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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

NYT op-ed writer confesses to liking 'The Chosen' despite typically disliking 'religious films:' I'm 'hooked'

A New York Times opinion writer confessed in a new column to being hooked on the biblical drama series “The Chosen” despite typically “truly” hating religious films.

Tish Harrison Warren, an Anglican priest who pens a weekly column about faith and public discourse in the New York Times, gushed over the Jesus-centered Christian TV series in a new article Sunday, titled “He’s Not Jesus, but He Plays Him on TV.”

Jonathan Roumie plays the role of Jesus in ‘The Chosen’

Jonathan Roumie plays the role of Jesus in ‘The Chosen’ (Courtesy of The Chosen)

Discussing her surprise about the show, Warren wrote that she typically dislikes faith-based movies and TV shows, calling them “corny or mawkish, the kind of thing that certain believers feel they are supposed to watch but that lack any real artistic merit or appeal,” adding that she “truly hated Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ.'”


But when a friend recommended she watch “The Chosen”’ which brings the gospel to life through the eyes of “those who knew Jesus,” Warren said it didn’t take long before she and her family were “hooked.”

The Chosen Season 3 finale ad

The Chosen Season 3 finale ad (The Chosen/Facebook)

“Instead of a straight retelling of the Gospels, the series creates back stories and extrabiblical subplots for Jesus’s disciples and critics,” she wrote.

The hit show incorporates drama and imagination into the stories and characters of the Bible, and tells the stories of Jesus while offering unique perspectives on well-known Biblical events and figures. The show has been viewed more than 108 million times globally, The New York Times reported in December, calling it “a bona fide phenomenon in many parts of Christian culture, attracting a fervent ecumenical fandom while remaining almost invisible to others.”

Warren said the show has garnered a reputation for being a favorite among critics who like her, normally don’t care much for Christian entertainment.


"Christmas with The Chosen: The Messengers" shows the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Mary and Joseph. 

“Christmas with The Chosen: The Messengers” shows the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Mary and Joseph.  (The Chosen)

 “My family and I were drawn into the story — not an easy feat for a 2000-year-old plot that has been worn thin with familiarity. My 10- and 12-year-old daughters even asked if we could read the gospel stories again to compare them with the show,” she wrote.

“The actors make characters like Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Peter seem approachable and relatable, real people living complicated lives. It feels more like a smartly written drama that happens to have the incarnate God as a main character than a typical religious drama,” Warren continued.

Warren also shared details from an interview she conducted with the “The Chosen” star Jonathan Roumie, who stars as Jesus in the series and has been outspoken about how the role has affected his life as both an actor and a Christian.

In a recent interview with Fox News Digital, Roumie described how he leaned on faith in the darkest times and how turning to God transformed his life.

Scene from the hit drama series ‘The Chosen’

Scene from the hit drama series ‘The Chosen’ (Courtesy of The Chosen)

“Life literally backed me into a corner until I got on my knees in front of my crucifix and poured out my heart to God,” Roumie said.

“I’d always had a relationship with my faith, but I had never surrendered my career so viscerally or felt that I had no other choice before,” he explained. “So, I think God kind of knew that and said, ‘I need everything from you.’”


Unlike other larger-production films about the life of Jesus, “The Chosen” is a result of crowd-funding and was originally made available on YouTube, as well as a stand-alone streaming app.

The fourth season of “The Chosen” is slated to be released sometime in 2024, though an official date hasn’t yet been announced.

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