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Joan of Arcadia: The First Season

4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Amber Tamblyn, Joe Mantegna, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Ritter, Michael Welch
  • Directors: Alan Myerson, David Petrarca, Elodie Keene, Helen Shaver, Jack Bender
  • Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: CBS
  • Release Date: May 10 2005
  • Run Time: 1028 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007TKHKC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,526 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

After patriarch Will gets a job as the chief of police, the Girardi family moves to the small town of Arcadia from the big city. Middle child Joan isn't happy, and her family, consisting of science nerd Luke, paralyzed former jock Kevin, and their perpetually flustered mother Helen, isn't helping. Joan finds herself talking to God, in the form of random people who give her assignments to help the people around her. Joan keeps following God's assignments, never sure if she's really speaking to him, or just going crazy!

Once in awhile a show comes along that breaks the mold. Most such programs fail, but Joan of Arcadia set out to do something new, beat the odds, and found an audience. Created by Barbara Hall (Judging Amy), it’s a unique hybrid of My So-Called Life, The Commish, and--well, something different. Unlike CBS predecessor Touched by an Angel, faith creates more questions than answers (and God even has a sense of humor).

Joan (Amber Tamblyn) is an ordinary 16-year-old. Father Will (Joe Mantegna) is the local Arcadia police chief, mother Helen (Mary Steenburgen) is a teacher/administrator, younger brother Luke (Michael Welch) is a fellow student, and older brother Kevin (Jason Ritter, son of John Ritter) is a high school graduate who was paralyzed the year before. He used to be popular and athletic. Now he watches TV and builds models. In the pilot, God speaks to Joan for the first time, as a cute boy, and asks her to get a job. Once she's convinced He's really God, she does. Her action inspires Kevin to get one, too, and his process of rejoining the world begins.

As in Joan Osborne’s theme song, "One of Us" (featured on two episodes), God will continue to appear to Joan in a variety of guises--even as a dog walker who looks like Russ Tamblyn (Amber's father). He’ll often ask her to do things that make her uncomfortable, but she'll always learn from the experience and some good will always come from it. Unfortunately, she isn't able to talk to anyone about this or they'd think she was crazy, not even friends Grace (Becky Hahlstrom) or Adam (Christopher Marquette). By the season finale, faith will be replaced by doubt, setting the scene for the second season, in which Joan’s faith will be restored. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Bruce on May 19 2005
Format: DVD
Joan of Arcadia is an incredible show that keeps you wanting to come back every week ! Each episode makes you laugh, angry, cry ... all in one emotions ... there's always a lesson learned and in this day and age, we all need a little reminder at times of what's good and what's not. I'm disappointed that the show is being cancelled after 2 seasons .. we need more of these types of shows on the air. There are far too many Reality Shows occupying good TV space ... someone needs to relook at what is put on the air!
Joan of Arcadia ROCKS!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lavesta Gal on Aug. 11 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had seen quite a few of these episodes when this show was first on TV but I had missed the pilot and some of the first episodes. Watching it in sequence made so much more sense. This series is extremely well-written with several ongoing plots, and the overall message is very uplifting. I watched this with my 14 year old nephew and he loved it too. When several of my friends found out I had the series, they asked to borrow the DVDs. This has been an excellent purchase and will get a lot of play!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laurie on Aug. 31 2005
Format: DVD
Always something new to be seen with each viewing. Great quality tv. Believeble charcters that teens can relate to. When will season 2 be out?
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Format: DVD
A stunning achievement that truly should have lived for one more season. This thought-provoking show pushed at the boundaries of faith in God. At the same time, it was poignant and funny, a contemporary family drama with real, flawed, empathetic characters in gritty, real-life situations.

Perhaps the show was ahead of its time. Or perhaps the show's creator (undoubtedly a lapsed Catholic) was unprepared to go to the next level - exploring the interplay between good and evil, as expressed through a 17 year old California teenager. Nevertheless, Joan of Arcadia is an exceptional show - attempting to make the divine more personal; the unbelievable possible; the spiritual real.

God cares. He's involved. He knows things we don't but when he lets us see what he sees, it's pretty amazing! And humbling. And makes you want to know him better.

Even if you believe in nothing at all, this is an interesting and entertaining show that deals with human and family issues in fresh, provocative ways.

Nothing currently on network TV even comes close - in quality, depth, imagination and exploring the intriguing possibilities of a life lived in sync with God.

Buy both seasons. Dare your teenagers to watch it. You will both be glad you did.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 225 reviews
168 of 176 people found the following review helpful
The best written and acted tv series since Angel and Buffy March 15 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: DVD
This was one of the finest television series on the air. The writing was superb, the characters were believable, and the storylines were to die for.

If you loved the Touched by an Angel series, you will enjoy this one.

The main character, a high school girl named Joan talks to God all day every day as she sorts through the pains of growing up. What I love about this show is that God appears as every single race, color, creed and religion - from a middle aged chess player to a Gothic punk rocker. Joan never knows what God will look like, but has blind faith God is always there.

I also love that she does not always appreciate the advice she is given and gets annoyed with God from time to time. I can relate to not liking the answer I get to my prayers. I don't always get what I ask for. But I always get what I need. Just like Joan.
56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Joan of Arcadia, sophisticated, witty, Feb. 21 2005
By Rumi - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An entirely believable 16 year old girl with an entirely believable family, warts and all. The program handles complexity with great sophistication, often letting complex issues stay unresolved, forcing the viewer to reach her/his own conclusions. Manages to be spiritual without being theological; avoids confusing religion with spirituality. A definite viewpoint about God is here, without any attempt to proselytize. The best program I have ever watched dealing with spirituality. All the main characters are fine actors and the interactions with Joan's family and friends are witty, occasionally sad, always asking profound questions.
117 of 124 people found the following review helpful
Currently, one of the best shows on TV Feb. 20 2005
By Patricia Huerta - Published on
Format: DVD
This show is certainly different from what we see on TV. The formula may be typical, but the approach to this theme is very original. Although it deals with Joan (Amber Tamblyn) talking to God, not everything is sweet and pink. Tragedy occurs, her family has to live with many ordeals in order to stay togethes. She can even be considered insane at some point because "talking" to God does not provide alla the answers needed. I fact sometimes it's confusing. The acting is very good, and the story very promising, so it's not a surprise that it has been a very popular show when TV is being ambushed by "reality" shows. I think Joan of Arcadia is here for the long run so if you haven't seen it, this is your chance to enjoy a very good show, and if you already see it, you can certainly enjoy them again.

I can't rate the contents of the DVD yet but I hope it's full of extras!
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Thanks for Season 2! Now what about the unseen episodes of Season 3? Nov. 22 2005
By Victor W. Chapman - Published on
Format: DVD
Good Friday, 2010. I'm updating the review below to thank the producers for finally releasing Season @ of Joan of Arcadia. I'm also asking them to release all episodes of Season 3 that were in the can, but never shown.

At the end of Season 2, a Satan or Mephistopheles figure was introduced, and a detailed preview of his havoc in the first episode of Season 3. The preview was detailed enough to show that least one Season 3 episode had been completed. I suspect and hope there are more. Whatever is there, I think we should all ask CBS to please release it. Even if it's only one episode, CBS could make a full release by including it in a batch of many unseen episodes of suddenly canceled shows that, in retrospect, should have been kept. I'd buy it, wouldn't you?

Here's the original review I wrote, demanding release of the second season and praising the show for the incredible gifts it gave and continues to give.

Joan of Arcadia, as many others have noted, engages issues of faith, ethics, and life with intelligence and passion. A few viewers have panned it in comparison with "Touched by an Angel" and "The Waltons," or even on the basis of Ms Tamblyn's looks. The raves, which I am joining, always point out the humor, the excellent writing, the superb acting, the deep engagement that went into each show. I've seen the first season repeatedly, and each time I look, I find new levels of meaning to grip my mind and spirit.

I am also blessed in having many of the Second Seaason's shows on tape. Contrary to the statements of one reviewer, the Second Season actually builds on and widens the spiritual questing charted by the first. The show grows organically, right along with Joan and her family and friends, as they deal with with deeper and often more life-or-death choices. Never has spirituality been made so real on television.


I was truly angry when this show was cancelled. But the refusal to release Season Two is even worse. If it were released, I'd be buying copies not just for myself, but for friends and family. The show is that good, and the network is doubly foolish if it continues to ignore the easy money to be made here.
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful transfers, good where's the music? May 13 2005
By Cubist - Published on
Format: DVD
Since 9/11 it's no secret that people have been anxious, asking questions and feeling unsafe. They have been looking for something comforting and the TV show Joan of Arcadia came along to fulfill this need. In some respects, it is the My So Called Life for the new Millennium. Both shows feature a young, teenage girl as the protagonist dealing with the trials and tribulations of growing up: boys, doing well in school, trying to have some semblance of a social life and, oh yeah, talking to God.

If you read the fine print on the back of the box, you will notice that some of the show's music has been changed. Apparently, they couldn't secure the rights to music by Avril Lavigne, Sinead O'Connor, The White Stripes and others. This is a glaring omission and one that takes away from the enjoyment of these episodes.

On the first disc is an audio commentary for the "Pilot" episode by the show's creator, Barbara Hall and episode director James Hayman. This is a chatty, engaging track as Hayman focuses on the more technical aspects while Hall talks about the show's themes.

There are five deleted scenes that include Will laying down the law with a subordinate in the "Pilot" and Joan butting heads with Principal Price in "The Fire and the Wood."

The second disc features three deleted scenes with Joan and her mom having a heart-to-heart in "Just Say No." There is more of Kevin getting sick of the special treatment he receives because of his wheelchair in "The Devil Made Me Do It" that just feels redundant.

The third disc features an audio commentary on "Jump" by Hall, Hayman and writer Hart Hanson. Hall points out that the early episodes establish what God can and can't do while Hanson talks about his script and the changes it underwent.

There are four deleted scenes that include Will meeting more resistance from a bureaucrat in "St. Joan" and an uncomfortable moment between Luke and Glynis in "The Uncertainty Principle."

On the fourth disc there is an audio commentary on "Recreation" by the Girardi family: Amber Tamblyn, Mary Steenburgen, Michael Welch, Jason Ritter and Joe Mantegna. This is something of a let-down as they spend the entire track joking around with each other and commenting on how different they looked back then.

There are two deleted scenes that include Joan standing up to Principal Price in "Double Dutch."

The fifth DVD features three deleted scenes with Kevin screwing up at work and then facing the ramifications of it in "No Bad Guy."

The sixth disc features an audio commentary on "The Gift" by writers Tom Garrigus, David Grae, Joy Gregory and Stephen Nathan. They point out that this is the episode where the Joan-Adam relationship peaks and that they wanted to examine the whole teen sex issue in a non-cliché way.

Hall and Hayman return for the audio commentary on "Silence." They deliver another strong track explaining their intentions with this episode. These two are the guiding creative forces on the show and speak very eloquently about it.

"The Creation of Joan of Arcadia" takes a look at how the show came together. The idea for it came to Hall while working on Judging Amy as contemporary take on Joan of Arc.

"Joan of Arcadia - A Look at Season One" is a substantial 18-minute overview. Hall talks about how she picked the show's writers and goes through the casting of the Girardi family and the actors talk about their characters.

"God Gallery" takes us through six reoccurring incarnations of God in the first season, identifies who plays them and why God looks like them. This is an enjoyable extra that provides insight into the casting of God.

Finally, there are two deleted scenes that feature little bits of business between characters that was rightly cut.

At times, like My So Called Life, Joan of Arcadia gets a little too touchy feely liberal for its own good but, surprisingly, it doesn't try to ram religion down our throats. Ultimately, the show deals with human frailties and notions of tolerance and compassion in a compelling and entertaining way that is comforting in these dark and uncertain times.