“God Friended Me,” in many respects, is an admirable attempt to make light of one of the most contentious and aggrieving subjects in the history of mankind – the existence of God. Unfortunately, the new CBS dramedy takes a somewhat novel idea and bogs it down in a mix of predictable plots, predictable characters, and trite tropes.
The plot revolves around a character names Miles (Brandon Micheal Hall) who is an outspoken atheist making a living as a part-time podcaster. He’s set in his beliefs until he gets a social media friend request from – you guessed it – God.
From there, the plot introduces a series of characters, all with hinted at backstories and potential for depth. This would be great if the pilot didn’t finish their character arcs. By the end of the first episode, every character’s major need is met in some way, resulting in a happy ending that doesn’t build up much intrigue into the characters.
This, also, results in an overstuffed pilot. Too many plots, characters, and ideas are introduced too soon. It’s hard to care about each of these character’s circumstances when they get minimal screen time to introduce another character, concept or discussion.
Regardless, the parts are well acted, especially Hall, who is able to play cynical without being unlikable. The other performances are admirable, but the characters are so underwritten that anything that happens to them feels trivial.
The idea is quality— a relatively unique take on a concept that has been (somewhat) done before. We’ve seen a similar concept in other shows like “Joan of Arcadia,” “Touched by an Angel” and “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World.”
But even the concept is hard to defend on a dramedy that is so void of laughs. The show doesn’t have the habit of shooting off bad jokes. Instead, it doesn’t offer many jokes at all. Near the beginning of the episode the jokes and banter are mixed in, but by the middle, it’s a slog through conventional and unenlightening dialogue and discussions.
“God Friended Me” has the potential to take off beyond the pilot, but with a relatively shallow script and underwritten characters, it might become a struggle to put your faith in it.