Joan of Arcadia - The First Season
DVD | Box Set
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After patriarch Will gets a job as the chief of police, the Girardi family moves to the small town of Arcadia from the big city. Middle child Joan isn't happy, and her family, consisting of science nerd Luke, paralyzed former jock Kevin, and their perpetually flustered mother Helen, isn't helping. Joan finds herself talking to God, in the form of random people who give her assignments to help the people around her. Joan keeps following God's assignments, never sure if she's really speaking to him, or just going crazy!
Once in awhile a show comes along that breaks the mold. Most such programs fail, but Joan of Arcadia set out to do something new, beat the odds, and found an audience. Created by Barbara Hall (Judging Amy), its a unique hybrid of My So-Called Life, The Commish, and--well, something different. Unlike CBS predecessor Touched by an Angel, faith creates more questions than answers (and God even has a sense of humor).
Joan (Amber Tamblyn) is an ordinary 16-year-old. Father Will (Joe Mantegna) is the local Arcadia police chief, mother Helen (Mary Steenburgen) is a teacher/administrator, younger brother Luke (Michael Welch) is a fellow student, and older brother Kevin (Jason Ritter, son of John Ritter) is a high school graduate who was paralyzed the year before. He used to be popular and athletic. Now he watches TV and builds models. In the pilot, God speaks to Joan for the first time, as a cute boy, and asks her to get a job. Once she's convinced He's really God, she does. Her action inspires Kevin to get one, too, and his process of rejoining the world begins.
As in Joan Osbornes theme song, "One of Us" (featured on two episodes), God will continue to appear to Joan in a variety of guises--even as a dog walker who looks like Russ Tamblyn (Amber's father). Hell often ask her to do things that make her uncomfortable, but she'll always learn from the experience and some good will always come from it. Unfortunately, she isn't able to talk to anyone about this or they'd think she was crazy, not even friends Grace (Becky Hahlstrom) or Adam (Christopher Marquette). By the season finale, faith will be replaced by doubt, setting the scene for the second season, in which Joans faith will be restored. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- Deleted Scenes
- Audio commentaries
- Exclusive Featurettes
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song "What If God Was One Of Us" by Joan Osborne starts off at the beginning and only at the beginning of each separate disc of episodes. The following episodes then play out in order rapidly, and smoothly. It's a nice package of shows to just sit one evening with family and friends and maybe watch 3 or 4 of them at a time. I've just ordered the second season as I write this. I recommend this whole heartedly for any lover of good, wholesome, and true to life family entertainment. Maybe the cast could have a special reunion type show to see what's become of Joan in the past 13 or so years. I'm sure God would have a lot to inspire her and us to do during these trying times.
Otherwise, I agree with many...this was one of the best quality tv shows of the past decades...I haven't been a teenager for a long time, but I love this show, whose central character is a befuddled(read normal) high schooler, but who is different certainly from the ones we know now in that she actually THINKS. She is surrounded by some quirky characters, people who are always around but whom we usually choose to ignore because they also are not so 'normal.' Joan's acknowledgement that all people have value is a trait we should see more of. Great acting by entire cast makes it believable and engrossing. I would recommend this highly---any age can benefit from the wisdom inherent in each episode.
I just wish the original music was there all the way through. Anyone know of dvd's that have it?