19 January 2004 | PopRox9139
After Buffy the Vampire Slayer was canceled, I was also on the outs with every other show I had previously watched, and had almost nothing left. There was a great big void in my TV watching schedule, and it was filled with this show. If I had only heard the description for Joan of Arcadia, I know that I would never have watched it. Let's face it, the premise alone sounds pretty lame. Fortunately, I saw a commercial for the show one day while flipping through the channels, but was still skeptical. The commercial was on again and again, incessantly telling me to watch this show, and finally I decided to give in and watch the show, even though I probably wouldn't like it. The pilot episode was good, and the episodes that followed were good as well. The Girardis are a realistic portrayal of a family, not too perfect yet not overly exaggerated either. The kids are funny and intelligent, from the snippy Joan to the dorky Luke to the sarcastic Kevin, and the parents actually seem to love each other and their kids. Joan's friends, Grace and Adam, are another highlight. Grace is great as the rebellious girl without a cause and I liked her instantly, even though I did think she was a boy. Adam, on the other hand, took me a little more time. I recognized him from when he huffed paint on 7th Heaven, which did not exactly endear me to him. By the end of the very first episode he was in, however, I fell in love with his character. What is unique about this show is that the main character talks to God, who appears in various forms and assigns Joan tasks. The tasks always have unexpected results, and there is always a message in what Joan has to do, a message that is thankfully not beat into the audience with a sledgehammer, but is subtle and genuine. This is a moving show that deals with human experience quite well. Without a doubt this is the best new show this year.