Joan of Arcadia

Joan of Arcadia

Infobox Television
show_name =Joan of Arcadia

caption ="Joan of Arcadia" intertitle
format =Drama
runtime =approx. 45 min.
creator =Barbara Hall
executive_producer =Barbara Hall
starring ="see below"
opentheme ="One of Us"
country =United States
network =CBS
first_aired =September 26,2003
last_aired =April 22,2005
num_seasons =2
num_episodes =45
imdb_id =0367345
tv_com_id =17466
website =

"Joan of Arcadia" is an American television fantasy/family drama, which originally aired on Fridays, 8-9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS from September 26,2003 until April 22,2005. It is shown in syndication with episodes airing in high definition on HDNet, as well as Friday evenings on The Sci-Fi Channel.

On initial release, the show was a favorite with 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 alludes to Joan of Arc while Arcadia is a fictional city in Maryland. Joan of Arcadia still films on CBS on high definition on HDNet.


*Amber Tamblyn as Joan Girardi
*Joe Mantegna as Will Girardi
*Mary Steenburgen as Helen Girardi
*Jason Ritter as Kevin Girardi
*Michael Welch as Luke Girardi
*Chris Marquette as Adam Rove
*Becky Wahlstrom as Grace Polk

Guest Cast

*Hilary Duff as Dylan Samuels (1 Episode)

Recurring 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 summer psychiatric camp."
*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"
*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, also Kevin's girlfriend.

Incarnations of God

Some of the many incarnations included:
*Juliette Goglia - commonly referred to as Little Girl God
*Kathryn Joosten - commonly referred to as Mrs. Landinggod after Joosten's recurring role on 'The West Wing" as Mrs. Landingham
*Russ Tamblyn actress Amber Tamblyn's father - commonly referred to as Dog Walker God
*Kris Lemche - commonly referred to as Cute Guy God
*Jeffrey Licon - commonly referred to as Goth God
*Keaton Tyndall and Kylie Tyndall- commonly referred to as Twin Girl God


*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


"Joan of Arcadia" is about teenager Joan Girardi (played by Amber Tamblyn), who sees and speaks with God. God appears 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 always end up positively improving a larger situation.

One of the more obvious effects of Joan's actions occurs when she 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 that 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, finds the alcohol and expels him. In his anger, the boy threatens the chief of police (Joan's father) with a handgun, and he is then arrested. Joan later finds out from God that, while this turn of events seems rather bleak, it was the lesser of two evils--without Joan's actions, he would have shot over a dozen students and teachers with a handgun, before turning the gun on himself. (Note: this ending is noticably more direct than most episodes, since it is the only time God comments so clearly on "what would have happened" rather than primarily allowing events to speak for themselves.)

The series starred actors Joe Mantegna and Mary Steenburgen as Joan's parents Will and Helen, Jason Ritter as her paraplegic older brother Kevin, and Michael Welch as her younger brother Luke. The family relationships and plot situations were written more realistically than other shows with spiritual themes. [cite journal |last=Binns |first=John |year=2004 |month=September |title=For God's Sake |journal="TV Zone" |issue=180 |pages=42–45 |accessdate=2008-06-29 |quote=Like "Joan of Arcadia" and unlike "Touched By An Angel", "Quantum Leap" feels more like a drama in which God plays a role, rather than a piece of religious instruction in dramatic form.] Various story-lines that spanned multiple episodes dealt with the consequences of Kevin's accident, Will's job as a police officer, Helen's career as an art teacher, and Luke's aspirations to be a scientist. No specific mention of any "true" religion is ever made, and God quotes Bob Dylan, Emily Dickinson and the Beatles rather than any scripture or verses.

Christopher Marquette also stars as Adam Rove, a close friend of Joan's who has an on-and-off romantic relationship with her. Another of Joan's best friends is Grace Polk, played by Becky Wahlstrom.

Theme Song

The opening credits roll with the song "One of Us" by Joan Osborne, a hit single in the United States from 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" (repeated)This was not the original version of the song, but was re-recorded by Osborne (with a noticeably less rough quality) specifically for the 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).


Scenes of Arcadia's skyline and other outdoor scenes were actually the city of Wilmington, Delaware. Arcadia itself is set in Maryland.

Reception and cancellation

"Joan of Arcadia" debuted on the heels of "Touched by an Angel", which had ended its nine-year run in April 2003.

While "Joan of Arcadia" was one of the highest rated new shows of the 2003-2004 TV season, its ratings declined in the second season, 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. Near the end of the second season, a menacing character was introduced to the series, an amoral "tempter", seemingly destined to cause a significant amount of conflict in the show's characters. The show's cancellation left that premise unexplored.

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.Fact|date=January 2008 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 Americans who felt that their entertainment tastes and demands were being completely ignored.Fact|date=January 2008 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. Fans also questioned the decision to air it on Friday evenings when the desired demographic segment is smaller than on other nights.Fact|date=January 2008 "Ghost Whisperer" took over the show's Friday time slot in September 2005.

After the show's cancellation, props such as pieces of Adam's artwork and Joan's signature messenger bag and costume pieces belonging to cast members were sold on eBay. Grace's trademark leather jacket was not included as the jacket was brought in by actress Becky Wahlstrom from her own teenage years. [ [ Buying TV Show Clothing Props ] ]


Season 1: 2003-2004


External links

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