Thursday, October 4, 2018

Pilot Review: God Friended Me

God Friended Me (CBS)
Premiered September 30 at 8:30pm

Religion actually isn’t something that’s all too common on television. Sure, there’s been “Touched by an Angel,” “7th Heaven,” “Joan of Arcadia,” and, last season, “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World.” But in an age of recycled ideas, this is an area in which freshness is still possible, which is nice. That said, it doesn’t always need to exist, and just because something hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it needs to be done now. The notion of an atheist getting a friend request from God is the definition of a punchline being turned into a series pitch, but at least this one should have some more longevity than other attempts to expand one joke into an entire show. In a sense, this is just another kind of procedural, with the newly enlightened Miles helping a different person each week overcome some hurdle in their life. Brandon Micheal Hall is a young but prolific actor, recurring on “Search Party” and starring in last season’s “The Mayor” as the title character. Here, he’s likeable enough if too stubborn for his own good, and he’s joined by the energetic and wonderful Violett Beane, choosing a very different role to follow up her turn as speedster Jesse Quick on “The Flash.” The reliable Joe Morton also serves as an appropriately intimidating father figure representing the aggressive power of religion. This show is probably worth a second look even if I think it’s probably too hokey for its own good, but if it can overcome its premise and evolve into something substantial and heartwarming, I might keep watching.

How will it work as a series? Every time the friend request comes in, I take this show less seriously, but again, if it can be about these lead characters and how this experience of helping other people is helping them, I think it could work. The real question is whether it becomes repetitive or manages to be creative each week.
How long will it last? The reviews are decent if not extraordinary, and a Sunday night timeslot is a pretty competitive place to start. In its initial airing after football, this show did well, and so it’s very possible it could have a successful run. I’m not going to bet on it though, predicting that the initial order will be aired and then that will be it.

Pilot grade: B-

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