The Chosen celebrates Christmas -- again; Martin Scorsese resurrects the history of a lost classic in his childhood church; and All Creatures Great and Small returns to PBS ... eventually.
Christmas With The Chosen
On Sunday, Sept. 26, The Chosen director and producer Dallas Jenkins did a livestream for fans from the headquarters of the show's distributor, Angel Studios, in Utah -- not far from the Jerusalem set the show used in season two (more on that here).
He revealed that filming on a second Christmas special is currently underway in Utah. Like last year's inaugural special, it features monologues from the cast and musical performances.
Said Jenkins: "We've got a Christmas special this year that is off the hook.... We've got so many amazing bands that we've been shooting on the set."
Among the Christian musicians Jenkins mentioned were For King & Country, Phil Wickham, the Bonner Family, Jordan Feliz, Maverick City Music, We the Kingdom, and Catholic Matt Maher.
Last year, the special aired as a simulcast on the social-media channels for The Chosen and on its dedicated app, then also on BYUtv, TBN and UPtv.
It's a fair bet that this year's show will again be on all The Chosen social networks and app, but no word yet on any cable networks -- or an airdate.
Here's last year's show:
A Lost (and Found) Oratorio
On Friday, Nov. 5, from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT (check local listings for time and channel in your area), PBS presents a documentary and a concert film that marks an almost-lost moment in operatic history.
The Oratorio: A Documentary With Martin Scorsese reveals the story of how Italian opera arrived in America, with a one-night-only performance in 1826 at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, Scorsese's childhood parish in New York's Little Italy.
Among the characters are Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart's librettist, who was banished from Vienna and wound up working as a grocer in New York; Haitian-born freed slave and successful hairdresser Pierre Toussaint, a primary benefactor in building the church (also, Pope John Paul II declared him Venerable in 1996); and Spanish opera diva Maria Malibran.
Interviewees include current parishioners Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan.
Immediately following the documentary is Da Ponte's Oratorio: a Concert for New York, in which Italian opera company Teatro Lirico di Cagliari performs the restaged concert. With music including Cimarosa, Zingarelli, Haydn, Handel and Arne, the 2018 concert recreates as closely as possible the 1826 original.
Both will stream simultaneously with the broadcast and be available on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video app, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO.
All Creatures Teases With a New Trailer
When it premiered back in January on PBS' Masterpiece, the reboot of the classic series All Creatures Great and Small was a pleasant revelation.
As I wrote at the time:
Not only does it respect the original source material -- James Herriot's (real name Alf Wright) novels, inspired by his experiences as a veterinarian in northern England -- but it holds up well against the first TV adaptation, which ran in the late '70s and again in the late '80s.
Set against the harsh but rugged beauty of northern England, All Creatures Great and Small has drama, warmth, lots of animals and (blessedly chaste) romance. I watched all seven episodes, radar up for any attempt to "modernize" the story and bring in values and ideas that would have been antithetical to the spirit of the original.
Happy to report that producer Colin Callender, writer Ben Vanstone and director Brian Percival have made use of a lavish budget to update the look of the story while sacrificing none of its authenticity and charm.
Well, All Creatures Great and Small is officially coming back ... in Winter 2022.
For now, we'll have to make do with this delightful trailer and hope that season 2 stays right on track:
Image: Courtesy Angel Studios
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager at Family Theater Productions.