It’s 1:40 am
After watching the last movie we watched and reviewed,the cheetah suggested we drift back into something a little kinder and gentler and I couldn’t have agreed more.
I said we should review the “The Stranger” TV series which was based on the ““The Perfect Stranger”” films we have already written about. Paladin agreed and so we are and better yet,so are you!!
After Kelly’s Filmworks filmed and distributed the first two “Perfect Stranger” films to unexpected critical acclaim and strong sales,they decided to try to make a TV series based on the films with Jefferson Moore as Jesus popping up when he was needed.
Because this was a wholly independent production,the budget for “The Stranger” is extremely limited. There would be no action or high priced special effects like on “Highway to Heaven” or “Touched By An Angel”.
No,The Stranger would be small set pieces where Jesus would interact with that episode’s guest and talk about faith,salvation,the importance of family,if God exists.
Kelly Filmwork’s has taken a page from Jack Webb and Woody Allen and uses a small core of actors in different parts in each episode. The actors for the most part are not professionally trained but are more often then not members of the church where Kelly and Jefferson Moore attend. So while maybe the acting isn’t polished,it does come from the heart and that really helps when watching this series.
“The Stranger” filmed only seven episodes,I not sure if it was budget woes or the inability to find a TV home that ended production so early. But the seven episodes produced are a interesting mixed bag with some episodes being better then others.
A lot of thing has to do with the film crew itself as they were learning as they went along. This is way a few episodes weren’t quite as smooth as some of the others.
The titles of the episodes are based on several encounters or parables that Jesus told during his time on earth. While the episodes are only 30 minutes apiece,one of the best best and right things that Jefferson Moore did right is not wrap things up in a pretty bow and glow,while it may appear that the person the Jesus talks to may have taken that first step forward,there is no guarantee what the future will be for each one.
“The Stranger” did try for a bit of melodrama once,in the episode “The Prodigal Son”,what appears to be Satan shows up and attempts to keep the main character hooked on drugs and even giving the downtrodden man a bottle full of pills. Since this was the only time this happened,its unclear if it was a one time “tryout” or would the Devil pop up in later episodes? I think it would have been a distraction as the dynamic of the 1 on 1 would have been lost and I’m not sure the little acting troupe could have handled doing any real dramatics.
The two best episodes in our opinion were “Mary and Martha”,a tale that has Jesus visiting a struggling diner in Alabama in order to show two sisters that while working hard is a good thing,taking time off to praise God is also important. His wise words help start to heal the relationship between the two sisters. He also spends time sitting at his table to talk with other folks throughout the day.
The strongest episode is “Thomas” about a radio talk show host who has nothing but disdain for God and his followers. When he issues a “challenge” that Jesus call the station and answer questions,he gets his wish and we find out just why the host is so angry and bitter. You can imagine this wasn’t a easy or comfortable watch for me because I could relate to the man on many levels. The episode is a great example of what “The Stranger” could have been.
So did the cheetah and I enjoy “The Stranger”? Yeah,we did. The first two “Perfect Stranger” movies were done very well,the third one was terrible and we will not be looking at that one. In the case of Kelly’s Filmworks,we’re rather stay positive!
“The Stranger” ran for 7 episodes and would be rated “G”. There are no special features
on the DVD release.
You can buy the series by going to Kelly’s Filmworks.
We gave this little series a thumbs/paw up.
What do you think of faith based movies and TV shows? Are they too “Hollywood” now or can a small indie company like “Kelly’s Filmworks” carve out a niche in the market?
Leave a comment below,we love to hear from you.