Joan of Arcadia TV Poster Image

Joan of Arcadia



God talks to a surly teen.
Parents recommend
  • Network: CBS
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2003

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.

Kids say

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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

Premiere date:September 26, 2003
Cast:Amber Tamblyn, Jason Ritter, Joe Mantegna, Mary Steenburgen
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming
Award:Common Sense Media Award

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Adult Written byGregg April 9, 2008
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008


Television is being redeemed! We love this show. It deals with social situations for teenagers, older youth, parents, and whole families. It shows how the smallest deed by a normal teeneger can cause a ripple effect of positive changes in many people's lives. Problems are lovingly dealth with and worked through. Joan is an example of a teenager who uses her brain, and her heart, to make decisions. Wonderful experience!
Adult Written bybrad2bad July 7, 2009

Joan learns to trust God and submit to His will - strange concept in today's world.

Joan experiences hardships doing as God asks but sees the good done in the end. She learns to trust God, submit to His will and submit her personal good for a better, higher good of another. Amazing!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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