1. By the Book (CBS)
What’s it About: Based on the bestselling book The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs, By the Book centers on an everyday man (Jay R. Ferguson) who decides to start living according to the Bible. The twist? He doesn’t just keep the better-known rules like speaking honestly and giving to charity, he also adopts the more obscure laws such as calling the days of the week by their ordinal numbers to avoid voicing the names of pagan gods, playing a 10-string harp, growing a hipster beard, and eating crickets.
Why Christians Should Care: If done right, By the Book could be an excellent show for starting conversations about faith. Watching the lead character wrestle with scripture and his modern identity could be refreshing for viewers, and it’s fun to laugh at the more awkward quirks of Christian culture. Either way, the Bible will be front and center, which means Christians will be watching.
2. Splitting Up Together (ABC)
What’s it About: Based off a Danish series, Splitting Up Together follows a longtime couple (Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson) in the process of getting divorced. Surprisingly, instead of drifting apart, the two slowly discover their love remains. Now they’ll have to relearn what it means to be husband and wife all over again, with some added confusion from their friends and family.
Why Christians Should Care: Marriage has always been an important topic for Christians. Splitting Up Together doesn’t just challenge the purveying idea that divorce is a good solution to marital troubles, it also encourages viewers to take marriage seriously. Whether the rest of the show’s content is as edifying remains to be seen.
3. Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (ABC)
What’s it About: An oblivious and self-centered man (played by Jason Ritter) encounters a spiritual entity (Kimberly Hébert Gregory) who claims to be a messenger from God. She explains that in every generation there are righteous souls who are chosen to save the world, and lucky Kevin has been selected. Obviously, this proves more difficult than either of them expected.
Why Christians Should Care: There are faith-based aspects to the show such as honesty, charity, and learning to be selfless. Not to mention, Kevin’s personal ark revolves around fixing relations with his broken family. Still, Kevin’s spiritual guide appears pretty lax on certain religious details, and the God she serves may just be another generic, ethereal version who wants people to be happy. Either way, it’s worth taking note.
4. The Crossing (ABC)
What’s it About: The locals of a small coastal town in Washington state are suddenly met with an influx of refugees desperately fleeing a war-torn country. Making things twice as interesting? The refugees are all from 150 years in the future, and the desolated country is actually the United States. Also, some of them may-or-may not have superpowers.
Why Christians Should Care: Despite the absurd premise, The Crossing brings up a number of highly-combustible topics that have been circling the Christian hemisphere. The treatment of refugees, cultural divides, our inherit fear of otherness, ect. The show might not get these subjects right, but it will get people talking. Plus, it’s being billed as the new Lost, and that’s a pretty high bar for Crosswalk editors.
5. The Good Place, Season 2 (NBC)
What’s it About: Rolling into its second season, The Good Place continues the adventure of Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) and her friends as they attempt to navigate the afterlife, which happens to include cosmic drama, a real life Siri, and surprising amounts of frozen yogurt. It all started when Eleanor met her untimely demise and woke up to discover she had entered “The Good Place” (AKA: Heaven). The only problem? She’s not supposed to be there! Cue the hilarity as Eleanor tries to shed her old habits without anyone catching on.
Why Christians Should Care: Aside from being one of the funniest shows on television, The Good Place delivers ample commentary on forgiveness, redemption, grace, ethics, faith, and what it means to be human. Plus, in The Good Place nobody can curse, which leads to some rather hilarious dialogue.
6. Young Sheldon (CBS)
What’s it About: Spinning out of The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon chronicles the misadventures of a 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper while growing up in East Texas. As a brilliant mind capable of advanced mathematics and science, the awkward Sheldon finds it difficult to assimilate in a culture where football and church are the chief passions. Still, with the help of his loving parents and determined siblings, Sheldon will eventually learn not everything in this world can be explained with a formula.
Why Christians Should Care: The Big Bang Theory has occasionally examined the different ways people approach subjects of science and religion, and Young Sheldon appears to be no different. Sheldon’s mother was often distinguished for her strong Christian beliefs, meaning viewers will likely see more conversations about faith as the series progresses. On top of everything, Young Sheldon appears to be grounded in a dynamic family structure, which is sure to resonate with Christians.
7. The Magic School Bus Rides Again (Netflix)
What’s it About: A modern reboot of the classic 90’s show, The Magic School Bus Rides Again will follow a new class of intrepid students as they get chaperoned through a series of wild field trips, this time by Ms. Frizzle’s younger sister, Fiona Frizzle (Kate McKinnon). The original series took viewers inside the human body or back in time to study dinosaurs, and the new installment promises more of the same wacky adventures.
Why Christians Should Care: The Magic School Bus was one of the best scholastic and well-produced shows of the 90’s, so expectations are high for this series. Hopefully, it will provide the same family-friendly and educational entertainment audiences have come to know and love. Old fans should expect plenty of nostalgia too.
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SOURCE: Crosswalk.com, Ryan Duncan