The old age adage is to never judge a book by its cover. But in the case of the new CBS light drama, God Friended Me, the saying applied should be — never judge a series by its title (or premise).
Since it was first announced to the masses, God Friended Me has been the subject of some cynical criticism on social media. I’ll even admit, in the age of a Trump presidency and everything else that’s going on in the world right now, a show about God friending someone on Facebook may be the most 2018 thing ever — but it’s not what it seems.
Serving as a new age Touched By An Angel of sorts, what you may think is a preachy, cheesy drama about religion is actually still very cheesy at times, but it is a rather thoughtful, easygoing attempt at digging into what brings us all together.
The series stars The Mayor breakout Brandon Micheal Hall (one of the most promising newcomers in television in years) as Miles Finer, a staunch atheist whose life turns upside down when he receives a friend request from God on Facebook. The God account ends up connecting with a stranger and rising online journalist, Cara Bloom (Violett Beane), who after a bit of convincing, begins to help him investigate who is behind the God account, which continues to put him in situations and predicaments to help and better the lives of others, including Bloom’s.
The ever-charismatic Hall shines, showcasing his versatility from the comedy of The Mayor and proving why he’s one of the top new talents in the industry and one of the top actors on television as a whole. The show is bolstered by a strong supporting cast, with the standouts being the incomparable Joe Morton, as well The Life of Pi star Suraj Sharma, with the later portraying a perfect foil to Miles as his father who is a pastor. Javica Leslie is also promising as Miles’ sister.
Again, I’m not here to convince you to love the premise of the show, which does oddly suggest that people still poke each other on Facebook (or that millennials still use Facebook like that) while stringing together references that read like a what’s-what of today’s media space (such as viral pieces ensuring job security at online publications and the crowded podcast market).
But outside of that, God Friended Me is a light-hearted, feel-good drama that may just restore your faith in humanity..or at least it will try to. The show, like plenty of dramas this season (A Million Little Things, New Amsterdam, Manifest) will try to play on your emotions and God Friended Me is no different. From finding out Miles’ lack of faith is due to losing his mother to cancer to Cara’s pilot storyline of losing (then finding) her mother — God Friended Me wants you to feel all of the emotions.
So while I can’t exactly assert just yet that God Friended Me is the fall’s best new broadcast network series from just one episode, it is, however, the best pilot — and it deserves a chance. Don’t write it off! See for yourself.
God Friended Me premieres Sunday, September 30 at 9 p.m. on CBS