Joan of Arcadia: Season 1 (2003 - 2004)

SEASON:

Season 1
Joan of Arcadia

Critics Consensus

A plucky Amber Tamblyn shepherds viewers through a probing and thoughtful search for answers in Joan of Arcadia, a delightfully grounded take on divine intervention.

92%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 25

57%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8

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Episodes

Air date: Sep 26, 2003

In the pilot, spirited teen Joan Girardi (Amber Tamblyn) gets her first visit from God, who will be dropping in on her periodically. Why? "I need you to do some errands," says the Almighty. Joan's initial task is to get a job at a local bookstore, which won't be easy since the owner dislikes adolescents. Elsewhere, Joan's dad---who's also the police chief---puts his force on edge by leading the investigation into the rape and murder of an 18-year-old runaway. Will: Joe Mantegna.

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Air date: Oct 3, 2003

Joan heeds God's advice to stop squandering her potential by enrolling in an advanced-placement chemistry class. There, she's partnered with two of the school's biggest underachievers. Elsewhere, Will is frustrated when a murder trail goes cold due to an arson investigator's overly thorough examination of the crime scene; and Helen is eager for Kevin to get a car after he passes his driver's ed test. Kevin: Jason Ritter. Luke: Michael Welch. Det. Michael Daghlian: Erik Palladino.

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Air date: Oct 10, 2003

God takes the earthly form of a postal worker and delivers reading material to Joan for her next assignment, which is to join the school's chess club, a move that could prove detrimental to Joan's social status. Elsewhere, Will reluctantly works with a woman who uses ESP to help find missing people; and Kevin awakes from a dream so vivid it causes him to feel pain in his legs.

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Air date: Oct 17, 2003

Helen questions her daughter's sanity when, like Noah, Joan builds a boat; and Will faces second-guessing from his rank and file for refusing to connect the murder of one cop to the slaying of another within the same week. Meanwhile, Kevin (Jason Ritter) struggles with feelings of bitterness when he's encouraged to join a wheelchair-basketball team. Lt. Michael Daghlian: Erik Palladino. Adam: Christopher Marquette. Grace: Becky Wahlstrom. Luke: Michael Welch.

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Air date: Oct 24, 2003

Joan learns from God that she's holding a garage sale on Saturday, which doesn't leave her much time to sort through her family's unwanted belongings. Among the items she unearths are paintings created by Helen during a dark period in her life. Elsewhere, Will goes to bat for a rape victim even though the district attorney (John Getz) feels the case isn't strong enough. Also, Joan catches the interest of a class charmer and a newspaper job falls right into Kevin's lap. Adam: Chris Marquette.

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Air date: Oct 31, 2003

Joan gets a lesson in popularity when God tells her to try out for the cheerleading squad, and her efforts to impress two pom-pom girls pay off with an invite to hang out together outside of school. Meanwhile, Will's first case working with Det. Toni Williams (April Grace) involves an abandoned newborn left in a trash bin, presumably by a student from Arcadia High. Another story line has a classmate sensing a gay vibe in Luke. Michael Welch. Adam: Christopher Marquette. Brianna: Keri Lynn Pratt.

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Air date: Nov 7, 2003

God advises Joan to pay attention to behavior that may signal a person is having a problem. When she does, she ends up offering to help a stranger who needs a baby sitter for her son. This random act of kindness plays out while Will must decide if two policemen are guilty of using excessive force against a black motorist in a videotaped incident. Elsewhere, Helen meets secretly with Father Ken, who counsels her to be aware of the five stages of grief to help her cope with Kevin's paralysis.

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Air date: Nov 14, 2003

God's mysterious ways once again bewilder Joan, when He asks her to volunteer at the high-school art show, so that she can keep Adam Rove's sculpture from being exhibited. Elsewhere, Will feels pressure from the DA's office to call a man a hero after he shoots and kills a home intruder. Meanwhile, Kevin grows weary of receiving special treatment because he uses a wheelchair. Father Ken: David Burke. Gabe Fellowes: John Getz. Mayor Albert Dunbar: Richard Gilliland. Toni: April Grace.

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Air date: Nov 21, 2003

God wants Joan to score an "A" on a test about French saint Joan of Arc. As the teen hits the books, she draws comparisons to the life of the young heroine who claimed to hear divine voices and was burnt at the stake. Helen finds her daughter's newest obsession troublesome and urges Will to have the entire family visit a therapist. Meanwhile, Will is unjustly raked over the coals for shutting down a crack house. DA Gabe Fellowes: John Getz. Adam: Christopher Marquette.

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Air date: Dec 5, 2003

Each of the Girardis deal with crises of varying seriousness, the worst of which puts Will at the mercy of a crazed gunman (Evan Jones). The day also finds Helen reacting with mixed emotions after getting a positive result on a home-pregnancy test. Meanwhile, Joan dreads having to take her driver's exam, and Luke is presented with a major distraction just before he's supposed to compete in a high-stakes competition. Adam: Christopher Marquette. Friedman: Aaron Himelstein.

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Joan of Arcadia: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Critic Reviews for Joan of Arcadia Season 1

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (18)

If the series succeeds, as many impressed TV critics hope, it could be because the chosen Joan displays the right attitude.

Nov 21, 2018 | Full Review…

It's better, darker, more satisfyingly indirect and consciously architected than either of its overtly spiritualized predecessors.

Nov 20, 2018 | Full Review…

It has the most intriguing premise...by getting the divine right, Joan lays claim to being the year's best.

Nov 12, 2019 | Full Review…

The real miracle here is how deftly the show avoids the soggy cliches of redemption so many of its forerunners have embraced.

Nov 12, 2019 | Full Review…

It's all brought home with realism in the family relations and humor.

Nov 12, 2019 | Full Review…

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.

Nov 11, 2019 | Full Review…

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.

Nov 11, 2019 | Full Review…

Tamblyn in the title role is a great kid and, with veterans Mantegna and Steenburgen as her parents, she doesn't have to carry the show.

Oct 29, 2019 | Full Review…

It's oddly appealing, although whether the premise holds up remains to be seen.

Oct 29, 2019 | Full Review…

[Has] a hard edge and a savvy sense of humor that keeps the drama from ever feeling saccharine or sappy.

Oct 29, 2019 | Full Review…

Entertaining, thoughtful and with enough elements to appeal to virtually every member of a family, "Joan of Arcadia" is television that seems, well, heaven-sent.

May 3, 2019 | Full Review…

This show brings up the big questions -- who is God? What is our obligation to others? How do we know God's will? And it does all this in a surprisingly unpreachy and non-partisan way.

Nov 21, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Joan of Arcadia: Season 1

  • Jan 23, 2020
    Absolutely my most favorite tv series EVER! Great cat. Great themes, story lines, mesdage. Fabulois show!

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