Review: “The Chosen”

This website isn’t known for its book or movie reviews, but after running across The Chosen, I believe I must make it known to this audience. It is too good to not say something. It just came out last year and is spreading by word of mouth.

The Chosen is the first TV series of Jesus ministry, and is not a movie. But what makes Chosen so special is it tells the story of Jesus’ ministry, from the point of view of the persons who were completely changed by our Lord and Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, in a real and personal way.

Much of each episode is spent on the backstory of each character such as Mary Magdalene, Matthew, Nicodemus, Simon and Andrew, and the Samaritan woman whom Jesus met at Jacob’s well. The episodes’ stories build up to the point at which they meet Jesus and are changed, and the viewer can sympathize both with where the character has been, and what he or she is experiencing as they meet Christ. Some scenes I’ve seen many times and still can’t keep dry eyes.

Jesus speaks with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. Screen grab from Episode 8, I Am He.

Much of the story supports the Gospel accounts but is not directly out of the Bible (for example, much of Episode 1 is the backstory to Luke 8:2, and is engaging nevertheless). The scene in which a character encounters Christ does track with Scripture, with a few lines between the Gospel lines to add to the realness of the scene.

The Samaritan woman declares she is going to tell everyone Jesus is the Christ!  Screen grab from Episode 8, I Am He.

Overall, the setting and feel of the production is so real and startling. What I mean is the writing is superb, as is the acting and direction. Some Christian productions have the characters look for several seconds with a blank or dumb look on their faces. Not here. There are even some little modern expressions sprinkled in as when Jesus helps the former cripple stand up and He says to him, “Easy does it.” The action and dialogue is natural.

I believe that what is touched inside of us is the reminder that faith in Jesus Christ is not a religion, but comes from a relationship started when He touched you in some way at some place in your life regardless of what you had done. It’s a reminder that He deeply loves you and has reached out to you, and wants you for his. (Isaiah 43:1 is wonderfully repeated in Episode 1, as an example.)

Simon Peter the schemer, Mary Magdalene the oppressed, Matthew the recorder who questions all he knows, Nicodemus the seeker, all met Jesus and in some cases were changed instantly like Mary and in others it was a slow learning process like with Simon. There may be one or more characters you can identify with, and/or someone in your life who needs to see this.

There are to be eight seasons, with the last two devoted to Christ’s death and resurrection. There are eight episodes per season. There is no big name studio producing it; it is crowd-funded. They are taking donations/investments. The first season is available for viewing, and the second season is to be funded soon.

The man who created the show is Dallas Jenkins, the son of Jerry Jenkins.

You can watch the first episode for free. You can also download the App for free, or buy DVDs or Blu-ray discs and enjoy streaming all eight episodes for free. I bought the Blu-ray set since my data is limited and I knew I’d watch these episodes over and over.

I hope everyone can see this. I can’t wait for the second season.

Categories: Movie Review


15 replies

  1. I’ve watched these episodes three times already. I love it and still cry through some of the scenes. I also pick up something new every time I watch it. It’s just excellent all the way through.

    I don’t know if you’ve seen “The Shepherd” which Dallas Jenkins also wrote and produced as a short Christmas story, but it was really good, too. It’s kind of a precursor to The Chosen series. I believe it was floating around on facebook for awhile, but I think it can be found with The Chosen videos.

  2. Hi Nina,
    Yes, I found “The Shepherd” as part of the extra material in the disk set.

  3. I have to agree. In addition to what you’ve said, they also have the most personable, loveable portayal of Jesus that I’ve ever seen.

    You get to see His humanity, and they portay Him as having a sense of humor, and deep love for those He came to save.

    Most depictions of Jesus focus almost solely on His divinity, and let His humanity be forgotten. It was almost ridiculously easy to relate to this Jesus, and to understand the personal relationship we are to have with Him.

    The roundtable discussions on the other/extras disc are also very interesting. So are the behind the scenes interviews on the app.

    It’s definitely worth funding! Like you, I can’t wait until they have more episodes.

  4. Thank you for sharing. I just watched the first episode and I am blown away. Can’t wait to watch the rest!

  5. Awesome series! Agree with all Mark stated! The humanity of Jesus is beautiful- It has me thinking about how much I view scripture through my American Evangelical worldview. Has me thinking about how real and authentic and fun Jesus was on Earth and now is in heaven. I cannot wait until His millennium rule. It is going to be fun living on this planet.

  6. Hi Darrin,
    What you said struck a chord with me. With Jesus as King of Kings and his people being given the authority to rule the kingdoms of this earth, it will be a much better place.
    It is the promise of the next age, and the return of my Captain and King, that will allow me on the day Iran starts the chaos in the Middle East that I will raise my hands to heaven and praise the Lord!!

  7. Thank you for sharing this. I just ordered the DVD set after watching the 1st episode.

  8. Hi Tom,
    You are quite welcome. One thing I’ll mention in addition, is that their Blu-ray disk sets do not have perfect playing. One disc had one flaw not playing a single chapter of an episode and the second disk had another flaw. I had ordered two sets, so I was able to create my own perfect set by shuffling disks between sets. I ordered a dvd set yesterday (like you) and we’ll see how the dvd version goes. Since I believe in the content and their success I didn’t ask for a refund for the one set, but I did write an email to them telling them they should likely improve the quality of their Blu-ray manufacturing. They wrote back saying they will pass that along. So their dvd’s may be fine, don’t know yet, but be patient with them.
    If you can stream, their app makes it possible to see all the episodes via streaming.

  9. Mark, I wanted to let you know that I received their dvd and could play the first disk fine but I could only get part way through episode seven of the second disk and then it would skip back to the beginning of that episode. I could not play any of the last episode. I was so disappointed because I was ready to purchase more sets for friends. I was amazed by how good it was up until the flaws in the disk. I was wondering if your dvd set was any better.

  10. Tom,
    Thanks for letting me know, and I’m sorry to hear that. No, I just got my dvd set today and will watch it tonight and tomorrow, and will let you know. Apparently, from reading more about their production, they are relying on streaming more to get the show out, and it shows with the quality of your dvd’s and my blu-ray’s.
    You might need to do as I did and get more sets to mix and match disks, but that can get expensive. At least you saw episode 6. But, we have to get you to see episodes 7 and 8.
    And like you I was ready to buy a dozen copies to send out but won’t now.

  11. Hi Tom,
    I wanted to follow up in a response to you. I went ahead and watched my DVD set. I had the exact same problem as you did – episode 7 wouldn’t play after track 2 and episode 8 was unattainable.
    So I tried playing it on my computer. I got episode 7 to play starting with track 4, but episode 8 still wouldn’t play.
    Next, I copied the files on the DVD to my computer and tried to play it there. I got episode 7 to play in its entirety, but only the second half of episode 8 (which at least is the better half).
    This whole situation is unacceptable. An awesome product but shabbily manufactured. They can project their shows to the streaming world but for us who rely on disks and memory, this is unfortunate. I sent them an email earlier about this. Who knows? With enough feedback maybe they’ll change?
    Anyway, I feel for you and maybe you can use a computer to watch more.

  12. Hi again Mark,
    Your experience with disk 2 made me feel a little better knowing it did not have anything to do with my equipment. This is a copy of an email I got back from them after I explained what my problem was:

    Thanks for writing in! We’re sorry you’re having trouble. Every disc is stamped exactly the same, so sending a new one probably isn’t going to work. Are there any scratches on the discs?

    We’re finding with the huge difference in DVD/BluRay players, an extremely small percentage seem to have trouble playing the discs. Additionally, older disc players may have a harder time. Our discs were authored with the newest technology to ensure the best possible quality. Some old disc players may have a hard time processing the new technology. We have a couple suggestions:

    1) Try it in a different player (newer, if possible), even on a computer/laptop if that’s all you have, to see if it’ll play there.
    2) Check the lens on your player to see if it needs to be cleaned.

    This should help you be able to play your discs. Thanks again for your amazing support!

    The Chosen Support Team

    This shows me that they were not very accommodating about the problem. I will not argue with them and just wait for the second season to come out and see if I can get a complete set that works. This is a shame because the funding would greatly increase if they would fix this problem. I know more people would have multiple orders for the finished seasons. My wife and I were really depressed when we could not finish season 1. It was that good. I agree with you in that it is an awesome product and I don’t use the word awesome very much. Thank you for your follow up on this with me.

  13. Tom,
    The best advice I can give if you can’t stream is to try the Blu-ray set. I bought two Blu-ray sets, with each one having a problem on each disk. But after swapping disks between sets I have one set that is flaw-free.
    At least the Blu-ray works. But it may cost you. Episodes 7 and 8 shouldn’t be missed.
    I opened the DVD disk 2 on my computer and found the second-half of episode 7 was cut short by 8 minutes, so the video data isn’t even there (vidangel’s email is a lame excuse). And I played the second half of episode 8 on my computer after downloading the disk on to my hard drive directly, but the first half is corrupted.
    You’re right, it is a shame.

  14. Mark,
    Well, small miracles still happen. I was just received an email from them stating:

    Valued Customer,

    We are so grateful to have you in The Chosen family. It has come to our attention that Disc 2 in the DVD set you ordered has an error that stops episodes 7 and 8 from playing. We apologize for the inconvenience and are sending you a replacement Disc 2 immediately.

    It is of utmost importance that The Chosen is a positive experience for you, your friends, and your family. We don’t want anyone to receive a faulty disc by mistake, so please be careful not to share the DVD sets you received until the replacement disc arrives. We are sending your replacement Priority Mail to ensure it arrives quickly. You will receive an email with a new tracking number in the next few days.

    We are grateful for your patience, and we know you’re dying to see the Season Finale. If you can’t wait a few more days, you can always watch for free on our mobile app! ( Thank you again for your support!

    (NOTE: If maintaining the plastic over-wrap around the disc case is critical for your order, please respond to this email, so that we can see about replacing the entire set)

    The Chosen Team

    Just wanted you to know that you might get help too concerning this issue if you notified them of the problem. This restores my respect in them if everything comes out good.

  15. Tom,
    Yes, I got the same email. I sent them the names of the files on the disk with the errors, and they were on it! Yes, I’m with you that it restores my hope they will present the show correctly. Praise the Lord! I’m going to give it a couple weeks before I order more copies, but order I will! And you and your wife will love episodes 7 and 8.

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