Top Ten 2013: Television

Josh Pease

Marta L.
December 12, 2013

As anyone who reads my FB page knows, I have a small* obsession with Sherlock. (*Like the TARDIS, it's bigger on the inside.) It's really a remarkable production that looks not just at exciting cases but deeper themes on the value of love and friendship. In some ways it's a break from the Doyle stories but it's doing it in a way that's really very interesting from a Christian perspective. Without giving too much away, I think it's one of the most thorough, secular investigations of "Greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friend." It also does quite a bit about the importance of weakness and dependence on each other, not relying just on our own strength.

I don't want to oversell the show's Christian bona fides. It's not C.S. Lewis, or even J.R.R. Tolkien. But if Christians are looking for it, there's some good work on some Christian themes worth exploring. Plus it's just a really well done show, from production value (they're more like movies than anything) to strong acting + direction to razor-sharp writing and humor and (as we Sherlock fans will put it) feels that will just stop you cold.

Are my fangirl stripes showing? Anyway, I was glad to see it included on this list.

Blake Atwood
December 12, 2013

Nice list Josh, and I'm glad to see that you chose the right show for your #1 ranking. : )

I'm also glad to see, in a way, that you share my ambivalence about Breaking Bad's finale. It was good, but I don't think it was what it should have been given the early credo of Mr. Chips to Scarface.

On the other hand, you've provided me a few great options to check out while I still mourn the ending of BB.

Joshua Pease
December 12, 2013

Love the passion Marta! I've loved Sherlock's growing realization that he does in fact need people.

But to be honest the show isn't all that spiritually inspirational for me ... I'm just a sucker for shows about a really smart guy figuring out mysteries. When that someone is Benedict Cumberbatch, it's even more awesome.

Joshua Pease
December 12, 2013

Ha. How could it not be #1? Also, I need to download the updated version of your book to read your thoughts on the finale!

But it sounds like we agree. My problem with it wasn't so much emotional - I thought it was very cathartic actually - but it seemed to violate the moral universe Gilligan had set up.

That being said, Walter (apparently?) praying for divine assistance and the keys falling "from the sky" was a fascinating moment. I'm still grappling with what that means.

December 12, 2013

I too was blown away by Rectify. I was lucky enough to have it pop up on Netflix (in Canada) a while back. In each episode, the emotions were palpable without having to be overly acted or named as you were allowed to sit in silence with so many of the scenes. It felt very honest in its many unnamed sufferings and wonderings about faith, life, identity and coping.

Glad to see it made the top of the list!

Joshua Pease
December 12, 2013

LOVE that you know Rectify! I only know a handful of people familiar with the show and am glad you appreciate it as I do.

I'm hoping (should the editorial powers that be see fit) to run a full review of it before season 2 begins. So far the show has taken Christianity/faith as a legitimate element of the human experience and not merely as a plot point. I'm hoping that continues!

December 13, 2013

I'm sure that's a nice list, Josh. I've never seen a single bit of nine of the shows, and only a few minutes of a couple episodes of Parks & Rec. But I'm willing to assume that each of them is worth including on a list like this. I'll now return to my cave.

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