Review of Netflix Series "Messiah"
A Little About The Netflix Series Messiah
Netflix premiered an original TV series entitled Messiah on January 1, 2020 which has seemed to spark controversy among many. In short, the series is categorized as a thriller and summarized on Google review as “A CIA officer investigates a charismatic figure whose followers believe he can perform miracles; he may be a divine entity or a dangerous con artist.” While controversial, audience reviews suggest more people like this series than not. At the time of this published article, Google reports 92% of users voted a thumbs up and Rotten Tomatoes reports an average audience of 89% of viewers who rated the series 3.5 or higher.
In my opinion, I believe it is possible that those who are opposed to the series and are vocal about it online, were turned off by the title alone and have not viewed it in its entirety due to religious beliefs. There are quite a few comments that leave one to believe that any real controversy is fueled more by ignorance and has only started online religious debates of who the 'real' Messiah is.
It is important to take into account that this is a fictional piece of work and having viewed all of Season One I can say that I didn't find any real promotion of one religion over another. Keep in mind that while Christians await the RETURN of their Messiah, there are other religions still looking for theirs. This series shows the audience multiple points of views from around the world.
It is reported on Wikipedia that The Royal Film Commission of Jordan requested Netlflix to refrain from streaming the Messiah in the country due to the provocative matter and controversial religious content.
The Facebook Page Godvine shared an article from Crosswalk.com entitled” 4 Things You Should Know about Messiah, Netflix’s Controversial Series”. The article gives a short synopsis of the opening episodes of the series and let’s viewers know a few important things such as the rating of TV-MA; this is not family friendly. Alas, the comment section of the post also suggest to me that not everyone read the article nor have they viewed the series.
I was surprised to find that the Executive Producers of this series include Roma Downy and husband Mark Burnett. In case you don’t recognize those names, Roma Downy is widely known for her long-lived appearance on the TV Series Touched by an Angel along with other faith-based television and movie projects leaving viewers to assume that this series will take a Christian lead. Or will it?
Viewer Review and Reaction
I did not party my way into 2020. I woke up early and decided to spend the rest of my holiday ‘vegging out’ on my sofa as it was the last day of my winter vacation. I was curious about a brand-new series that premiered New Years Day. The title certainly caught my eye and after viewing the trailer, I admit I was skeptical because yes, I myself, am a believer in Jesus. However, the description clearly stated that this is a work of fiction and I was intrigued by the thought of “What If”. I decided to give it a try and ended up spending the entire day binge watching Messiah.
I don’t normally like to read subtitles and most of episode one is not in English, but I was so very interested to see where this story was going that I kept watching and eventually got used to the subtitles. With every episode you are left wondering whether this main character is intended to be a real messenger of God or just a really good con-artist out to start wars. I don’t want to give spoilers but I will tell you that every time you think you have it figured out, something else happens to change your mind. It makes for good TV. I do love a good mystery.
Throughout the series, a very determined CIA Agent and other government entities follow the main character across the globe. Every move is watched and recorded. At times during the series I would think, 'what has he done to justify this level of investigation?' and then other times I would wonder whether they were on to something.
The season ends on a huge cliff-hanger. Just when you think you’ve gotten this show figured out, you are left with a jaw dropping moment and the reality that you’ll have to wait until the next season premiers to know anything. The only thing that is going to spark controversy in me is if Netflix does not stream the next season of this show. Overall I thought it was a good mystery series and although there is no way for me to know where the writers will take this story, I am excited for the story to continue.
Sharing a Little Extra: Personal Thoughts
I categorized this series as a suspenseful mystery. The way the story unfolds leaves the viewer needing to know more. I would recommend you set aside an entire day for binge watching as it is definitely binge worthy, however, I am re-watching the series again slowly. I was so caught up on what will happen next that I'd like to go back and reflect a little more. Take time to ruminate on this subject over the year. As a Christian I've asked myself these questions:
- Would I recognize Jesus when he returns or turn him away so immediately?
- Would I be gullible enough to fall prey to a con or false prophet?
- Is it not like God to send a messenger beforehand?
I've decided that instead of partaking in any debates on the plot of Messiah or on religion at all, that I would take what I already have which is a relationship with God and pray that if there is ever a time that I need to hear a message that He would open the eyes of my heart to do so.