You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘The Story of God With Morgan Freeman’

Host: Morgan Freeman

The Story of God With Morgan Freeman” is a very good title, marketing-wise, for a series that could have been called “Introduction to Religion” or “Belief” (as it was when OWN recently covered similar territory) or, less charitably, “Morgan Freeman Travels the World Asking the Big Questions on National Geographic Channel’s Dime.” Earnest but unlikely to change many hearts or minds, the project rather blandly leverages its celebrity quotient to milk six episodes out of the great mysteries.

“What is beyond death? How can any of us know?” Freeman asks in the opening hour, which deals with conceptions of what happens after we die. “I want to know how the afterlife first became part of religion,” he asks, and whoosh, it’s off to Egypt, to speak with religious experts.

And so it goes. Subsequent chapters are subtitled “End of Days,” “Creation,” “Who Is God?,” “Evil” and “Miracles.” Throughout the hours previewed, the actor exhibits an inquisitive mind and openness, doing more than just lending his voice (and the fact he played God in “Bruce Almighty”) to the exercise, as he visits 20 cities in seven countries.

At its core, though, the dutiful nature of “Story of God,” much like the Oprah Winfrey-produced-and-narrated “Belief,” makes Freeman’s journey a rather hollow one – or at least, not especially enlightening. Yes, we share a hunger for spirituality and for answers that lie beyond the grasp of science, but the mere fact a celebrity shares those questions doesn’t really advance the ball, other than to remind us that there are many different manifestations of faith – including, it should be noted, the absence of it.

In that respect, this is less an “event series,” as advertised, than a non-event series – another well-intentioned attempt to demonstrate what people share, despite their cultural differences, and designed to play across the globe.

Yet while that’s noble enough in theory, there’s also a bit of cynicism – or at the very least pragmatism – in channels like NatGeo (which is now more firmly under the stewardship of Fox) both getting religion and relying on star power to repackage great imponderables that have puzzled poets and pastors for millennia. From that perspective, “The Story of God” offers more insight into the earthbound business of television, frankly, than it does any higher power.

TV Review: 'The Story of God With Morgan Freeman'

(Series; National Geographic Channel, Sun. April 3, 9 p.m.)

Production: Produced by Revelations Entertainment.

Crew: Executive producers, Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary, James Younger. 60 MIN.

Cast: Host: Morgan Freeman

More TV

  • Amy Poehler Is Ready for a

    Amy Poehler Is Ready for a 'Parks and Rec' Reunion

    Is Amy Poehler just getting our hopes up? We hope not, because the funny lady tells Variety that she’s ready for a “Parks and Recreation” reunion. “I am technically available,” Poehler said on Monday at Smart Girls’ 10th anniversary celebration dinner. “I have like six of Leslie’s blazers in my closet, so anytime.” Related TV Review: [...]

  • Liz Meriwether Lake Bell

    Lake Bell, Liz Meriwether Comedy 'Bless This Mess' Moves From Fox to ABC With Series Order

    “Bless This Mess,” the single-camera comedy co-created by Lake Bell and Elizabeth Meriwether, has been ordered to series at ABC, Variety has learned. The series had previously been in contention at Fox and is a co-production between 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios. Bell also stars in the series alongside Dax Shepard. In the series, a [...]

  • 'Get Shorty' Renewed for Season 3

    'Get Shorty' Renewed for Season 3 at Epix

    Epix has renewed “Get Shorty” for Season 3. The loose adaptation of the 1990 Elmore Leonard novel and subsequent film stars Chris O’Dowd, Ray Romano, Lidio Porto, Megan Stevenson, Sean Bridgers, and Carolyn Dodd. In the series, O’Dowd plays a hitman from Nevada who struggles to shed his criminal past after he moves to Hollywood to [...]

  • Goliath Season 2 Amazon

    Amazon Renews 'Goliath' for Season 3

    Amazon has renewed legal drama “Goliath” for a third season. “Goliath” centers on washed-up lawyer Billy McBride, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who has one shot at redemption after a client he successfully defended from a murder charge went on to slaughter a family. Thornton won a Golden Globe for his performance in 2017. “Our [...]

  • Selena Quintanilla

    Selena Quintanilla Scripted Series Gets Greenlight at Netflix

    Netflix has ordered a scripted drama series based on the life of Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla. The series is described as a coming of age story following Selena as her dreams come true and all the heart-wrenching and life-changing choices she and her family have to make as they navigate success, family, and music. “Selena [...]

  • Detroiters Renewed Season 2 Comedy Central

    'Detroiters' Canceled at Comedy Central After Two Seasons

    Comedy Central has canceled its Motor City series “Detroiters” after two seasons. The scripted half-hour from Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video and Comedy Central Productions bowed in early 2017. Season two premiered in June. The buddy comedy was created by stars Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson along with “Saturday Night Live” veterans Zach Kanin and Joe [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content