If I told you I had a Christian television series to recommend to you, I wouldn’t blame you for bristling. After all, the phrase “faith-based entertainment” conjures up images of the two dozen God’s Not Dead films or the endless Left Behind reboots.

Christian movies and series have a bad reputation for a reason. They’re terrible because they sacrifice storytelling and artistry for earnest, over-simplified portrayals of faith. Shoestring budgets are the norm as well, which doesn’t help.

It’s rare these days for any Christian intellectual property to hit the marks for both sincerity and artistic excellence, but one show has done so, and it has become a phenomenon as a result.

The Chosen has made some ambitious plans. With two seasons already under its belt and plans for up to seven in total, The Chosen attempts to tell the story of the ministry of Jesus in a way that’s theologically correct and beautifully made. Its writers, producers, filmmakers, and cast have truly produced something that Christians can be proud to watch and nonbelievers can even find interesting.

Let’s start with Jonathan Roumie’s portrayal of Jesus. Roumie’s Jesus isn’t some blissed out, wide eyed cult leader who walks five feet off the ground. On The Chosen, Jesus is compassionate, relatable, and even funny.

Supporting characters are equally compelling. The disciples make for interesting cases of students learning from their rabbi. Roman occupiers and Jewish leaders become fascinating foils. And I’ll say without spoilers that Nicodemus in the show’s first season will break your heart. My favorite supporting performer on the entire series is Elizabeth Tabish, who plays – well, you’ll have to watch the first episode to discover her identity.

The writing on The Chosen is second to none. It’s fun to watch a familiar account from the gospels unfold, especially because sometimes you know what’s about to happen and sometimes it’s a surprise. The dialogue rings true, and the cinematography makes the most of locations in Texas and Utah.

What’s one of the most impressive things about The Chosen? It’s completely crowd-funded by generous fans who rave about the show and want to see it thrive. The producers don’t skip on excellence because they lack funds; rather, they’re able to create the best show possible because its backers believe in what they’re funding.

The level of excellence that The Chosen achieves leads me to another point, one I’ve made many times. Why don’t we see more Christian entertainment like this? Why don’t we see believers creating art that uplifts and entertains but is done well?

For far too long, too many Christians have settled for cheesy movies, cheap series, and subpar music simply because it mentions Jesus enough times or has pat Biblical messages. But as believers in and followers of an immensely creative God, shouldn’t our art that honors him reflect His creativity? Shouldn’t Christian artists follow the example of The Chosen and create projects that are compelling, beautiful, and worth watching?

The answer is yes. The Chosen should serve as both a lesson and an inspiration to Christian artists of any kind.