I’ve been reading two versions of Joan of Arcadia: Season 3. You can find them here and here.
For background on where season 2 ended, see my post, Joan of Arcadia, Season 3.
These authors are not Barbara Hall, the creator of the program, but I’m beginning to feel as if I’m watching the show when I read their work. There are times when I’m moved to tears, or sitting on the edge of my seat in suspense (I had to pull myself from my computer last night to go to bed!). And there are a few scenes that don’t strike me as all that believable. But that’s how it was with the real series. I mean, the drunk driver who paralyzed Kevin is suing Kevin’s family for emotional damages? Things don’t work that way in real life, do they?
Both versions of season 3 are taking different routes. One is slow and gradual, and the other cuts to the chase really fast. The first presents the villain of the story slowly ingratiating himself into Joan’s social environment, thereby putting Joan in isolation. And the other has Joan’s friends and family deciding at the outset to unite against the villain. I’m interested to see what the latter version does in the course of the series.
WWBHD–What would Barbara Hall do? I think that she’d start out with the first version, but she’d gradually get to the second. The second season ended at a climax, but after a climax comes the mendacity of real life. I’d expect Joan to go through her day-to-day life of carrying out her usual assignments for God, as she encounters the villain every now and then.
But we still must have another climax. God told Joan at the end of season 2 that he was preparing her for a spiritual battle, and he implied that her goofy friends would be part of her army. Moreover, Joan’s mother, Helen, has been having visions, which her spiritual advisor Lilly calls a “charism” (“gift”) from God. God has been giving her those dreams for a reason, so it’s only logical that they’d be a part of Joan’s battle with evil, or amorality, or disappointment with God, or whatever the new villain represents. So I think the second version jumps the gun a bit, but he gets to the juice that I was thirsty for when I saw the last episode of the second season.
One thing I’m hoping is that the characters grow in the course of these stories, since it would be so easy to copy the stereotypes of the TV characters rather than developing them. The author of the second version seems to be sensitive to this issue, since he explicitly notes that Grace has grown. At one point, Grace was against everything, since she’s quite the anarchist! But she decides to join Joan in her spiritual battle because she believes in her.
So this is my new obsession! I’m going to write some of my paper right now so I can read an episode or two later tonight. And Desperate Housewives is taping in the other room!