Sometimes when people ask me if I have seen a certain show, I reply “I don’t watch TV because I’m a Christian.” I’m being completely sarcastic, as there have been many shows that I have enjoyed immensely. My sarcasm is a reflection of how some Christians (rightly or wrongly) avoid TV as being worldly.
The church certainly has had a long and confusing relationship. Everything from boycotting to attempting to impose Christian values to producing Christian content. That is why, I very much enjoyed reading Watching TV Religiously by Kutter Callaway and Dean Batali.
This was such a good book and I was never bored with it. The first half of the book is about TV in general. It looks at how TV began, its evolution and the nuts and bolts of how an episode is written. Examples are taken from TV’s entire history, going back to shows such as the Honeymooners and the Mary Tyler Moore Show to Lost and the Game of Thrones.
The second half of the book begins to introduce concepts of theology and ethics. Traditionally, Christians have judged shows on the big three (sex, violence, language). While not ignoring those aspects, the authors go deeper by looking at both the aesthetics and worldviews being presented.
While some of the TV shows I was largely unfamiliar with, there were many that I had watched. This book helped me to see those stories in a new light. If nothing else, the book helps viewers to watch more thoughtfully.
If you have an interest in television and theology, I highly recommend Watching TV Religiously.