CBS’ ‘Living Biblically’: Hope in the TV Wasteland

A man loses his best friend and then finds out he’s going to be a father. He decides to turn his life around, so, for guidance, he relies on … the Bible.

That’s the premise of a CBS series that premiered last week. Episode 2 airs tonight at 9:30 ET/PT. The pilot is available to view online here; episodes can also be streamed on CBS All Access.

The series premiered to less-than-stellar ratings, but did as well as an earlier series in the same slot. Since one of the executive producers is Johnny Galecki, star of CBS’ hit “Big Bang Theory,” the network might be inclined to give it a chance to find an audience. The other executive producer is Patrick Walsh, a self-described lapsed Catholic (who’s still a big Pope Francis fan).

Jay R. Ferguson stars as movie critic Chip Curry, whose trip through the Testaments is aided by two guides: Father Gene (Ian Gomez) and Rabbi Gil (David Krumholtz), who quotes Thomas Aquinas in the course of the three episodes CBS provided for preview.

A.J. Jacobs, the author of the nonfiction book the series is loosely based on, “The Year of Living Biblically” is Jewish, but aside from taking the basic premise of a New York journalist devoting a period of time to living by Biblical precepts, the CBS show is entirely its own thing, It’s much more influenced by Walsh’s own Catholic upbringing.

In the three I saw, faith is treated humorously but respectfully; there’s no attempt or apparent intention to demean or mock Christianity; and those who know little or nothing about the Bible may learn a bit.

I found it charming and good-natured. Here’s what my pal Kathy Schiffer had to say at the National Catholic Register:

Unlike so many network shows that are outright hostile to faith, “Living Biblically” lets Catholics in on the fun, without flaunting sex and obscenity, and without besmirching the faith of the viewer. I’ll take it!

Thanks, CBS! So, give this show a try, and we’d love to know what you think in the comments, either here or on Facebook.

Image: Courtesy CBS

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook.

Visit our YouTube and Ustream Channels for our contemporary and classic productions.