Joan of Arcadia

Joan of Arcadia is an American television fantasy/family drama which aired on Fridays, 8-9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS from 2003 until 2005.

On initial release, the show was a favorite with the critics and won the prestigious Humanitas Prize, the People's Choice Award, as well as being one of the few television shows to be nominated for an Emmy Award in the first season, for Best Dramatic Series. The title is a word-play on Joan of Arc. The "Arcadia" of the title is the fictional city of Arcadia.

Premise
Joan of Arcadia is about a teenage girl, Joan Girardi (played by Amber Tamblyn), who sees and speaks with God in the form of various people such as small children, teenage boys, elderly ladies, transients, passers by, etc. Joan is asked by God to perform tasks that often appear to be trivial or contrary, but the end result of which is always positive towards a larger situation.

An example is when Joan is asked to take a reclusive bully to the school dance. While both her mother and the assistant principal object, Joan follows through with God's task. At the dance it is revealed the bully has a bottle of alcohol with him but Joan convinces him not to open it. Despite this the assistant principal later reaches into his jacket and, finding the alcohol, expels him. Joan later finds out from God that while this turn of events seems rather bleak, it was the lesser of two evils: in an alternate timeline where he went alone to the dance, he got drunk and shot over a dozen students and teachers with a handgun he had also taken, before turning the gun on himself.

In other episodes, the effects of Joan's actions are not as obvious.

The opening credits roll with the song "One Of Us" by Joan Osborne, a hit single in the United States off her 1995 album Relish:

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

This was not the original version of the song. It was re-recorded by Osborne (with a noticeably less rough quality) specifically for this television show. To fit the lyrics of the song, Joan first meets God as a teenage boy riding to school on the bus with her (although they don't actually speak to each other at the time).

It starred actors Joe Mantegna and Mary Steenburgen as Joan's parents, Jason Ritter (son of John Ritter) as her paraplegic older brother, and Michael Welch as her younger brother.

While the show was one of the highest rated new shows of the 2003-2004 TV season, its ratings declined in its sophomore year in spite of continued critical acclaim. The show was cancelled by CBS on May 18, 2005. Only two episodes from the second season were repeated by CBS: "No Future" and "The Rise and Fall of Joan Girardi." The network pulled any remaining reruns from its schedule.

Several online fan sites were created in response, in an effort to have the show reinstated. While in its first season it had a wide variety of fans demographically, its controversial cancellation, along with other similar moves in the media, such as cancellations of Third Watch, American Dreams, and Judging Amy, produced an outcry from many older Americans who feel that their entertainment tastes and demands were being completely ignored. Many fans believe that the network meddled with the show in the second season in an attempt to attract younger viewers, but only succeeded in alienating some of its audience. They also question the decision to air it on Friday evenings when the desired demographic segment is smaller than on other nights. Despite their efforts, Ghost Whisperer took over the show's Friday time slot in September 2005.

Major cast

* Amber Tamblyn as Joan Girardi
* Joe Mantegna as Will Girardi - Joan's father
* Mary Steenburgen as Helen Girardi - Joan's mother
* Jason Ritter as Kevin Girardi - Joan's older brother, partially paralyzed in a car accident
* Michael Welch as Luke Girardi - Joan's younger brother
* Chris Marquette as Adam Rove - Joan's friend/boyfriend
* Becky Wahlstrom as Grace Polk - Joan's friend

Minor cast

* Aaron Himelstein as Friedman - Luke's best friend
* Mageina Tovah as Glynis Figliola - Luke's friend and one-time girlfriend
* Sprague Grayden as Judith Montgomery - Joan's friend from the mental institution.
* Mark Totty as Detective Carlisle - Will Girardi's junk food addicted partner on the Arcadia Police Department.
* Elaine Hendrix as Ms. Lischak - Chemistry and Physics teacher
* Patrick Fabian as Gavin Price - Assistant Principal, Arcadia High School
* Annie Potts as Lucy Preston - Lieutenant, Arcadia Police Department
* Derek Morgan as Roy Roebuck - Arcadia Police Department
* Juliette Goglia as one of many who have played an incarnation of 'God' (commonly referred to as Little Girl God)
* Russ Tamblyn (Amber's father) as one of many who have played an incarnation of 'God' (commonly referred to as Dog Walker God)
* Kris Lemche as one of many who have played an incarnation of 'God' (commonly referred to as Cute Guy God)
* Wentworth Miller as Ryan Hunter - a young, charming dot com millionaire who also talks to God, but with his own sinister agenda. Introduced at the end of Season Two in the episode Common Thread it was planned for him to be a recurring character in the third season.
* David Burke as Fr. Ken Mallory - Helen's friend and pastor of a nearby church.
* Constance Zimmer as Sister Lilly Watters, a former nun who helps advise Helen Girardi.

Crew

* Barbara Hall, Executive Producer
* Jim Hayman, Executive Producer
* Stephen Nathan, Executive Producer
* Hart Hanson, Consulting Producer
* Peter Schindler, Co-Executive Producer
* Randy Anderson, Co-Executive Producer

Trivia

* In a 2002 episode of The Twilight Zone, Amber Tamblyn (as "Jenna") is sent to a place called "Arcadia" as a punishment for being a nonconformist.
* Scenes of Arcadia's skyline and other outdoor scenes were actually the city of Wilmington, Delaware. Arcadia itself is set in Maryland, although it does not appear to be an exact cognate of Arcadia, Maryland.
* After CBS announced the show's cancellation, an effort to keep the show going, both online and through mail, was started. However, it was unsuccessful.
* The actors playing Joan's parents, Joe Mantegna and Mary Steenburgen, coincidentally have the same names as the earthly parents of Jesus Christ.
* Props, such as pieces of Adam's artwork and Joan's signature messenger bag, and costume pieces belonging to Amber Tamblyn and other cast members were sold on eBay after the show's cancellation.
* Grace's trademark leather jacket was brought in by actress Becky Wahlstrom from her own teenage years.

Episodes

Season 1: 2003-2004
01 Pilot
02 The Fire and the Wood
03 Touch Move
04 The Boat
05 Just Say No
06 Bringeth It On
07 Death Be Not Whatever
08 The Devil Made Me Do It
09 St. Joan
10 Drive, He Said
11 The Uncertainty Principle
12 Jump
13 Recreation
14 State of Grace
15 Night Without Stars
16 Double Dutch
17 No Bad Guy
18 Requiem for a Third Grade Ashtray
19 Do The Math
20 Anonymous
21 Vanity, Thy Name Is Human
22 The Gift
23 Silence

Season 2: 2004-2005
01 Only Connect
02 Out of Sight
03 Back to the Garden
04 The Cat
05 The Election
06 Wealth of Nations
07 P.O.V.
08 Friday Night
09 No Future
10 The Book of Questions
11 Dive
12 Game Theory
13 Queen of the Zombies
14 The Rise and Fall of Joan Girardi
15 Romancing the Joan
16 Independence Day
17 Shadows and Light
18 Secret Service
19 Trial and Error
20 Spring Cleaning
21 Common Thread
22 Something Wicked This Way Comes

credit to wikipedia

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