In this month's faith & family media news, NFL QB Russell Wilson executive-produces a new Freevee series about football at a Christian academy; HBO's The Gilded Age comes back in 2023; and PBS Masterpiece's All Creatures Great and Small returns in 2024.
Celebrating God. Family. Football.
Premiering Friday, Sept. 1 on Amazon Freevee, God. Family. Football. focuses on Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana. The school's Eagles football team was once a powerhouse, but now has fallen on hard times after going through a no-win season.
Pastor Denny Duron, a former Louisiana Tech and WFL player, comes out of retirement to lead the football program he founded (at the school his parents founded). The six-episode series follows the team as Duron leads them in sports and faith.
Russell Wilson, who left his longtime home with the Seattle Seahawks in early 2022 to lead the Denver Broncos, stepped in as executive producer of God. Family. Football. The show's title echoes the personal philosophy of Wilson, a very public Christian, husband, stepfather of one, and father of two (with a third on the way).
(BTW, Duron is 71, which makes him currently the same age as Pete Carroll, Wilson's former Seahawks coach -- until Carroll's birthday on Sept. 15, that is.)
"I can't even tell you what it means to have Russell Wilson involved," Duron shared with The Christian Post. "Russell really, really loves Jesus and is so open about his faith. My conversation with him just a couple of weeks ago was fire. I mean, he is so excited about this. I think he was more fired up than I was, honestly."
Wilson, an outspoken Christian, is co-signing coach Duron's "recipe for success: God, family and football."
"He said, 'I'm going to war with you guys," Duron continued. "'We're going to believe that God is going to use this to touch people's lives.' He was just really preaching."
"I got off of that phone call like: 'Man, God has really put this vision of God, family, football in Russell Wilson's heart. He's proud of the series; that makes us proud. He is just committed with everything that's within him to seeing this thing succeed," the minister and coach maintained.
Wilson said to The Christian Post:
"What drew me to this project and inspired me to help tell [the film's] story of teamwork, hard work, and discipline was coach Duron's faith-first approach to the game," the 34-year-old Super Bowl champion said.
"As the leader of Evangel Christian Academy, one of the top football programs in the country, coach Duron not only preaches but exemplifies what it means to be a winner on and off the field, and it is an honor to be able to share his lessons and legacy."
God. Family. Football. features lots of family stories -- especially sons of single mothers, both black and white, a Mexican QB with loving parents back home, and a neurodivergent teammate -- along with plenty of talk about God, brotherhood and never giving up.
It's produced in a family-friendly manner, without audible profanity (I noticed one bleeped-out in-game profanity) or suggestive content.
Suitable for middle-schoolers and up, God. Family. Football. might just fill that Friday Night Lights-shaped hole in your heart.
HBO's Saga of the Past Has a Future Airdate
After concluding its first season in March 2022, HBO's 19th-Century costume drama The Gilded Age finally returns on Sunday, Oct. 29, with eight new episodes. The series' creator, Catholic writer Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey, Belgravia), returns as a writer and executive producer.
The American Gilded Age was a period of immense economic change, of great conflict between the old ways and brand-new systems, and of huge fortunes made and lost. Season two of THE GILDED AGE begins on Easter morning, 1883, with the news that Bertha Russell’s (Carrie Coon) bid for a box at the Academy of Music has been rejected.
Through the eight episodes of the season, we watch as Bertha challenges Mrs. Astor (Donna Murphy) and the old system and works to not only gain a foothold in Society, but to potentially take a leading role in it.
George Russell (Morgan Spector) takes on his own battle with a growing union at his steel plant in Pittsburgh. In the Brook House, Marian (Louisa Jacobson) continues her journey to find her way in the world secretly teaching at a girls school while, much to everyone’s surprise, Ada (Cynthia Nixon) begins a new courtship.
Of course, Agnes (Christine Baranski) approves of none of it. In Brooklyn, the Scott family begins to heal from a shocking discovery, and Peggy (Denée Benton) taps into her activist spirit through her work with T. Thomas Fortune (Sullivan Jones) at the NY Globe.
WWII Looms as All Creatures Returns in 2024
Beloved of those looking for wholesome, warmhearted entertainment, All Creatures Great and Small returns for a fourth season on Sunday, Jan. 7. It's springtime of 1940 in rural Yorkshire, in the north of England, and newlywed Scottish veterinarian James and local farmer Helen face major decisions.
Returning to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, the fourth season of All Creatures Great and Small continues with timeless tales and heart-warming stories, picking up in springtime of 1940 with change on the horizon for everyone in Skeldale House.
James and Helen (Nicholas Ralph, Rachel Shenton) wonder when the right time might be to start a family, not knowing whether or not James will be called up to serve in the RAF. Tristan’s (Callum Woodhouse) absence is felt by all, but no one more than Siegfried (Samuel West) who attempts to hold the growing household, and himself, together as he braves this new world.
Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley) and Helen’s friendship blossoms as they look to the future and new trainee veterinary student Richard Carmody arrives, causing complications in the house.
James Anthony-Rose plays Carmody. Also joining the cast is Neve McIntosh as bookkeeper Miss Harbottle.
Here's a peek ahead:
Image: God. Family. Football/Photo: Freevee
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager at Family Theater Productions.