Joan of Arcadia



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.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

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

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

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

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byGregg April 9, 2008
Adult Written bysoccerchick April 9, 2008

A Gotta See Show

If you are anybody you will watch this show! First of all, she talks to god which automatically makes a good story line. Great sense of humor, and wonderful. Joan (Amber Tamblyn) is not only pretty, but is a great actress. All her effort really paid off. John Ritters son who in this show became paralyzed from the waist down is witty. The father is a police man is very addicting to watch. The show has a very slight C.S.I. theme in it! Absolutley GREAT!
Adult Written byJulie Brusaw April 9, 2008


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass