Showtime's 'Revelation': Who's excited for a scripted drama about...religion?

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 39 percent of Americans say they attend religious services at least once a week, and 58 percent say they pray at least once a day. But we don't see a ton of religious practice on television; the most openly devout fictional family on prime time now is probably the Simpsons (or maybe the Henricksons). So color me excited for Revelation, Showtime's upcoming drama about an "unconventional minister" and his teenage kids, who relocate to Texas following his wife's death.

I'd be pumped for anything from David Janollari and Craig Wright — their mutual previous credit is Six Feet Under, so I trust them to create a thoughtful, unique family drama. But I'm particularly excited to see some religiosity play out on TV because I think it's underexplored — most religious people aren't 7th Heaven's Camden family, you know? I remember seeing the pilot for Friday Night Lights and being so struck by scene where the Panthers say a prayer with the pee wee kids. I can't remember seeing other characters pray on TV before, and it obviously stuck with me.

(skip ahead to 3:15)

I don't feel a huge need to have my beliefs reflected on television or held by my favorite characters, nor would I particularly seek out proselytizing. But drama comes from high stakes — hence all the cop and doctor shows — and faith, your position in a chaotic universe, an ultimate set of values or eternal choices, an idea of what comes before and what comes after? What's higher stakes than that?

Are you with me, PopWatchers? Do you wish more shows approached religion or had religious characters? And are you excited for Revelation?

Comments (17 total) Add your comment
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  • AK

    What’s been frustrating as a viewer has been the way that religion has been approached by television. Any time producers have tried to make it interesting television (flawed characters, real problems, etc.), this has incurred the wrath of powerful religious lobbying groups. Remember the show “The Book of Daniel” a couple of years back? (You probably don’t.) This seemed like a really promising show, but it withered on the vine because the main character was (God forbid!) a minister with a pill addiction. When you said we weren’t all the Camdens, you hit it right on the head. So why are we expected to behave that way on television (at least in the context of religion)?

  • Neal

    I agree with AK and believe that it will be impossible for any “non-religious” producer/director to correctly depict true religious actions. Sure people of faith are not perfect, but neither do they stray the way TV has shown. True faith NEEDS to be shown, because faith is the ONLY true way to bring hope.

  • CJ

    Very excited for this show. With Wright & Janollari, I expect a show that doesn’t isn’t afraid to ask hard questions and isn’t looking for easy answers. Kudos to Showtime for greenlighting this project.

  • bunker

    Desperate Housewives has touched on religion a few times, mainly with Bree’s storylines. One episodes theme was asking God for things, and another had Lynette taking her family to Bree’s church. But as for a show centered on religion, as long as its good I’ll watch, even though I don’t consider myself a religious person.

  • Max Benesi

    Big Love addresses religion (albeit a more obscure religioin) in every episode. In fact, one could argue that the entire concept of the show is based on religion. This show sounds like it could have a lot in common with Big Love, and if it’s nearly half as good I’ll be tuning in.

  • Max Benesi

    This won’t be the first show on TV, Cable even that is about religioin- The entire concept of Big Love is steeply based in a religion. I in fact find myself learning something about the Mormon religion every time I tune in. Sure, I find a good portion of it offensive, but I still learn. This show sounds like it could have a lot in common, possibly too much, with Big Love. If, however, it’s even a fraction as good I will most definitely be tuning in.

  • Max Benesi

    This won’t be the first show on TV, Cable even that is about religioin- The entire concept of Big Love is steeply based in a religion. I in fact find myself learning something about the Mormon religion every time I tune in. Sure, I find a good portion of it offensive, but I still learn. This show sounds like it could have a lot in common, possibly too much, with Big Love. If, however, it’s even a fraction as good I will most definitely be tuning in.

  • AK

    Hm, Neal, I think we’re actually on opposite ends of the spectrum on this one. I’d like to see more flawed portrayals of religion on television; people struggle with their faith in real life, so why not in art? I think others mentioning “Big Love” is a perfect example. Barb’s story lines last season touched on this and were some of the best ever on the show.

  • Neil

    I’ll take my high stakes, chaotic universe, and ultimate and eternal values in the form of the Whedonverse, please.

  • Rebecca Jill

    They’ve shown the characters in “Friday Night Lights” a lot in church.

  • Nancy

    Yes, I would have to agree. It is about time to have some religious based,drama on T.V. One of the few shows out there that I really enjoyed watching was “Friday Night Lights”. Not because I’m a football or sports fan,or to see another dysfunctional family going through the teenage years. No,it was the religious undertones that I picked up on right away. Sure it was fictional..But faith,and religion were fictional to me until I became a believer. As in real life, we all struggle with good and evil.I’d like to see some good on T.V.

  • ks

    Battle star Galactica
    mono theism vs poly theism.

  • BeaneEBoy

    Totally agree, 100%

  • KM

    This sounds exactly like Everwood except with a minister instead of a doctor.

  • Lori

    What about Saving Grace? Yes, it’s a cop show with a lot of cussin’, drinkin’ and fornicatin’, but Grace has her own angel, for Pete’s sake! And he’s trying to get her to accept God, who loves her even with (or because of?) her flaws.
    And hey, when’s Revelation starting?

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