Joan of Arcadia

Common Sense Media says

God talks to a surly teen.




Common Sense Media Award

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Joan hears the voice of God in many different races and sexes -- also, her brother is disabled. Nothing funny/nothing cruel.


No violence but a really grisly murder scene and body kicked off the show.

Not applicable

Normal teenage angst dinner table conversation -- sassy at times.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

None in the first episode.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this show features a surly teenager, a geeky younger brother, an angry older brother: All very familiar teen types and interactions. But Joan hears the voice of God coming from a "hottie" guy, a black cafeteria worker, etc. and it leads her -- against her desire -- to do something that ends up helping her brother. The grisly murder setups and the way God is portrayed may be upsetting or confusing for younger viewers.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

In JOAN OF ARCADIA, a high school teen finds herself talking to God in everyday situations such as the halls of her high school. In so doing many questions of God and faith come up between her and her friends. Her geeky science-loving younger brother believes in God and says that science proves it's so; there's also a sassy sister and a brother in a wheelchair who is angry at losing his mobility due to a car accident. Joan's parents are played by Joe Mantegna and Mary Steenburgen.

Is it any good?


This show brings up the big questions -- who is God? What is our obligation to others? How do we know God's will? And it does all this in a surprisingly unpreachy and non-partisan way. But it might offend some who have concrete ideas of who God is and how God talks to us or irritate those who don't believe in God at all. These audiences probably should not watch.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what kids think of portraying God this way. Do you think it's important to try to help others? What do you think about fate, purpose and interconnection?

TV details

Cast:Amber Tamblyn, Jason Ritter, Joe Mantegna, Mary Steenburgen
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming
Award:Common Sense Media Award

This review of Joan of Arcadia was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byJoAFreak April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Love it...

Love JoA. It's obvious. Just absolutely love it. CBS was insane to cancel it. It brings a new perspective to the meaning of God. ~~JoAFreak
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Adult Written byGregg April 9, 2008


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