Just moments into God Friended Me Season 1 Episode 1 it's evident that CBS' new installment is rather ambitious.
It hopes to bring religion, or at least a sense that there is some greater power, back into our daily lives, especially for Miles Finer, an outspoken atheist who shares his beliefs about there not being a "god" on his up-and-coming podcast, The Millennial Prophet.
We've all met someone like Finer in our personal lives; a person so affected by a traumatic event in his life that he's lost all faith.
Surely, if there were a God, his mother would never have died in a car accident shortly after beating cancer.
Miles may tell people he doesn't believe, but by simply screaming up to the heavens when his Sirius XM pitch is deleted proves that he does believe someone occupies that space above him.
Given his religious upbringing as a preacher's kid, it's almost expected that something begins testing his faith. And in this social media-laden age, God reaches out to him by friending him on social media.
It's a comical twist — one that we open with welcome arms — on a recurring premise. And therein lies the show's biggest problem — how will it stand out amongst all the other "reluctant and doubtful prophet" shows.
I just want to help people take responsibility for their own lives. I think we'd all be better off if we did.
What the show has going for them is a lovable cast that makes it acceptable to believe everything that happens in the heavily-loaded plot.
We know God isn't really recruiting disciples through social media nor is he hacking Miles computer, but mostly, we don't really care.
We don't question what is really happening when the alarm clock begins playing "Human" by Rag'n'Bone Man in the middle of the night.
When the 1995 Easter classic "Moses" takes over his computer screen and deletes his pitch to Sirius XM, we take it for what it is.
And really, there's no explanation for why God turned up the heat in his apartment to nearly three-digit temperatures, but we don't stop to question it because again, it is what it is.
Though the show-title can be offputting for non-believers and believers alike, most of what transpires during God Friended Me Season 1 Episode 1 is a lighthearted approach at starting the conversation around faith rather than trying to convert anyone.
Even God isn't referred to in a traditional sense but as a more ambiguous force that's up to one's interpretation.
Right off the bat, the show does something that I admire — it makes you question why things happen and best of all, forces you to think that everything happens for a reason.
There is "the" plan, there is your reaction to the plan, there are people who you are meant to meet, there are people who come into your life to teach you a lesson, and there are people on whom you're meant to instill some wisdom.
I thought I had it all figured out but then something happened and it changed my life forever. There is no proof of god anywhere in the universe.
And if done right, the audience will continue to be pushed towards finding the deeper meaning in occurrences that might seem otherwise mundane or ordinary.
Miles and Cara were brought together by the "God" account, but their stories as we find out are much more intertwined.
There has to be more to why their path's crossed again all these years later.
It's obvious that there is a love story forming between them because that's just the nature of television, but depending on how it's handled, it could either be a heavenly love story or a forced one.
I'd like to think that God playing matchmaker is just a purer form of Tinder, so I have some hope.
It also seems like the narrative is going to follow a pattern of the God account recommending folks to Miles which he will then help similarly to how he prevented John Dove from committing suicide and helped Cara find her mom.
But though endearing, meeting people via a social media application in the name of the lord might run its course rather quickly.
How long before it stops being intriguing?
How many people can Miles help before it fails to be a life-changing experience?
Miles, I did it. I found God. He's in Jersey.
- Permalink: Miles, I did it. I found God. He's in Jersey.
And if his father — Joe Morton always had a bit of a God complex on Scandal — isn't behind this, who is?
The idea of a God can become very complex, and sustaining the enthusiasm when you start off with such high stakes may be difficult, but the show wins when it laughs at itself.
I could not wipe the smile off of my face after Miles said "if God sent me a message in the form of a burning bush, you'd think I was insane," and then shortly after walked outside to see a burning bush.
Depending on your interpretation it could be a sign from God, or it could be the fault of the kids playing nearby.
I am your host Miles Finer that there is no god and that is okay!
- Permalink: I am your host Miles Finer that there is no god and that is okay!
And therein lies another the problem: the show has to be careful as not to allow the characters to blur the line between coincidence and fate.
Then, there's the whole podcast aspect.
Will this journey of self-discovery be a topic that boosts Miles' listenership?
We know that as of right now, it's not bringing in much dough, but this kind of experience not only gives him credibility, everyone he meets could potentially be a new interview subject for his show!
He could become a real celebrity and even meet Howard Stern. Is anyone else really loving Rakesh's character? There's such an authenticity to him.
Regarding my own faith, I fall on the same spectrum as Cara — she's spiritual enough that she can recognize that there is something greater at work here, even if she doesn't know what it is.
Overall, the series is a tall order to fill, and it will have its cup of skeptics.
I'm even a bit skeptical when it comes to keeping the audience engaged.
By the end of God Friended Me Season 1 Episode 1, the storylines were so neatly wrapped up, it could have served as a series finale or worked better as a limited series.
Miles: Wait a minute, you don't think dad is behind this do you?
Ali: Really, Miles? He can't even use Netflix. You know, what's happening to you is kind of like the prodigal son except God is using Facebook to bring you and dad back together.
Cara and her mother worked things out, Miles and his father sort of did, or at least enough to play chess again, and his outlook on life became a lot brighter and sunnier because of someone's elaborate prank.
But the question remains: who is behind the prank? And who is the next suggested friend that popped up, Katie?
Regardless of your religious beliefs, I think in this day and age, we could all use a little more faith and inspiration, and God Friended Me will surely deliver.
Or in the words of Cara, "otherwise, life just seems kind of pointless."