Brandon Micheal Hall
God Friended Me is a humorous, uplifting drama about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he receives a friend request on social media from God and unwittingly becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him. So when Brandon got the call that he got the part to play an atheist, he was elated. “The feeling of being the lead for a show on a big network is like that moment when you’ve been studying for that big test then you get to the classroom and you forget everything. Then all of a sudden you decide to push through the test only to realize that you ended up with an A.” This the leading face exclaimed.
First off, lets clear something up. Fact about the dream team Observed: Bryant Wynbrandt and Steven Lilien are the two masterminds behind the God Friended Me grandeur. Both are the producing team behind some of TV’s biggest hits including, GOTHAM, HAWAII FIVE-O, and ALCATRAZ. Add to this combo, Emmy Award, and multiple NAACP Image Award-winning film, television, and stage veteran, Joe Morton who plays Reverend Arthur Finer in the new series. Then there is Austin, Texas native, Violet Beane who plays Cara Bloom, an online journalist suffering from writer’s block. Indian native Suraj Sharma plays Rakesh a sometime hacker who helps Miles and Cara research the enigmatic account; Javicia Leslie who plays Ali Finer a doctoral psych student by day and a bartender by night. Then go large with CBS newcomer Brandon Micheal Hall who plays Miles Finer a young and confused atheist.
Last week, I was granted the privilege to attend the set-visit for God Friended Me at the Steiner Studios in Brooklyn. While there, not only did I get to look over a script for an upcoming episode, I also witnessed a few scenes to be aired. Later, I was invited to a room where I conducted interviews with the actors. One of the fallacies that were clarified among all talents is that God Friended Me is not a religious show. “I don’t think this is a religious show. The title is really there to start a conversation.” This, Violett Beane, told Harvest when asked about the meaning of the show title. Thus the premise of God Friended Me, America’s new favorite TV show and quite possibly yours after it premiered last Sunday on CBS.
Notwithstanding, This show has a mixed, semi-Christian message that often borders on New Age. As Javcia Leslie puts it, “This show doesn’t center on one God. It is very inclusive and speaks about spirituality from different perspectives.
This program handles “heavy” themes with great dignity, sensitivity, and care, without being “churchy.” These qualities encourage many to watch who otherwise never entertain the thought of this type of program. Quite frankly, this is a program that will last through the future, in reruns, possibly in movies. Most of all, this is a program any age child may be allowed to see, without fear something offensive will be said or appear on the screen.
Who is God?
God, like science, is here to stay. However, God is the answer to all the questions that science can’t answer. Notwithstanding, when I asked each cast member who is God to them, I gathered that God is defined in many shapes and forms. Suraj Sharma had this to say: “For now, I don’t believe in God and I am not going to go into details of why. But I will say that I believe that God is you revere me and I revere you. Our job on this earth is to love and respect each other beyond any belief systems.” Violett Beane shared the sentiment – She added, “God to me is all of us. I don’t believe that there is one God who makes decisions for us.” Joe Morton who was grown up Catholic believes that God is not necessarily a guy, but something or someone greater than who we all are. I have come to the realization that you don’t have to believe in God to believe in good. On the other hand, Brandon and Javicia both believe in God in three persons, the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Quite admirably is the chemistry among cast members. “One thing I know for sure is that we have chemistry and you can see it on the screen. We really like each other!” said Morton.
This series is not afraid to deal with some of the heavy issues that society is faced with today. The show doesn’t just appeal to Christians like me, so the show doesn’t give the show a ‘preachy’ feel. I actually have friends who aren’t Christians but love God Friended Me because of the morals raised in the episodes seen so far. “We talk about all types of religions even though it is not a religious show. After all, there are not many platforms that highlight different beliefs and that is what this show does,” said Javcia.
Offering heart-touching stories dealing with the lives of everyday people, God Friended Me shares the abounding love and togetherness of varied backgrounds. While not a show to gain theological insight from, God is praised and portrayed in a positive light.
With 2 episodes down, it is safe to confirm that this group of cast and writers is equipped to make this story work wherever and whenever things may lead. Ensure to watch God Friended Me every Sunday on CBS 8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT