Plenty of cable channels love to program for Christmas, but Lent and Easter are usually reserved for sketchy Christian-themed documentaries of questionable accuracy, and the occasional faith-centric movie, special or miniseries.
Also, it's usually the season for ABC to air the iconic 1956 Cecil B. DeMille movie The Ten Commandments, but, strangely, the network hasn't announced an airdate for it this year. It is available in a new Blu-ray DVD edition, and on Amazon Prime Video.
NOTE: As it turns out, ABC did air The Ten Commandments on April 4, the eve of Palm Sunday and Holy Week. Good to know the tradition continues!
For the last several years, though, cablenet UPtv rolls out a programming event over the weekends of Palm Sunday and Easter. UPtv also has a sister streaming service, UP Faith & Family, which is having an Easter Lives Here offering.
NOTE: If you don't have UPtv on your cable system, just about all of these films are available on other streaming services or even YouTube. I've linked a couple of times to places where an entire film can be viewed. If you click on each film's title, it will take you to the IMDB page, if there is one, which should list streaming availability, or to another site with info. You can also Google a film's title, and at the top of the search results, you will often see links to streaming services.
Courtesy of the inbox, here are the schedule for both UPtv and UP Faith & Family for 2020.
UP Faith & Family Streaming Service Programming:
* The Passion: A Brickfilm: The short film accurately portrays the story of Jesus’ death and Resurrection through the eyes of LEGO® characters.
* Resurrection: A Max Lucado Story: Claudius, a Roman guard, finds himself in the middle of a cover-up regarding the tumultuous events following Christ’s execution. As he investigates further, he discovers the religious leaders and even his closest friends have secrets.
* Resurrection Trial: This drama portrays the events that followed the death and Resurrection of Jesus as if they happened in modern times. Anxious government leaders see a new movement rising called Christianity and fear their hold on the people is being threatened.
* An Encounter with the Messiah: A modern-day adaptation of the stories of Barabbas, Blind Bartimaeus and the Woman with the Issue of Blood. This film focuses on healing and life-changing power of Jesus.
* Come Unto Me: Young Samuel and little Mary are on the run from Roman soldiers and trying to survive, when they meet a kind woman and her son, Jesus, and their lives are changed forever.
* The Christ Slayer: Follows the Passion story of Jesus from a unique viewpoint, as we follow the actions and interactions of Longinus, the Roman soldier who put the spear to Jesus' side on the Cross.
UPtv EASTER SCHEDULE
* In-Lawfully Yours: (CABLE PREMIERE) A fun-loving woman from New York City moves to a small town to help her recently widowed ex-mother-in-law. Her personality clashes with the locals, and when she goes public with her new relationship with the pastor, the town rallies to kick her out. Stars: Chelsey Crisp, Marilu Henner, Joe Williamson, Corbin Bernsen, Phillip Boyd.
Premieres: Easter Sunday, April 12 at 7 p.m. ET/PT and 11 p.m. ET/PT
* War Room: A seemingly perfect family looks to fix its problems with the help of Miss Clara, an older wiser woman. Stars: Priscilla C. Shirer, T.C. Stallings, Karen Abercrombie.
Airdate: Palm Sunday, April 5 at 4:30 p.m. ET/PT; Holy Saturday, April 11 at 6 p.m. ET/PT
* God’s Not Dead: A college professor’s curriculum is challenged by a student determined to prove that God does exist. Stars: Shane Harper, David A.R. White, Dean Cain.
Airdate: Palm Sunday, April 5 at 12 p.m. ET/PT; Holy Saturday, April 11 at 6 p.m. ET/PT
* The Passion of the Christ: Produced and directed by Mel Gibson, it's a powerful depiction of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, on the day of his arrest, torture and crucifixion. Stars: Jim Caviezel, Monica Bellucci. Click here for the whole thing on YouTube.
Airdate: Palm Sunday, April 5 at 7 p.m. ET/PT; Good Friday, April 10 at 9 & 11 p.m. ET/PT
* Heaven is For Real – After a near-death experience, a young boy, Colton, claims to have visited heaven. Skeptical at first, his father starts to believe when Colton starts to speak about events he could not possibly know about. Now, his father must find the courage and conviction to share his son’s extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. Stars: Greg Kinnear, Thomas Haden Church. Based on a true story and a New York Times #1 bestseller.
Airdate: Holy Saturday, April 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT
BONUS: THE CHOSEN
And, of course, what could be better than watching The Chosen this Lent and Eastertide? Click here to learn more about the crowdfunded TV series depicting events in the life of Christ (Jonathan Roumie) from the perspective of those who knew Him. Many episodes are also available on YouTube.
Image: Icon Productions
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Manager and blog editor at Family Theater Productions.