September 30, 2018

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere TV Review: “God Friended Me”



It’s not hard to figure out the target demographic for CBS’s GOD FRIENDED ME.  The Steven Lilien/Bryan Wynbrandt series appears to have been custom-stitched for those viewers who would have loved ABC’s Kevin (Probably) Saves the World if only it had been a little bit more urban.  So instead of a midwestern slacker, our hero this time is Miles (Brandon Micheal Hall, from The Mayor), an African-American New Yorker.  Miles is also an avowed atheist (he has a podcast and everything), although before the end of the pilot, we learn that his position isn’t philosophical or moral, but the result of a sad thing that happened to his family, which made him decide there can be no God, apparently because the millennia of sad things that happened to other people’s families didn’t quite do it for him.  Just so no one in the CBS audience worries too much about Miles’ atheism, he’s also conspicuously the son of a Reverend (Joe Morton, sorely in need of his Scandal writers), who’s more than ready to lead his son back to the light.

As the title suggests, Miles’ connection to the spiritual world is more high-tech than Kevin’s.  He gets repeated Friend requests from Someone who claims to be God, and when he finally clicks, he receives connections to people who seemingly have nothing to do with Miles or each other.  One of those is Cara (Violett Beane), an online reporter who happens to be looking for a story with a hook.  She starts following Miles around, and it soon becomes clear that like Kevin, Joan of Arcadia, and the guy from Early Edition, Miles is getting inside info on people whose lives can be saved, or who can be brought together to save others, or who can somehow be made happier.  The pieces magically come together so that seemingly random information from earlier in the episode proves crucial in whatever heavenly accomplishments Miles turns out to be aiding.

One’s ability to tolerate this stuff will be very much a factor of personal taste and beliefs.  In this quarter, God Friended Me‘s mix of glibly superficial skepticism and underlying contrived religiosity felt rather unbearable, despite the talented and likable cast.  Pilot director Marcos Siega, usually associated with darker dramas (You, The Following, The Vampire Diaries, Dexter) is blandly professional here, and Lilien and Wynbrandt methodically provide the crumbs to lead Miles to an inescapable conclusion that God not only exists, but is passionately engaged in the lives of mortals, working His wonders on a daily basis.

A CBS 8PM slot (on Sunday, no less) probably makes sense for this genre more than 10PM on ABC did, and there may well be an audience for God Friended Me.  Some of us, though, will stubbornly continue to click No.



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."