Joan of Arcadia tek's rating:

Joan of Arcadia, on CBS
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Caution: potential spoilers.

I'm not quite sure if this should be in the supernatural or quirky category, it's kinda both. But anyway, it's about this 16-year-old girl named Joan Girardi (Amber Tamblyn). God has started appearing to her and telling her to do things. He appears to her as different people all the time. This takes some getting used to. But while God's assignments exasperate and confuse Joan, and don't seem to make much sense at the time, eventually their purpose becomes clear. Why has God chosen Joan to talk to? Maybe he just thought it'd make for a clever pun, but my theory is that she's a convenient sort of hub of possibilities... that her seemingly insignificant actions can produce astonishingly big, important results, as well as more personal ones. I've always been fond of that kind of game, and of course God's the best at it.

Um... otherwise, I should mention that her father, Will (Joe Mantegna), is the new police chief of Arcadia. He does a pretty good job, and is very unpopular with the mostly crooked local politicos because of it. Eventually he gets fired when the police department is absorbed into the sheriff's office, where he becomes a detective. He has some friends on the force who help him, but it's still a dangerous game for all of them. Joan's mother, Helen (Mary Steenburgen), works at Joan's high school. She's an artist, but she worked a sort of secretarial or advisory type position, or something. Later she became an art teacher, though. And Joan has an older brother, Kevin (Jason Ritter), who's been a paraplegic since an accident a year ago; he gets a job as a fact checker at a newspaper, and he and his editor, Rebecca, develop feelings for each other. Joan and Kevin have a younger brother, Luke, who's a science geek, and kind of funny, I guess. And Joan has a couple of odd friends in her AP Chem class. One is Adam Rove, an artist with whom Joan (who he calls Jane) will develop a sort of complicated relationship. Eventually they kiss, but later he dates a girl named Iris, but later they break up and he gets together with Joan. Another friend is Grace Polk, who's rather antisocial and stuff, but Luke develops a crush on her, but nothing came of that (until the very end of the last episode of the first season). Meanwhile, he dated a girl named Glynnis for awhile. Luke also has a friend named Friedman, who's mostly just annoying and kind of chauvinistic.

At the end of the first season, Joan gets sick, and the possibility is presented that all her experiences with God had been hallucinations induced by Lyme Disease. But in the second season, God again begins appearing to her. So there are always new tasks for Joan, but of course there's also always regular stuff going on. Such as an ironic lawsuit against Kevin, and an ultimately tragic storyline involving Judith (Sprague Grayden), another friend of Joan's. And toward the end of the season, Joan meets a guy named Ryan Hunter (Wentworth Miller), to whom God also speaks. However, Ryan's attitude about God isn't quite the same as Joan's, and his motivations may be darker. This sets up a possibly more intense and complicated direction for Joan's future missions, on which she might have received help from her friends and family. So, the first two seasons were merely practice, getting her ready for what was yet to come. And as great as those seasons were, the future probably would have been much more interesting. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after those two seasons, so we never get to see what was in store.

Anyway. It really was a very charming and clever show, full of quirky humor and serious drama, with some great characters and stories. I can't tell you how much I wish it would've continued, but at least what we got was highly enjoyable.

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