews from being caught. Quintus suspects Simon of duplicity and sends Matthew to follow him. Shmuel (Shaan Sharma) tells Nicodemus of a baptizer on the Jordan River. Simon confesses to Eden they are under threat from Rome. Running from the Jordan, Andrew claims to Simon they are saved, as John the Baptizer (David Amito) has identified the Lamb of God. Simon prepares to fish. Andrew, Zebedee, Big James, and John arrive to help, but they catch nothing. In the morning, they see someone teaching a crowd on the shore. Andrew recognizes the teacher as Jesus, who asks to preach from their boat. After the sermon, Jesus tells Simon and Andrew to cast their nets. Suddenly, many fish appear, and they catch enough to pay off their debts. Simon kneels before Jesus to surrender himself. Inviting Simon and Andrew to become fishers-of-men, Jesus also calls Big James and John. Witnessing the miracle, Matthew is shocked by its impossibility. Nicodemus visits the imprisoned baptizer to ask about miracles.Scripture references: Matthew 3:4-6, Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:4-6, Mark 1:16-20, Luke 3:3, Luke 3:10-14, Luke 5:1-11, John 1:35-42 [better source needed]
|5||5||"The Wedding Gift"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||November 26, 2019|
In Cana, 26 AD, Mary helps her friend prepare for her son's wedding. Nicodemus interrogates the detained John the Baptizer concerning signs and wonders. Simon tells Eden that he will quit fishing to follow Jesus. Thomas (Joey Vahedi) and his business partner Ramah (Yasmine Al-Bustami) prepare wine for the wedding. Jesus and his students make their way to the wedding, while John the Baptizer explains his ministry and Jesus' ministry to Nicodemus. During the wedding, Thaddeus and Little James share how Jesus called them. Thomas and Ramah worry as the wine runs low. Mary immediately asks her son to intervene on behalf of the bridegroom's family and tells the servants to do everything Jesus says. Jesus instructs them to fill jars with water and they obey, yet Thomas expresses doubts. Jesus prays his readiness to his Father, turning the water into wine. When the wine is served, the master of the banquet exclaims it is the best he has ever tasted. Thomas and Ramah accept the invitation to join and meet Jesus in Samaria in 12 days.Scripture references: Luke 2:41-52, John 2:1-12 [better source needed]
|6||6||"Indescribable Compassion"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||November 26, 2019|
Matthew and his associate Gaius (Kirk B. R. Woller) deliver Simon's tax payment to Quintus. Nicodemus tries to correct Shmuel for detaining the Baptizer. On the way back to Capernaum, Jesus and his students befriend an Egyptian named Tamar (Amber Shana Williams). Suddenly, a leper (Stephen Hailo) approaches Jesus on the road, asking Jesus to heal him. Jesus cleanses him, telling him not to speak of it. The group heads to the house of Zebedee and his wife Salome (Nina Leon). As Jesus preaches, a crowd gathers, drawing the attention of both the Pharisees and the Romans. After witnessing the healing of the leper on the road earlier, Tamar forces her way through the crowd to help her paralytic friend (Noé de la Garza) meet Jesus. Tamar's friends climb to and remove the rooftop, lowering the paralytic. Jesus forgives the paralytic, disturbing the Pharisees. Jesus heals the paralytic, and Matthew writes it down. Shmuel quickly calls on the Romans to seize Jesus. The disciples immediately flee and Nicodemus seeks Mary Magdalene to meet with Jesus.Scripture references: Matthew 3:3, Matthew 3:11, Matthew 8:2-4, Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 1:2-3, Mark 1:7, Mark 1:40-2:12, Luke 3:4-6, Luke 3:16, Luke 5:12-26, John 1:27 [better source needed]
|7||7||"Invitations"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||November 26, 2019|
In the Sinai Peninsula, 13th century BC, Moses (Stelio Savante) fashions a bronze serpent, much to the confusion of his assistant Joshua (Advait Ghuge). In Capernaum, 26 AD, Gaius escorts Matthew to show his gratitude for his promotion. Quintus questions Nicodemus concerning the miracle worker. Jesus agrees to meet with Nicodemus by night. After witnessing the miracles Jesus did, Matthew struggles to reconcile his mathematical understanding of reality and visits his mother, hoping to find answers. Meeting with Nicodemus by night, Jesus explains the Kingdom of God and being born again. Jesus illustrates himself as the Son of Man using Moses and the bronze serpent as an example. He tells of God's love for the world and his mission to save mankind from sin. As Jesus invites Nicodemus to join him, John records their conversation. Nicodemus worships Jesus, declaring him the Son of God. In the morning, Jesus and his students pass by Matthew's booth. Jesus invites Matthew to join him, and Matthew promptly follows.Scripture references: Numbers 21:4-9, Matthew 9:9, Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27-28, John 3:1-21 [better source needed]
|8||8||"I Am He"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||November 26, 2019|
In Canaan, 1952 BC, Jacob (Amato D'Apolito) and his sons dig a well in Shechem. In Sychar, 26 AD, Photina (Vanessa De Silvio), a suffering Samaritan woman, fetches water from Jacob's Well. At Matthew's house in Capernaum, Jesus answers questions from the Pharisees, including Yussif (Ivan Jasso), with the words of Hosea. Shmuel petitions Nicodemus concerning false prophecy. Jesus goes to Simon's house and heals his mother-in-law. Learning Matthew left, Quintus issues a decree against religious gatherings outside synagogues. As Jesus and his students complete their preparations to depart Capernaum, Nicodemus leaves money for them. Gaius bequeaths Matthew's wealth to Matthew's father, Alphaeus (Troy Caylak). On the road, Jesus decides to go through Samaria, much to the shock of the disciples, especially Big James (Kian Kavousi) and John. When they arrive in Sychar, the disciples go to town to buy food while Jesus stays at Jacob's Well, where he meets Photina, asking her for water. Jesus offers her "living water", expresses true worship, and announces that he is the Messiah. After hearing Jesus telling her everything she did, Photina believes Jesus is the Christ and tells everyone about him. The disciples return and Jesus publicly launches his ministry.Scripture references: Genesis 33:18-20, Matthew 8:14-15, Matthew 9:10-13, Mark 1:29-31, Mark 2:15-17, Luke 4:38-39, Luke 5:29-32, John 4:4-38 [better source needed]
Season 2 (2021)Edit
This section possibly contains original research. Scripture references within the episode summaries are uncited and need a source. (May 2021)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|9||1||"Thunder"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||April 4, 2021|
During shiva for the martyred Big James (Abe Martell) in 44 AD, John interviews fellow disciples as he writes their eyewitness accounts for his book. In Sychar, 26 AD, Big James and John plow a field while Jesus continues to teach the Samaritans. Thomas and Ramah arrive to join the group. Tension builds among the disciples as they wrestle with the increasing fame of Jesus in Samaria. Ramah's father expresses his unbelief in Jesus and leaves, blessing his daughter. Jesus and his students have dinner with Melech, a former robber now crippled. In the morning, Melech is healed. Big James and John assume leadership roles but the other disciples oppose their presumptions. When James and John try to present their plans to Jesus, a group of Samaritans shows extreme hostility towards them. James and John ask Jesus to rain fire to destroy the Samaritans. Jesus rebukes James and John for their prejudice. After the near-violent encounter, Jesus gives them a new nickname: "the sons of thunder". Invited to a synagogue to read a scroll of Moses, Jesus reads the first scroll of Genesis, and in 44 AD, John remembers it and writes the introduction for his book.Scripture references: Mark 3:17, Luke 9:51-56; Luke 10:30-35, John 1:1-5, John 4:39-42, John 21:25, Acts 12:2
|10||2||"I Saw You"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||April 13, 2021|
In Caesarea Philippi, Nathanael (Austin Reed Alleman) fails in his project under a Roman commission. In Bashan, Philip (Yoshi Barrigas) arrives from John the Baptizer seeking to meet Jesus, but the disciples are hesitant. Simon is jealous of him as Philip begins to mentor Matthew. A distressed Nathanael sits under a fig tree and grieves, reciting a Psalm and crying out, asking if the Lord sees him. Hearing nothing, he burns his architectural drawings of a synagogue. At camp, Thaddeus advises Matthew yet tension builds between Simon and Matthew. Philip visits and comforts Nathanael, telling his downcast friend about the one they've been waiting for their entire lives. Nathanael is skeptical but agrees to meet Jesus, who tells him he saw him under the fig tree and heard his cry. Upon hearing this, Nathanael declares Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel. As the group heads to a new city, John arrives with a word that Jesus' fame is growing.Scripture references: John 1:43-51
|11||3||"Matthew 4:24"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||April 13, 2021|
In Syria, the disciples take shifts to help Jesus deal with a large crowd hoping to be healed. Philip continues to mentor Matthew, while Mary Magdalene and Ramah start to study Torah. A long, exhausting day turns into night as the disciples share how they perceive the Messiah. Jesus' mother, Mary, arrives from Nazareth to help with her son's students. Around the campfire, the group tries to get to know each other better. They discuss their experiences and their inner turmoil, but tensions erupt when Simon disputes with Matthew about being chosen. Tempers flare as sides are taken and the disciples begin to argue, forgetting the purpose of why Jesus chose them in the first place. All of a sudden, an exhausted Jesus says a good night to them and his mother, Mary, attends to him. The disciples listen and watch in shame.Scripture references: Matthew 4:24
|12||4||"The Perfect Opportunity"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||May 11, 2021|
Jesse (Dennis Apergis), a paralytic, spends 38 years searching for a cure and stays at the Pool of Bethesda while his brother, Simon (Alaa Safi), joins the Zealots, training to become one. Jesus and the disciples head to Jerusalem to prepare for the Feast of Tabernacles. Assisted in Jerusalem by fellow Pharisee, Yanni (Wasim No'mani), Shmuel preaches against false prophecy. The disciples discuss the scriptures as they celebrate the feast. After being informed concerning Shmuel, Jesus decides to go to Bethesda Pool to meet someone, bringing Simon, John, and Matthew. Simon Z. visits Jesse to bid goodbye to him. At Bethesda, Jesus approaches Jesse, asking him if he wants to be healed. Jesus heals Jesse and John writes down the miracle. Witnessing the healing, Yanni and other Pharisees are upset and admonish Jesse for carrying a mat on Shabbat. The Zealots plot to assassinate a Roman magistrate with Simon Z. leading the plan, but Atticus Aemilius (Elijah Alexander), a Roman cohorte urbanae, discovers their plan. When the assassination plan is being carried out, Simon Z. is distracted as he sees Jesse walking. The two brothers reconcile and Atticus Aemilius is bewildered. Jesus withdraws himself and Simon Z. searches for him.Scripture references: John 5:1-13
|13||5||"Spirit"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||May 23, 2021|
Seeing a Roman, Mary Magdalene is troubled while memorizing the scriptures. Shmuel and Yanni interrogate Jesse concerning Jesus, leading to them updating the petition to the Sanhedrin. Atticus Aemilius questions Jesse and pursues Simon Z. and Jesus. Searching for Jesus, Simon Z. has come across a demon-possessed man named Caleb. John the Baptizer visits the group and tells Jesus his dangerous mission of going to Jerusalem to call out Herod Antipas' sin for marrying Herodias. John the Baptizer is eager for Jesus to get to work, and discuss with his cousin the realness of what they’ve prepared for. When Simon Z. finds the disciples' camp, the demon-possessed Caleb attempts to attack the group after Mary Magdalene confronts him, but Simon Z. tries to suppress him. Jesus returns to the camp and heals Caleb, casting out the demon, Belial, in a sudden. That day, Simon Z. surrenders himself and is officially called by Jesus. John the Baptizer submits to Jesus and then departs from him to carry out the mission. Devastated by the encounter earlier on the exorcism, Mary Magdalene goes to a tavern. Learning Mary Magdalene has gone, Jesus instructs Simon and Matthew to look for her.Scripture references: Matthew 3:7, Luke 3:7, John 5:14-16
|14||6||"Unlawful"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||June 23, 2021|
Matthew and Simon try to get along as they search for Mary in dark places. The group fears for Mary as they struggle with lack of food and bad news about John the Baptist. Meanwhile, Jesus continues to upset Pharisees across multiple regions.Scripture references: 1 Samuel 21:1-6, Matthew 12:1-14, Matthew 14:3-4, Mark 2:23-3:6, Mark 6:17, Luke 3:19-20, Luke 6:1-11
|15||7||"Reckoning"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||June 30, 2021|
After learning of Jesus' whereabouts, Quintus sends Gaius to arrest him. The disciples lose control as they argue about how to respond. While seeking information about where Jesus has been taken, Andrew and Philip encounter old friends. Seeing that he poses no threat after being questioned, Quintus releases Jesus with a stern warning. At night, Jesus returns to his disciples who have been very anxious for him. They ask him to teach them how to pray to which he happily obliges.Scripture References: Luke 11:1–4,
|16||8||"Beyond Mountains"||Dallas Jenkins||Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson||July 11, 2021|
While Jesus and Matthew prepare for the big Sermon on the Mount, the disciples spread the word while bickering between themselves. A high-ranking Sanhedrin member is shocked by Shmuel's reports of Jesus. Thousands arrive for the sermon, including some familiar faces.Scripture References: Matthew 5:1–6:34,
Although the show has an evangelical tendency, there are consultants from three faith traditions providing input. Acting as consultants are Messianic rabbi Jason Sobel from Fusion Global Ministries, Catholic priest and national director of Family Theater Productions Father David Guffey, and professor of New Testament at Biola University Dr. Doug Huffman. They review scripts and provide facts or context on the biblical, cultural, and socio-political history of the storyline.
The opening credits of the first episode include the following:
The Chosen is based on the true stories of the gospels of Jesus Christ. Some locations and timelines have been combined or condensed. Backstories and some characters or dialogue have been added.
However, all biblical and historical context and any artistic imagination are designed to support the truth and intention of the Scriptures. Viewers are encouraged to read the gospels.
The original names, locations and phrases have been transliterated into English for anything spoken.
Background and productionEdit
The Chosen is based on The Shepherd, a short film Jenkins made for a Christmas Eve service at Harvest Bible Chapel in Elgin, Illinois, U.S., filming it on a friend's farm in Marengo. The film got the attention of the faith-based filtering service VidAngel, which was embroiled in a copyright infringement lawsuit with major Hollywood studios and thus seeking original content to distribute. VidAngel suggested putting the short film on Facebook as a concept pilot to generate interest for Jenkins' idea of a multi-season series. The short film received over 15 million views around the world.
To create The Chosen, Jenkins partnered with video marketing strategist Derral Eves, with Eves as executive producer. VidAngel, along with Eves and Jenkins, turned to crowdfunding to raise money to produce the first season, utilizing a provision of the JOBS Act of 2016 which allows companies to use equity crowdfunding to offer a share of ownership and profits from the company to online investors, rather than the arbitrary "perks" offered by regular crowdfunding. At the end of the first fundraising round in January 2019, the project had raised over $10.2 million from over 16,000 investors, surpassing Mystery Science Theater 3000 as the top crowdfunded filmed project. Each investor received equity in the show and is regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Season 2 fundraising had reached over $6 million from over 300,000 investors as of July 1, 2020.
Seven seasons are planned.
Season 1 was filmed over 60 days in Weatherford, Texas, and used the existing Capernaum Village, which offers film set rental and live experiences for tourists, to recreate the historical Capernaum. The filming was supplemented by a sound stage and visual effects.
Season 2 moved filming to Utah's version of ancient Israel in Goshen, Utah County, where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built a replica Jerusalem movie set to film scenes for their Bible and Book of Mormon videos. This marks the first time a production not affiliated with the LDS church has been granted access to film on this set.
Season 2 was filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating challenges for film production. 2,000 extras were used to film the Sermon on the Mount scene, all of whom were required to obtain a negative PCR test prior to filming. Following COVID-19 protocols cost the production of season 2 an additional $750,000.
The first season was distributed on its own mobile app free around the world, as well as the VidAngel streaming platform in the United States. In March and April 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first season of The Chosen was made available completely free with no restrictions through its app.
Following the release through its own app, season 1 began airing on BYUtv in late 2020. By early 2021, broadcast had extended to other Christian and family oriented networks such as Trinity Broadcasting Network and UPtv, as well as NBC's Peacock streaming service.
On March 16, 2021, Dallas Jenkins, the series creator, announced that the release date for the first episode of season 2 would be Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021, with a target of releasing one episode per week after that.
The series' success is attributed to artistic storytelling and cultural relevance, while staying true to the message of the gospels. Writing in Film Threat, Alan Ng called the series "smart and insightful to a contemporary audience."
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 100 percent of critics have given Season 1 a positive review based on 8 reviews, with an average rating of 8.08/10. Through August 2020, it had been viewed nearly 50 million times in 180 countries. By the end of March 2021, the first season had been viewed more than 100 million times. By June 2021, the series has been watched 150 million times and has been translated into 50 languages.
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- "The Chosen: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
- Caldwell, Zelda (August 4, 2020). "'The Chosen,' a crowdfunded series about Jesus, gets go ahead for Season Two". Aleteia. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
- Walker, Colby (March 31, 2021). "Season 2 of The Chosen and its ties to Utah". KSL News Radio. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
- Klett, Leah MarieAnn (June 28, 2021). "'The Chosen' creator Dallas Jenkins shares how God is using hit series to 'break down barriers'". The Christian Post. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
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