The Chosen (TV series)

The Chosen is a drama series created, directed and co-written by American filmmaker Dallas Jenkins. It is the first multi-season series about the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Jenkins, the series' creator, wanted to create a series about Jesus that could be "binge watched",[1] and hoped to distinguish the new series from previous portrayals of Jesus by crafting a multi-season, episode-based story.[2] 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."[3] The series portrays Jesus "through the eyes of those who met him".[1]

The Chosen
The Chosen - logo.jpg
Logo of the series
GenreHistorical drama
Created byDallas Jenkins
Based onThe life of Jesus
Written by
  • Tyler Thompson
  • Dallas Jenkins
  • Ryan Swanson
Directed byDallas Jenkins
Starring
Music by
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes16 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Chad Gundersen
  • Justin Tolley (season 1)
  • Chris Juen
CinematographyAkis Konstantakopoulos
EditorJohn Quinn
Running time21–64 minutes
Production companies
  • Loaves & Fishes Productions
  • Angel Studios
  • Out of Order Studios
DistributorAngel Studios
Release
Original releaseDecember 24, 2017 (2017-12-24) –
present (present)

Set in 1st century Israel, the series revolves around Jesus and the different people who met and followed him. The series stars Jonathan Roumie as Jesus, alongside Shahar Isaac, Elizabeth Tabish, Paras Patel, Noah James, Janis Dardaris, Lara Silva, Shaan Sharma, Nick Shakoour, George H. Xanthis, Shayan Sobhian, Erick Avari, Kian Kavousi, Brandon Potter, Kirk B. R. Woller, Giavani Cairo, Jordan Walker Ross, Abe Martell, Joey Vahedi, Yasmine Al-Bustami, Vanessa Benavente, Yoshi Barrigas, Austin Reed Alleman, and Alaa Safi.

The show has used innovative methods to finance its production and stream the series. The show is financed via crowdfunding; the show is free to watch and viewers are asked to "pay it forward" by contributing whatever amount they wish to fund future seasons, and contributors may receive perks such as appearing as an extra in the film. Season one was the top crowd-funded TV series or film project of all time.[3][4] As of 2021, viewers had contributed $40 million towards its production, making it the most successful crowdfunded TV series project.[5] The show is available on streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video,Tubi TV, Angel Studios, and Peacock.

OverviewEdit

The first season is set in 1st century Galilee, where Jesus starts to build a group for his ministry,[6] inviting several people with different backgrounds.[7] The second season begins in Samaria and moves into nearby regions,[7] where Jesus continues to build his group of disciples and as word of his public ministry begins to grow,[6] he encounters both opportunities and difficulties.[8] The third season will center on the disciples continuing to struggle while following Jesus as the group returns to Capernaum, with Jesus' increasing popularity troubling different societal and political constructs, including the Romans and the Pharisees.[9]

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, a former disciple of John the Baptizer, and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
  • Janis Dardaris as Zohara (season 1): the wife of Nicodemus.
  • Lara Silva as Eden (season 1; recurring season 2): 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 H. Xanthis as John: a former fisherman in Capernaum, the brother of Big James, and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
  • Shayan Sobhian as Big James (season 1, episodes 1–4): a former fisherman in Capernaum, the brother of John, and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. Sobhian is the first actor to play Big James.
  • Erick Avari as Nicodemus (season 1): 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 (season 1; recurring season 2): a Roman magistrate in Capernaum and the Praetor of Galilee.
  • Kirk B. R. Woller as Gaius (season 1; recurring season 2): a Roman centurion and 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 (season 2; recurring season 1): a former caterer, the business partner of Ramah, and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
  • Yasmine Al-Bustami as Ramah (season 2; recurring season 1): a former vintner and one of the women helping Jesus' ministry.
  • Vanessa Benavente as Mary (season 2; recurring season 1): the mother of Jesus.
  • Yoshi Barrigas as Philip (season 2): 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 (season 2): a former architect in Caesarea Philippi and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
  • Alaa Safi as Simon Z. (season 2): a former Zealot and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.

EpisodesEdit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast released
PilotDecember 24, 2017 (2017-12-24)
18April 21, 2019 (2019-04-21)November 26, 2019 (2019-11-26)
28April 4, 2021 (2021-04-04)July 11, 2021 (2021-07-11)
Christmas SpecialDecember 1, 2021 (2021-12-01)

Pilot (2017)Edit

TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
"The Shepherd"Dallas JenkinsTyler Thompson and Dallas JenkinsDecember 24, 2017 (2017-12-24)
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). That evening, while Simon is far from his fellow shepherds, 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, and 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.

Season 1 (2019)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"I Have Called You By Name"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonApril 21, 2019 (2019-04-21)
In Capernaum, 26 AD, Mary Magdalene (Elizabeth Tabish), going by the name "Lilith", wrestles with real demons. While the Pharisee Nicodemus (Erick Avari) is touring the region, Praetor Quintus (Brandon Potter) approaches him, demanding help in collecting unpaid taxes. The tax collector Matthew (Paras Patel) deals with the turmoil of being considered a traitor by his fellow Jews. The fishermen 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 but Andrew disapproves, considering it a betrayal. "Lilith" loses hope for her condition, until she encounters Jesus (Jonathan Roumie), who calls Mary Magdalene by name, healing and restoring her.
22"Shabbat"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonApril 21, 2019 (2019-04-21)
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, James[N 1] (Shayan Sobhian) and John (George H. 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 James[N 2] (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.
33"Jesus Loves the Little Children"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonApril 21, 2019 (2019-04-21)
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.
44"The Rock On Which It Is Built"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonApril 21, 2019 (2019-04-21)
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 about a baptizer on the Jordan River. Running from the Jordan, Andrew claims to Simon they are saved, as his rabbi John the Baptizer (David Amito) has identified the Lamb of God, but 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 surrenders himself to Jesus, and 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. Meanwhile, Nicodemus visits the imprisoned John the Baptizer to ask about miracles.
55"The Wedding Gift"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonNovember 26, 2019 (2019-11-26)
In Jerusalem, 8 AD, Mary (Vanessa Benavente) and Joseph find the missing 12-year-old Jesus (Shayan Naveed Fazli) teaching in the Temple. 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. 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, recalling finding young Jesus in the Temple, 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.
66"Indescribable Compassion"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonNovember 26, 2019 (2019-11-26)
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, a leper (Stephen Hailo) approaches Jesus and the group on the road, asking Jesus to heal him. Jesus cleanses the leper, 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, an Egyptian named Tamar (Amber Shana Williams) forces her way through the crowd to help her paralytic friend, Ethan (Noé de la Garza), meet Jesus. Tamar's friends climb to and remove the rooftop, lowering the paralytic. Jesus forgives the paralytic, disturbing the onlooking 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.
77"Invitations"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonNovember 26, 2019 (2019-11-26)
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 as 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.
88"I Am He"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonNovember 26, 2019 (2019-11-26)
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 Simon's mother-in-law, Dasha (Leticia Magaña). 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 tells everyone Jesus is the Christ. The disciples return and Jesus publicly launches his ministry.

Season 2 (2021)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
91"Thunder"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonApril 4, 2021 (2021-04-04)
During shiva for the martyred Big James in 44 AD, John interviews fellow disciples as he writes their eyewitness accounts for his book. In Sychar, 26 AD, Big James (Abe Martell) and John plow a field while Jesus continues to teach the Samaritans. Thomas and Ramah arrive and 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 reminisces it and writes the introduction for his book.
102"I Saw You"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonApril 13, 2021 (2021-04-13)
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 and seeks 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 the 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 that 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.
113"Matthew 4:24"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonApril 13, 2021 (2021-04-13)
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.
124"The Perfect Opportunity"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonMay 11, 2021 (2021-05-11)
Jesse (Dennis Apergis), a paralytic, spends 38 years searching for a cure and stays at the Pool of Bethesda while his brother, Simon[N 3] (Alaa Safi), joins the Zealots, training to become one. The Zealots plot to assassinate a Roman magistrate in Jerusalem with Simon Z. leading the plan, but Atticus Aemilius (Elijah Alexander), a Roman cohorte urbanae, discovers their plan. 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. 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. When the assassination plan is being executed, 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.
135"Spirit"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonMay 23, 2021 (2021-05-23)
Seeing a Roman, Mary Magdalene is troubled while memorizing the scriptures. Shmuel and Yanni interrogate Jesse concerning Jesus and update 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 discuss with Jesus about the realness of what they’ve prepared for. When Simon Z. finds the disciples' camp, the demon-possessed Caleb attempts to attack the group. 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 departs from him to accomplish the mission. Devastated by the encounter earlier on the exorcism, Mary Magdalene flees to a local tavern. Learning Mary Magdalene has gone, Jesus instructs Simon and Matthew to look for her.
146"Unlawful"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonJune 23, 2021 (2021-06-23)
In Nob, Israel, 1008 BC, as Ahimelech (Marty Lindsey) teaches his son, Abiathar (Major Dodge Jr.), about the shewbread, David (Jorge Franco IV) seeks him for food. In Jericho, 26 AD, Simon and Matthew try to get along as they search for Mary Magdalene in dark places. Matthew and Simon find Mary Magdalene who is ashamed for leaving the camp and going back to her old life, and they convince her to come back. At the camp, the group receives bad news concerning John the Baptizer's arrest by Herod, distressing Andrew. Jesus forgives Mary Magdalene for turning back, restoring her again. Thomas informs Jesus they struggle with lack of food and the group goes to a synagogue at Wadi Kelt on Shabbat. In the synagogue, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand named Elam (Shaun Bedgood), upsetting the Pharisees, Madai and Lamech. As the group leaves, Jesus permits his hungry disciples to eat and pluck grain during Shabbat. The Pharisees criticize them and Jesus explains the situation by illustrating the occurrence of David and the shewbread, and he declares himself as the Son of Man and Lord of the Sabbath.
157"Reckoning"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonJune 30, 2021 (2021-06-30)
After learning of Jesus' whereabouts from Atticus Aemilius, Quintus sends Gaius to arrest him. As the group prepares for Jesus' upcoming big sermon, Andrew worries bad things will happen. Shmuel returns to Capernaum with Yanni and asks Yussif about Tamar. Gaius detains Jesus and Jesus peacefully surrenders. The disciples lose control as they argue about how to respond. In Jotapata, while seeking information about where Jesus has been taken, Andrew, alongside Philip, encounters Tamar and her healed paralytic friend, Ethan, who offer testimonies of the miracle. Quintus meets with Jesus and questions him concerning his deeds and actions. Seeing that he poses no threat, Quintus releases Jesus with a stern warning. Madai and Lamech come across Shmuel and Yanni in Jotapata and they inform them about Jesus. Andrew tells Tamar and Ethan to be silent, supported by a disguised Yussif to warn them of Shmuel. Later that night, Jesus returns to his disciples who are anxious for him. Afterward, they ask him how to pray and Jesus teaches them a prayer.
168"Beyond Mountains"Dallas JenkinsDallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler ThompsonJuly 11, 2021 (2021-07-11)
A businessman (Josh Zagoren) and his apprentice (Luke Dimyan) take advantage of a land as they negotiate with the owner. Jesus and Matthew prepare the content of the big sermon, organizing the sayings and teachings. As Tamar joins the group, the disciples continue to bicker and fight amongst themselves. The disciples spread the word of the upcoming sermon and arrange things for its location on the mount. Shammai (Ric Sarabia), a high-ranking Sanhedrin member and rival of Shimon, is shocked by Shmuel’s and Yanni’s reports on Jesus. Jesus discusses to Matthew the sections of the sermon, such as salt and light and light of the world, leading to the Beatitudes as the introduction of the sermon. On the day of the sermon, thousands arrive, including some familiar faces. Eden reunites with Simon while Big James and John reunite with their parents, Zebedee and Salome. The businessman and his apprentice, who previously help the disciples acquire the sermon's location, arrive as well. The apprentice meets the disciples once more and introduces himself as Judas. Jesus walks towards the stage as he begins his Sermon on the Mount.

Christmas Special (2021)Edit

TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
"The Messengers"Dallas JenkinsRyan Swanson, Dallas Jenkins, and Tyler ThompsonDecember 1, 2021 (2021-12-01)
In 48 AD, as the Roman persecution toward Christians is widespread, Tychicus (Alican Barlas), a follower of the Way, meets with Lazarus (Demetrios Troy) to help Mary Magdalene see Jesus' mother, Mary, who has a fever at that time. Mary Magdalene informs Mary about the growth of the church, the disciples' missions, and what happened to the boys. Afterward, Mary recounts to Mary Magdalene her experience in 4 BC from the journey to Bethlehem where she and her husband Joseph couldn’t get a room at the inn, and to the manger where she gives birth to Jesus. Mary shares her song as well and gives Mary Magdalene the piece of clothing from the manger. After Mary tells her and Joseph's perspective of the birth of Jesus to Mary Magdalene, she instructs her to write down the complete story of Jesus' birth and her song, and deliver them to Luke (Alex Veadov) who has been gathering eyewitness accounts regarding Jesus. In Rome, Mary Magdalene gives the account and a thorough story of Jesus' birth to Luke to include and add in Luke's writings.

Season 3Edit

Dallas Jenkins, Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson return to write the eight-episode season, with Jenkins directing all episodes.[10][11]

ThemesEdit

Although the show has an evangelical tendency,[12] there are consultants from three Christian 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.[13][14]

The show features many people of color as actors, which is not often the case in television and film based on the Bible.[15][3]

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.[16]

Jenkins said he draws creative inspiration from shows like Friday Night Lights and The Wire.[5]

Background and productionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

 
Dallas Jenkins directs episode 3, season 1 of The Chosen

The Chosen is based on The Shepherd, a short film Dallas Jenkins made for a Christmas Eve service at Harvest Bible Chapel in Elgin, Illinois, filming it on a friend's farm in Marengo.[3] The film got the attention of the faith-based filtering service VidAngel, which was embroiled in a lawsuit with major Hollywood studios and thus seeking original content to distribute.[17] 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.[2][18]

To create The Chosen, Jenkins partnered with video marketing strategist Derral Eves, with Eves as executive producer.[19] 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.[18] 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 TV series project. Each investor received equity in the show and is regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).[1][15] Majority shareholders will not receive a share of the profits until the original investors earn 120% of their investments.[5]

Since funding the first season by selling equity, the show has utilized traditional crowdfunding for subsequent seasons. Season 2 fundraising had reached over $6 million from over 300,000 contributors as of July 1, 2020.[20] The average contribution is $65.[5] The show also raises revenue through DVD/Blu-ray and merchandise sales.

Producers estimate that the first 16 episodes have been viewed 312 million times as of November 2021.[5] The makers of the series have expressed that they desire for The Chosen to be seen by over one billion people (and) in every country in the world.[21][4] Seven seasons are planned.[1]

CastingEdit

Noah James (Andrew) described the entire vibe of the set as "wonderful", praising co-stars for their best work and Dallas as "an amazing leader for the project".[22]

Paras Patel (Matthew) had a heartfelt impact from the truth of the series resonating to a lot of people all over the world that tells a captivating "intricate story".[22]

Elizabeth Tabish (Mary Magdalene) explained that before having the part, she was on the edge of leaving her acting career to which her agent submitted an audition for 'Lilith' or Mary wherein she was compelled as she got the audition scenes, expressing it as "a dream role" and having a connection to Mary Magdalene's character.[22]

Shahar Isaac (Simon) stated that after sending a tape, he had a feeling of a powerful attachment to the character, and was "completely hooked" as he read the script.[22]

Jonathan Roumie (Jesus) said he always aims to 'empty out as much of himself as possible' to allow the Holy Spirit to work in him through both the script he received and his performance onscreen. He described his preparation for his role which includes "a good bit of reading and rereading the source material" and especially "in the spiritual department".[22]

FilmingEdit

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.[23]

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.[24] This marks the first time a production not affiliated with the LDS church has been granted access to film on this set.[25]

Season 2 was filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating challenges for film production. 2,000 extras came for filming the Sermon on the Mount scene, all of whom were required to obtain a negative PCR test prior to filming. Safety precautions, such as, multiple testing and proper PPE kits for the cast and crew members were also applied. Following COVID-19 protocols cost the production of season 2 an additional $750,000, making the production cost increase crucially.[26]

In 2021, The Chosen partnered with several non-profits to construct a $20 million production complex in Midlothian, Texas, on the site of The Salvation Army's Camp Hoblitzelle.[27][28][29] Once it is complete, The Chosen will lease the facility, which will also be used for other entertainment projects.[5]

Season 3 started filming at the end of April 2022 at the constructed set at Midlothian, Texas, with The Chosen page releasing weekly videos of behind-the-scenes look. Almost 12,000 extras from 36 countries came for the filming the Feeding of the 5,000 scene on set.[28][10][29]

MusicEdit

Jars of Clay vocalist and songwriter Dan Haseltine and multi-instrumentalist Matthew S. Nelson composed the music for the series. The "honesty and integrity" of Jenkin's viewpoint towards the show drove Haseltine to get involved with the scores and soundtracks of the series, alongside Nelson who was approached by Haseltine for help in making the music.[30]

ReleaseEdit

Viewership was initially sluggish when the first season premiered for a fee in 2019, but the audience has exploded since the show was released for free via The Chosen app and also through the VidAngel streaming platform in the United States.[21] 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.[3][2]

Following the release through its own app, season 1 began airing on BYUtv in late 2020.[19] By early 2021, broadcast had extended to both secular and other Christian and family oriented platforms, ranging from Amazon Prime to Trinity Broadcasting Network and UPtv.[31][32]

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.[33][34]

On December 1, 2021, a Christmas special titled Christmas With The Chosen: The Messengers was released to theaters on a 10 day run through Fathom Events.[35] The special grossed $11 million with one million tickets sold, breaking a record for Fathom Events.[36]

ReceptionEdit

Episode 8 from Season 1 ("I Am He") earned two Movieguide Award nominations in 2020, with Epiphany Prize for Inspiring Television Program for the series and Grace Prize, Television for Jonathan Roumie, the actor who portrays Jesus.[37]

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 100 percent of critics have given season 1 a positive review based on 9 reviews, with an average rating of 7.80/10.[38]

Through August 2020, it had been viewed nearly 50 million times in 180 countries.[39] By the end of March 2021, the first season had been viewed more than 100 million times.[40] By June 2021, the series has been watched 150 million times and has been translated into 50 languages.[41]

In July 2021, The Chosen reached 200 million views worldwide.[42] By August 14, 2021, it was reported that it had crossed 300 million viewers worldwide.[43]

The series' success is attributed to artistic storytelling and cultural relevance, while staying true to the message of the gospels.[6] Writing in Film Threat, Alan Ng called the series "smart and insightful to a contemporary audience."[44]

The Christmas With The Chosen: The Messengers Christmas special sold $1.5 million in tickets during the first 12 hours of the sale. The release was expanded to 10 nights across 1,700 theaters, the largest release ever for Fathom Events.[35] As of December 13, 2021, it has grossed $13.7 million.[45]

MarketingEdit

In April 2022, Dallas Jenkins apologized for a marketing campaign that deliberately defaced 48 of the 70 national billboards promoting The Chosen.[46]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Identified later in the series as Big James.
  2. ^ Identified later in the series as Little James.
  3. ^ Identified later in the series as Simon Z.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Parke, Caleb (January 7, 2019). "Story about life of Jesus emerges as largest crowdfunded entertainment project in history". Fox News. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Carpenter, Chris (December 28, 2018). "New TV Series The Chosen a Modern Day 'Five Loaves and Two Fish' Story". CBN. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e Moore, Evan F. (March 18, 2020). "'The Chosen': Elgin filmmaker wants people to 'Binge Jesus' on an app". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Law, Jeannie (December 13, 2019). "'The Chosen': Record-breaking TV series about Jesus debuts worldwide". The Christian Post. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Journal, John Jurgensen | Photographs by Cooper Neill for The Wall Street (November 27, 2021). "Fans Pour Funding—and Faith—Into a Hit Drama About Jesus". Retrieved April 5, 2022 – via www.wsj.com.
  6. ^ a b c Carpenter, Chris. "Authenticity of Scripture Paramount to 'The Chosen's' Success". CBN News. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Wixom, Cassidy (May 26, 2021). "'The Chosen' resonates with believers who see authenticity in its characters". The Daily Universe. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  8. ^ Carr, Kimberly (July 24, 2020). "'The Chosen' Officially Greenlights Production of Season Two". CBN News. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  9. ^ Beach, Kylie (August 31, 2021). "Dallas Jenkins gives us a sneak peek at The Chosen Season Three". Eternity News. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Abel, Emily (May 18, 2022). "'The Chosen' director says viewers may be 'shocked' at what's coming in season 3". LDS Living. Retrieved June 17, 2022.
  11. ^ Beach, Kylie (June 9, 2022). "'Five loaves and two fish' story gets real: Dallas Jenkins tears up on set of The Chosen Season 3". Eternity News. Retrieved June 17, 2022.
  12. ^ Merrick, James (April 9, 2020). "'The Chosen' is a New and Promising TV Series on the Life of Christ". National Catholic Register.
  13. ^ Graves, Jim (May 29, 2019). "Watch 'The Chosen,' the online series on the life of Jesus". Aleteia.
  14. ^ "Is 'The Chosen' series about Jesus Christ a cultural moment worth watching?". Catholic News Agency. April 19, 2021. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  15. ^ a b Shepherd, Josh. "Jesus' Life Chosen for Two Very Different TV Series". Christianity Today. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  16. ^ "I Have Called You By Name". The Chosen. Season 1. Episode 1. 00:15 minutes in. BYUtv. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  17. ^ Cullins, Ashley (June 13, 2017). "VidAngel Launches New Platform Amid Studio Legal Battle (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Bond, Paul (January 5, 2019). "Largest-Ever Crowdfunding Campaign for a TV Show Issues Equity to Investors". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  19. ^ a b Mikita, Carole (October 25, 2020). "Production On Season 2 Of 'The Chosen' Begins in Utah". Salt Lake City, UT: KSL-TV 5. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  20. ^ Rodrigues, Marilyn (July 14, 2020). "Q@A with The Chosen star Jonathan Roumie". The Catholic Weekly. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  21. ^ a b Parke, Caleb (December 9, 2019). "Faith-based TV series 'The Chosen' tells the story of Jesus: The start of something 'very special'". Fox News. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  22. ^ a b c d e Brownell, Dan (July 16, 2019). "The Chosen Season 1: VidAngel Presents the Greatest Story Ever Told in a Groundbreaking New TV Show". Today's Christian Living.
  23. ^ Mauch, Rick (October 3, 2019). "'The Chosen' TV series on Christ finds 'perfect' filming location in Weatherford area". Forth Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved May 7, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ Toone, Trent (August 18, 2020). "Creators of VidAngel's 'The Chosen' to film second season in Utah". Deseret News. Retrieved August 18, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. ^ Toone, Trent (October 28, 2020). "Why cast and crew of 'The Chosen' love filming in Utah's version of the Holy Land". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, UT. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  26. ^ Law, Jeannie (February 13, 2021). "Record-breaking 'The Chosen' series gathers 2,000 extras to film biblical reenactment amid COVID regulations". The Christian Post. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  27. ^ Kellner, Mark A. (July 7, 2021). "How locations fell into place for 'The Chosen,' a viral series on Christ". The Washington Times. Retrieved March 19, 2022.
  28. ^ a b News, CCM (April 25, 2022). "Production Begins for Filming Season 3 of 'The Chosen'". CCM Magazine. Retrieved June 17, 2022. {{cite news}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  29. ^ a b Downs, Willie (June 10, 2022). "Thousands of volunteers descend on North Texas for filming of 'The Chosen's' feeding of 5,000". KLTV. Retrieved June 17, 2022.
  30. ^ Thompson, John (August 18, 2021). "Haseltine, Nelson, & The Music of The Chosen". True Tunes. Retrieved June 17, 2022.
  31. ^ Law, Jeannie (February 9, 2021). "'The Chosen': Record-breaking series about Jesus debuts on TBN". The Christian Post. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  32. ^ Henson, Melissa (April 22, 2021). "The era of complaining about Hollywood is over". The Washington Times. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  33. ^ Chattaway, Peter T. (March 17, 2021). "The Chosen announces its Season 2 release plans". Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  34. ^ "The Chosen Confirms Season 2 Premiere Date". Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  35. ^ a b Alexander, Bryan (December 1, 2021). "'The Chosen' streaming faith series brings authentic Jesus into theaters with Christmas special". USA Today. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  36. ^ Mendelson, Scott. "Box Office: 'Christmas With The Chosen' Passes $10 Million". Forbes. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  37. ^ "'The Chosen' Earns 2 Movieguide Award Nominations". CCM Magazine. January 13, 2020. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  38. ^ "The Chosen: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  39. ^ Caldwell, Zelda (August 4, 2020). "'The Chosen,' a crowdfunded series about Jesus, gets go ahead for Season Two". Aleteia. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  40. ^ Walker, Colby (March 31, 2021). "Season 2 of The Chosen and its ties to Utah". KSL News Radio. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  41. ^ 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.
  42. ^ "The Chosen hits more than 200 million views".
  43. ^ "Film series 'The Chosen' explores its Catholic side in the Eternal City". August 14, 2021.
  44. ^ Ng, Alan (April 11, 2020). "The Chosen [review]". Film Threat. Archived from the original on March 13, 2021. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  45. ^ "Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers (2021)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  46. ^ "Why 'The Chosen' is using satire and 'defaced' billboards to try and reach a new audience". Deseret News. April 14, 2022. Retrieved April 27, 2022.

External linksEdit