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TV Series Review

God chooses the strangest folks sometimes.

Look at Moses, who tried to turn down a gig with God because he couldn't speak well. Or Saul, who hid among the baggage so avoid being king. Or David—a sheep herder so far down in the family pecking order that his dad nearly forgot about him.

Or take the people in CW's The Messengers—chosen to bring the not-so-good news that the world might be ending unless we all figure out how to keep the thing rotating. Saints? Angels? These folks don't come close.

Let's back up. One afternoon not so long ago, a mysterious meteoroid thunks into the American Southwest, carrying with it fire, brimstone and a mysterious passenger. Oh, he seems nice and polite at first, and he does look remarkably like the guy who played Jesus in Son of God. But don't let that fool you. The man (known simply as "The Man") is up to no good.

But when the meteoroid hit, it brought with it something else—some sort of divine weirdness that kills, then resurrects and changes a few select souls. One young man suddenly finds himself imbued with superhuman strength. A woman is able to heal her seriously injured daughter. And the son of a prominent televangelist believes he was given a heavenly vision. "I have seen the face of God, and it is a terrible thing to behold," he says.

He's not kidding. Armageddon is just around the corner, it would seem, and that's really bad news for most of humanity. But the world has time to stave off the apocalypse … if it listens to these chosen few. These messengers.

The Messengers is a CW sci-fi romp with a ribbon of religiosity woven throughout. It's not the first time the network has given us an apocalyptic tale full of angels and demons and the advancing End Times: Supernatural has been dealing with the end of the world for 10 seasons now. Of course, Supernatural's sense of theology is pure pop drivel (a mash-up of Dark Age arcana with a Japanese video game ethos), and The Messengers may prove to be no better. Early on, it posits that there is a God, and that He is good (if angry). And as in times gone by, He's shown to use some unlikely people to serve as His hands and feet. But the show certainly doesn't follow the Scriptures exactly. (In fact, it may not follow them at all.)

"Nothing is random," a Messenger is told. "Nothing is a coincidence. Everything is happening for a reason. And you have an important part to play." But important doesn't mean righteous in this case. These guys and gals lie, swear, drink and even kill. It's not just The Man who does dastardly deeds. It's these earthly angels themselves.

Executive producer Trey Calloway has said that The Messengers is not about any one religion. But he admits that it is about faith—"faith in powers greater than anything you ever imagined." While I find it encouraging that The Messengers deals with the concept of faith head-on, treating it with sincerity and seriousness, that doesn't mean we should place our faith in this show. It does matter, after all, what we place our faith in, not just the fact that we have some.

The Messengers quickly falls from grace with its profanity and violence. And while it may encourage some viewers to pick up the Bible, it won't offer much insight into what the Good Book actually says.

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Episode Reviews

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