A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Answered Prayers is a faith-based reality series profiling people who believe God intervened to help them in times of great need. Stories are generally told from a Christian perspective, and characters talk about angels, inner voices, and "the Lord" working in mysterious ways. The reenactments and actual footage aren't graphic per se but can be intense, with explosions, serious injuries, some blood, and tragedies involving young children.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Hosted by Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel), ANSWERED PRAYERS shares inspirational stories of hope, faith, and divine intervention, as told by the people who experienced these things firsthand. Each episode recounts two tales via a blend of interviews, actual footage, and dramatic reenactments, from a family that survived a devastating tornado to a boy who lost his leg but learned to walk again.
Is it any good?
Whether you side with those featured on the show and believe that God had a hand in answering their prayers or prefer to view it all as happenstance, it's hard to deny the inspiring outcomes of these harrowing personal stories. The production values, albeit cheesy at times, are surprisingly effective, and parents will find the tragedies involving young children particularly affecting. But the show's heavy-handed message -- including an ethereally lit Downey's closing plea to "Please keep believing" -- could be a turnoff for viewers who don't self-identify as Christian.
Of course, this isn't the first time Downey and her husband, Mark Burnett, have teamed up to deliver religious-themed programming for the masses (see also The Bible, Son of God, A.D.: The Bible Continues, and The Dovekeepers), but it's the first time they've tried mixing reality TV and religion. And why not? Based on the success of their other ventures, there's obviously an audience to support it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Answered Prayers' message about religion and whether it leaves any room for skepticism. What type of viewer is the show targeting, and how can you tell? How would you rate its appeal to a general audience?
Do you believe in God and the power of prayer? What purpose does prayer serve for the faithful? If a higher power actually exists, how do we explain the existence of tragedy and suffering, particularly when it effects good people?
How does Answered Prayers compare to other types of "testimonial" shows on television? Though the basic format is familiar, does it do anything differently?
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