Friday, February 19, 2021

TV Show Review: God Friended Me - Season 2

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Uplifting main stories each episode
Cons: Some political preaching that was a real turn off
The Bottom Line:
Helping suggestions
A mainly uplifting show
Wish it didn’t preach

“Two Atheists Sitting in a Church.  There’s Got to be a Punch Line in There Somewhere.”

Probably my biggest surprise from the 2018-2019 TV season was how much I enjoyed God Friended Me.  Yes, I took issue with parts of the show, but at its heart, it was an uplifting show.  I’m happy to say that I mostly enjoyed season 2 as well, although my issues with the show were stronger.

If you missed the first season of this show, it follows Miles Finer (Brandon Michael Hall), a young podcaster who has turned his back completely on God and religion despite his father, Arthur (Joe Morton), being an Episcopal priest.  All that changes when he is friended on Facebook by an account claiming to be God.  As God gives Miles friend suggestions, Miles finds ways to help these people out.  And he begins to question anew his atheism.  Helping Miles are his best friend and tech genius, Rakesh (Suraj Sharma), and one of his first friend suggestions, Cara (Violett Beane).  Rounding out the cast is Miles’s sister Ali (Javicia Leslie) and Arthur’s fiancée Trish (Erica Gimpel).

As this season opens, Cara is pursuing a journalism opportunity in Paris, which just happens to be perfect since some of the leads to track down who is behind the God account seem to be pointing in that direction.  Meanwhile, closer to home, the God account is sending suggestions to someone named Joy (recurring guest star Jessica Lu).  Joy is in New York City on business, and she has no interest in helping people at all, but she begins to be pulled in anyway.  Over the course of the season, the gang attempts to help a theater about to close, a social worker fighting through trauma, and a Holocaust survivor trying to track down his sister.

The main part of each episode was always wonderful.  This is a feel-good show about people helping people.  Honestly, the show would leave me with a smile on my face each episode.  The situations were often more complicated than they first appear, and I didn’t always see how the issues would be resolved, but there was a happy ending coming.  Oh, once or twice the main storyline didn’t end happily, but it still ended the right way.

I also enjoyed the ongoing mystery of who or what is behind the God account itself.  I feel like that got too convoluted at times, but maybe it was just because I was trying to follow all the twists with time off between episodes.  I was content with how this season of the show left that mystery.

What did bother me was the moral preaching.  I wasn’t surprised that the show has a very liberal worldview.  I actually would have been surprised if it didn’t, in fact.  However, I was bothered by the way the show would present those type of conflicts.  These mostly came from ongoing stories involving the characters’ personal lives.  And they would set up a strawman character to be the bad guy in these circumstances and then we were supposed to feel good when they were vanquished.  The one that stands out to me the most is the man who objected to Arthur living with his fiancée before they got married.  This is a traditional Christian value, and the man was objecting to Arthur, a priest, living this way.  But he was treated like an idiot for holding the traditional Biblical view.

Like many shows, this one was impacted by COVID-19.  The good news is, we still got twenty-two episodes of the show, and the writers were able to wrap up storylines.  This is even more impressive since the show got cancelled after production had been shut down.  That means the ending of the final episode is a little rough, but it did wrap up things to my satisfaction.

Potential spoilers on the final scene ahead, but I will be vague.  I was bothered by the very final scene until the producers said they intended that to say the mystery isn’t completely over yet.  Looked at that way, I am okay with it.  And yes, that is always the way they intended to end the show.  Good thing it was filmed early on.

The actors all do a great job here.  The regulars are wonderful at bringing their characters to life each week, and the guest stars fit perfectly in the world of the show.

While I wish the show would have been more even handed when it approached some subjects, on the whole, I still enjoyed season 2 of God Friended Me.  This is a show that will leave you smiling after each episode.

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