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2020 Visions - TV series we watched during the Covid Lockdown

As we look back at 2020 - our unprecedented year - my gift vouchers from last Christmas for £100 worth of cinema tickets is still sat on my desk unused.

On our One Door Cinema Club calendar seven live events were cancelled. It was a year actors, film companies, theatres and cinemas all had to put down tools and close doors.

Last year saw live streaming platforms experience what Hollywood and cinema did in the 1920’s during the Great Depression, a rush for the great escape in the only place we could. If cinema was birthed in that calamity then streaming went into hyperspace through this calamity.

What this means for the future of cinema and terrestrial T.V. remains to be seen.  

In my house, four out of five of us went down with Covid two weeks before the first lockdown. I took seven weeks to get anywhere near normal, my wife eleven weeks. When I tell people this they look deeply concerned through the zoom screen and I calmly reply “well it was fine, we had Now TV, Netflix, YouTube and finally Disney Plus.”

As I lay on the sofa under my quilt drinking tea, eating food I could not smell or taste, we dug in to recuperate and what series did we watch?… In order we watched...

  1. Manifest two seasons - Now TV
  2. A.D. Kingdom and Empires - Netflix
  3. The Good Place all seasons - Netflix
  4. Game of Thrones all seasons - Now TV
  5. Community all seasons - Netflix
  6. Chernobyl - Now TV
  7. Watchmen - Now TV
  8. The Chosen - YouTube
  9. The Mandalorian (both seasons) - Disney Plus
  10. The Clone Wars all seasons- Disney Plus
  11. The Umbrella Academy both seasons - Netflix
  12. The Big bang Theory Final Season and random episodes - Netflix
  13. Star Trek Discovery Seasons 1 & 2- Netflix
  14. Lost in Space Seasons 1 & 2- Netflix           

 

I watch series for all sorts of reasons. Some for research - and I don’t endorse or even recommend some of them. Some I watched with my wife, some with the kids. 

I especially watch a show if a Christian writer or reviewer comments on it. One example was a certain show in that list, a Christian writers article was said to be “what the world would look like without God or religion.” I found multiple biblical types including Jesus! And the whole show is a clash between each belief of multiple new gods, old gods and a monotheist god, and how that plays out. Themes explored include betrayal, sacrifice, and Good vs Evil. 

It was the most religious show I’ve ever seen! Written by a self proclaimed “lapsed Catholic” - writers write what they know! I think some Christian film reviewers and commentators don’t seem to see the cross for the trees! 

When I watch films and any series, I’m looking at the story, character types, biblical themes and narratives and especially at the worldviews. If every film asks a question I find they usually ask the same big questions often asked in every pulpit of every church.

The answers tell you everything about the writer you need to know, about their worldview: the glasses at which they look at the world and what they believe are the answers to the big questions. With a series or box set they ask the same big questions as films but they get to take longer answering them and more in depth.

My favourite Big Three 2020 series are as follows. In at number three…

Manifest on Now TV 

Manifest Logo

This was a lovely surprise, I honestly did not know anything about this series at all! Ironically, it was not on my radar! (Pun intended!) I wasn’t expecting much but the premise got my attention, as did seeing Robert Zemeckis as an executive producer. Zemeckis is best known for his brilliant Back to the Future trilogy.

The Premise

Montego Air Flight 828 from Jamaica to New York Takes off and during the flight they have some turbulence but nothing out of the ordinary. When they land they discover it's five and half years later and they are all presumed dead. If that wasn’t strange enough, trying to reintegrate into their old lives, the passengers start to hear voices and have visions giving them knowledge about situations and future events they could never possibly know! 

It’s like a cross between The Twilight Zone and The Book of Acts! I loved it! Brilliant twists and turns - a fantastic thrill ride of a story. The recurring scripture that keeps coming up in the first series is Romans 8:28 

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Remember the flight number… Montego Air Flight 828! Third season is due out this year, and I can’t wait! Totally binge-able! The joke between my wife and I was, “Just one more episode then bed.” Three episodes later…”WE’VE GOT TO GO TO BED!!!” 

In at number two…

The Mandalorian on Disney Plus

Mandalorian Logo

As of the last couple of days it transpired that this show was the most pirated of 2020. The Disney Plus channel sadly due to licensing reasons had to be staggered in its release between the US and UK.

I waited to watch The Mandalorian on Disney Plus and boy was it worth it! My kids and I have all jumped up and down on the sofa watching this. Screaming and cheering and tears have been errupting from our lounge for this show! 

I had a Star Wars themed wedding so that tells you all you need to know about my love of Star Wars! 

Writers/Directors/Producers Jon Favrou and Dave Filoni have indeed brought the force back into balance.

Amazing story following a lone Mandalorian bounty hunter getting right back to all the core material That George (Thank the maker) Lucas was inspired by such as Saturday morning matinee series Flash Gordon, the lone wild west gunslinger and Kurosawa samurai films.

I remember as a kid watching on video from the rental shop 1980’s Shogun Assassin. A double hard lone Samurai with a child in a pram. 

Make one a Mandalorian and one a baby of the same species as Yoda and you're off on a quest in the galaxy far far away we’ve been frequenting for the last forty three years. 

Season one eased us in nicely and by the last three episodes the tempo picks up and it doesn't stop until the lift doors on Moff Gideon's bridge close on the last episode of season two. As I was wiping tears from my eyes and the kids were sitting there mouths open the end credit scene leaves you screaming! 

Peyton Read directs brilliantly the final episode (Just thought the fantastic Ant-man director should get a shout out!). From the cast, directors, inspired music, tech, effects to the costumes, a masterpiece of a series worthy of its seven Emmy awards for season one. 

There are some amazing themes in the series. Even the titles got my geek on, The Child, The Sin, Sanctuary, Redemption and The Believer. So many Biblical themes and some of you may be like “wait what?” well look out for our second episode of our One Door Cinema Club small screen series - one to see exactly how biblical the original Star Wars trilogy is. You may be surprised!…I have spoken!    

But surprisingly, the series that blew me away the most is in at number one…

The Chosen (Livestream event) on Youtube 

The Chosen Logo

There is an inconvenient truth that has bothered many of my friends and me for years that when a church or Christian organisation do anything, it's usually really naff in quality. I’m not going to make a list and name names but when it's done well like The Passion of The Christ, Risen, A.D. Kingdom and Empire and The Nativity Story, the impact is brilliant. 

If I was blown away by The Mandalorian what show could top that, right? Well that’s what I thought, too! 

I had a friend recommend The Chosen YouTube livestream series saying, “It’s a series about people who meet Jesus and the impact on them, it’s great  - it's made by Christians!” and was like “yeah whatever sounds great” … in my mind I went “probably won’t be!” I mean the Christian films end up as bad TV film quality and the TV usually ends up like some kids YouTube show. I wasn’t holding my breath in anticipation.   

I don’t think I’ve laughed and cried through a series more than The Chosen.

Film maker Dallas Jenkins and actor playing Jesus, Jonathan Roumie, have hit the tone of Jesus so well. I mean we’ve seen the most famous historical character in history, (so famous our calendars revolve around him!) played by a Swedish dude, a bizarre stoic more akin to Tom Bakers' Dr Who, a wild crazy hippy, a serious and stern school teacher type, a very smiley white toothed slightly chubby and very western American. We’ve seen great examples in film but still something's been, well... a little off, definitely something missing… Until now! 

Finally that's the Jesus I know, He’s like that! From scripture to personal relationship I think this Jesus seems more well-rounded playing someone who Christians believe was fully God and fully man. I think previous attempts at Jesus didn’t even get fully man right, before even thinking about what does that tension of the God/man look like in Jesus. 

The full range of human emotions for starters when the scene of the miracle of the fish in the net, its well…funny! Jesus laughing as He tells professional fishermen to do their job wrong and then the biggest catch they have ever seen had my kids and I roaring with laughter! 

Jonathan Roumie appears to know who he was playing, and feels the weight of it. Maybe that’s what’s been missing in many other actors performances. 

I’ve been reading the Bible for nearly 14 years. I listen to it and watch nearly everything I can showing it in film and TV. But this series is different…

I think The Chosen is the most important series ever made and during the most important time in history. If the global Church had any sense, they would throw in behind this in prayer and finance! 

2021 for One Door Cinema Club

Through 2021 we will be delving into more series, films and launching our Small Screen Series online events (still in production). We do have a plans to resume live events but are keeping an eye on that weird reality show called the news and will let us know when that’s possible! 

Stay Safe, Geek Out! 

Dave Brock

One Door Cinema Club

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