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Joan of Arcadia - S02 E12

Fantasy . Drama . Mystery . Sci-Fi & Fantasy
 

Despite everyone's protests, Joan allows her snobby, Ivy League-educated guidance counselor to advise her against applying to college. However, after Joan relays her plans to Roger, an engaging college student on the campus she's visiting, he tells her that college is attainable and persuades her to hire him as a tutor. Meanwhile, Adam becomes jealous of Joan's rapport with Roger; Will sees a dark side of Lucy; Helen questions her commitment to Catholicism, and Beth finds it difficult to resume a relationship with the wheelchair-bound Kevin.

 
Episode Title: Game Theory
Airs: 2005-01-7 at 08:00 pm
  • Jonathan Storm

    The best that the new season has to offer, an elegantly written, splendidly acted, spiritual and moving family drama. [25 Sept 2003, p.D01]

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    This is a series that was completely unexpected, and Hall has hard-and-fast rules about what Joan and God can do. She's not making up the story arcs on the fly, which gives confidence that this unusual creation is in good hands. [25 Sept 2003, p.E1]

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    An intelligent and supremely entertaining meditation on the nature of faith...Neither Touched by an Angel nor Bruce Almighty, Joan of Arcadia manages to be wry, spellbinding and theologically challenging all at once. [26 Sept 2003, p.6E]

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    Joan of Arcadia is smart, entertaining and never heavy-handed, one of the season's best. [26 Sept 2003, p.E8]

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Mark Dawidziak

    Amber Tamblyn (yes, she's the daughter of "Twin Peaks" star Russ Tamblyn) shines in the title role. Her Joan is a delightful adolescent mix of hope, doubt, joy, anger, anxiety, yearning and skepticism...Viewers searching for a promising new drama will do no better this season than Joan of Arcadia, which walks that tricky line of being spiritual without becoming preachy, touching without turning treacly, humorous without going for the cheap jokes. [26 Sept 2003, p.E1]

    Cleveland Plain Dealer Full Review
  • Hal Boedeker

    In Joan of Arcadia, the inspiration creeps up on you, the plot pieces fall effortlessly into place. This miraculous drama is the one new show not to miss. [26 Sept 2003, p.E1]

    Orlando Sentinel Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    If you like family dramas ...If you like cop shows ...If you like fantasy series ...If you like quality programs with complex characters, intelligent dialogue and a unique point of view, then you need to get acquainted with Joan of Arcadia, the best new broadcast series of the season. [26 Sept 2003, p.41]

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Melanie McFarland

    I know it doesn't sound too cool, but really, it's great - not at all obvious like "Touched by an Angel," and far more intelligent... Everyone in this cast is nothing short of brilliant, but Tamblyn's really the one that glows. She's believably snarky in her secret interactions with what may or may not be God; she's well aware she could be crazy. [26 Sept 2003, p.E1]

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Aaron Barnhart

    The most promising new network show of the year...One part family drama, one part crime drama, one part internal metaphysical whatever, Joan of Arcadia draws us immediately into its slightly off-kilter universe. [26 Sept 2003]

    Kansas City Star Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    Joan of Arcadia is one of the fall season's finest new dramas. It's a show whose charms defy easy description, even after you've seen a couple of episodes -- which is a plus. The story, as well as Amber Tamblyn's portrayal of Joan, is so compelling you'll be hooked. [26 Sept 2003, p.1E]

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    The thought and care Hall has put into her premise carries over to the casting. Every choice is near ideal, starting with the remarkable Amber Tamblyn, who is so fabulously right as Joan, and including Joe Mantegna and Mary Steenburgen as her parents and Michael Welch and Jason Ritter (son of the late John Ritter) as her brothers. [26 Sept 2003, p.1E]

    USA Today Full Review
  • Mike McDaniel

    If handled as carefully as the pilot, Joan of Arcadia promises to be the most intriguing show of the season. [26 Sept 2003, p.1]

    Houston Chronicle Full Review
  • Manuel Mendoza

    Beneath the humor, Joan is a dark, daring drama with the guts to explore what God might be thinking. [26 Sept 2003, p.1E]

    Dallas Morning News Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    The only real sin of "Joan" so far is the presence of Joe Mantegna as Joan's police chief father. Mantegna, as always, is great, but his presence in what should be a small role apparently freaked out someone at CBS. So Hall tries to give him more to do by devoting a good chunk of each episode to unrelated crime stories - very mediocre ones, at that. [26 Sept 2003, p.57]

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    It is an odd and intriguing look at crime scenes, forensic labs and interrogation rooms as a backdrop to the family crises and growing pains of an unhappy teenage girl.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    The real miracle here is how deftly the show avoids the soggy cliches of redemption so many of its forerunners have embraced. [26 Sept 2003, p.E1]

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Staff [Not Credited]

    Exec producer James Hayman understands the importance of understatement, portraying God with a light touch but a solemn purpose. Equally important, he smoothly shifts the story's tone, going from dark and menacing to wryly skeptical, as the story dictates. [26 Sept 2003]

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Scott D. Pierce

    Certainly one of the more intriguing new shows of the year. [26 Sept 2003, p.C08]

    Deseret News Full Review
  • David Zurawik

    But Joan of Arcadia has one other thing none of these had - a hard edge and a savvy sense of humor that keeps the drama from ever feeling saccharine or sappy. [26 Sept 2003, p.1E]

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Steve Johnson

    It's all brought home with realism in the family relations and humor. [26 Sept 2003, p.C1]

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Terry Kelleher

    Joe Mantegna and Mary Steenburgen are fine as Joan's parents, but the series shouldn't go out of its way to play up the dad's role as small-city police chief. Keep the emphasis on God's plan, not man's law.

    People Weekly Full Review
  • Adam Buckman

    God only knows where they're going with this. The producers have made Joan's father the police chief of the small city of Arcadia, but I'm praying that CBS won't turn the Almighty into some sort of cosmic crime fighter...Whatever happens, I'm inclined to give Joan of Arcadia the benefit of the doubt. [26 Sept 2003, p.122]

    New York Post Full Review
  • Mike Duffy

    It's a fascinating, leap of faith start. [26 Sept 2003, p.8E]

    Detroit Free Press Full Review
  • Phil Rosenthal

    A success in that it exceeds expectations. It sets up the challenging premise that God -- in the personage of a hunky classmate, a cafeteria worker or who knows what -- might ask us to do things for reasons we can't immediately comprehend, and successfully straddles the razor-thin line between sacrilege and sacred. [26 Sept 2003, p.53]

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    [Joan is] the most extraordinarily average teen to crop up on a TV show in years--yet after a few episodes, you realize you would watch her story even if God stopped showing up.

    Time Full Review
  • Noel Holston

    A sentimental new series whose flaws are fairly easy to forgive. [26 Sept 2003, p.B03]

    Newsday Full Review
  • David Bianculli

    The gimmick sounds dreadful. The series is anything but. It's actually one of the best and smartest new series of the season, and could survive just fine, on its acting and characters, even if the divine-intervention plot were removed. [26 Sept 2003, p.126]

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    The show's setup has some charm, especially since Joan's reactions are anything but beatific. [26 Sept 2003, p.D4]

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    [A] mechanically contrived show ... [but] it sure can be cozy, and cozy tends to get better ratings than clever.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Devin Gordon

    Dialing back the cop stuff, or cutting it out entirely, would make Joan of Arcadia more cohesive and more fun. But it wouldn't help the fact that it's on the wrong network. [22 Sept 2003, p.85]

    Newsweek Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    A mixed bag both creatively and conceptually. [24 Sept 2003, p.2]

    Variety Full Review
  • John Doyle

    It's a strange blend of piety and precious family drama. [26 Sept 2003, p.R2]

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Tom Shales

    Joan of Arcadia may mean well, and it showcases a charming new star, but the premiere suggests viewers are being asked to wade heart-deep into a drearily portentous muddle. [26 Sept 2003, p.C01]

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Preston Turegano

    In its premiere, Joan of Arcadia comes off fragmented and aimless. [26 Sept 2003, p.E-11]

    San Diego Union-Tribune Full Review
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