Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

2012 TV forecast: Faith and inspiration on the rise. The new TV season has barely begun but the TV networks are already underway in their efforts to find hits for the 2012-2011 season. And, thanks largely to the recent success of faith-based films, several similarly-themed TV projects are in the works. Here’s the network-by-network breakdown of the more promising offerings (culled from the overall Futon Critic development lists):

ABC

Hallelujah – Originally part of this season’s development slate, the faith-themed musical is reportedly being redeveloped for next season. From Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives), it’s the story of a town caught in the battle between good and evil (set to rousing gospel music performed by the church choir).

Stronger –  A drama about the spiritual journey of a musician/teacher and how that journey leads him to help others. TV Guide reports that the show is loosely-based on the life of bestselling author and Pastor Rob Bell (Love Wins) who is writing the pilot with Carlton Cuse (Lost). The pair will also executive produce.

CBS

Maybe Angels- Described as a “legal drama about two angels about two angels who help their former spouses.”

Sleepers – A woman has the gift of helping people who are “caught somewhere between life and death.”

Untitled Aaron Kaplan/Jeff Rake project –  A female detective finds she can communicate with the victims of the murders she investigates.

Untitled Aaron Kaplan/Laura McCorkindale/Niels Mueller project – Described as a “drama about an ordinary man making an extraordinary impact on people’s lives.” (A little vague as a description, I know. Still, it sound like it fits into the inspirational genre.)

The CW

Beauty & the Beast – A revival of the 1980’s TV series starring  Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman in the title roles.  If it catches the tone of the original (before it went off the rails following Hamilton’s departure), it could be a real winner as a drama about looking beyond appearances and experiencing genuine love.

Deadman – Based on DC comic book, a murdered man who comes back to search for his own killer, in the process, inhabiting the bodies of people who he helps through their own personal crises. It done right, the concept holds promise.

Fox

Second Chances – A drama about a female surgeon who must cope with fact that she survived a car crash that killed her best friend.

Lifetime

Untitled Martha Williamson project – From the maker of  Touched by an Angel comes a drama about a hospital chaplain.

NBC

Friday Night Dinner – Based on a British show, it’s described as a  comedy “about a traditional, but not strictly observant, Jewish family and chronicles their Shabbat dinners.”

Syfy

The Adjustment Bureau – Based on the 2011 Matt Damon movie which, itself, was based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, it follows agents of an otherworldly organization as they seek to ensure that people’s lives follow the plan of the mysterious Chairman.  Some people considered the film faith-based in that it explored themes of free will and predestination. The critic at FaithFlix.TV loved it but Anthony Sacramone at Strange Herring was far less impressed. I, myself, didn’t see the film and, of course, a series could strike an entirely different tone than the movie. So, how good would a show be? I have no idea.

TNT

The Order – A drama about an archeologist exploring digs in Israel , as well questions about faith and meaning.

Untitled Mitch Albom project – From the author of Tuesday’s with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven comes a drama about a Detroit radio station manager determined to try and breathe new life into his struggling city.

How many of these shows will actually get on the air? And, if they do, will they be good and succeed? Stay tuned.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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