July 11, 2020

THE CULTURE WARS ARE A ROUT:

The new televangelism: The best US television drama has a strong religious dimension  (Matt Thorne, 11 July, 2020, The Critic)

Concerned by their lack of religious programming, this year the BBC designed a Year of Beliefs strand, including a reality show where light entertainers Les Dennis and Debbie McGee went on a pilgrimage to meet the Pope and confess their quiz show sins. But if the BBC really wanted to put religion back at the heart of their broadcasting, they should look to American TV, where almost every major mainstream channel  has a religious element.

Some shows in the current schedule address religion directly (including HBO's The Young Pope and its John Malkovich-starring sequel The New Pope and Oprah Winfrey's Greenleaf, set in a megachurch). Others are horror thrillers with religious dimensions (Supernatural, where the gates of Hell have opened and our only protection is a pair of wise-cracking brothers, or Lucifer, in which a somewhat-smarmy Devil runs a nightclub and solves mysteries in L.A.). 

It's astonishing how much airtime is devoted to two theological questions: why is there evil in the world and am I going to Hell?

For those who find these shows too silly, there are emotionally driven dramas such as The Leftovers, which follow the lives of those left behind after a Rapture-style event, or smart theological comedies such as The Good Place (a small group of oddballs die and wake up in what seems to be Heaven). But irrespective of which form it takes, it's astonishing how much airtime is devoted to two theological questions: why is there evil in the world and am I going to Hell?

Posted by at July 11, 2020 8:33 AM

  

« YOU CAN'T GET HERE FROM THERE: | Main | NO ONE HATES JUST BLM: »