The Chosen One Season 1 Review – A gorgeous-looking adaptation lacking a little something

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: August 17, 2023
View all
The Chosen One Season 1 Review - A gorgeous-looking adaptation lacking a little something


Mark Millar’s comic fuels a strikingly shot second-coming-of-age drama that feels as much Stand by Me as it does your typical superpowered fare.

This review of the 2023 Netflix series The Chosen One Season 1 does not contain spoilers.

It seems all kids these days have superpowers, at least as far as film and TV are concerned. It was only recently that I opened my review of the Disney+ K-Drama Moving by explaining that special abilities have been a stand-in for adolescent anxiety since time immemorial. In this age of big-budget interconnected superheroic power fantasies from the likes of Marvel and DC, men in capes and tights are our new pantheon.

Famed comic book scribe Mark Millar is no stranger to the worlds and characters of the Big Two, but the Netflix adaptation of his and Peter Gross’s series American Jesus abandons the more outlandish leanings for a straight-up tale of the second coming. Here, the young boy at the center of the story isn’t a Messianic metaphor, but Christ himself – or at least near enough.

The Chosen One Season 1 review and plot summary

The Chosen One has little in common with Millar’s more well-known work, which includes movies like Wanted, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman. It doesn’t feel plucked from the pages of a graphic novel. Instead, it being shot on film in a 4:3 aspect ratio gives it an oddly sophisticated old movie quality, like something plucked from the archives of an enthusiast who’d wince at the idea of it one day being watched on someone’s smartphone.

And it feels, at least in the early going, like It or Stand By Me or The Railway Children, something about innocent young kids trying to find themselves while dodging the school bully, fantasizing about one day escaping the small town that hems them into mundanity. The story has been transplanted from the U.S. to Mexico, and its new arid desert setting feels even more oppressive. Aside from an opening in which ostensible messiah Jodie (Bobby Luhnow) escapes with his mother Sarah (Dianna Agron) from the violence of his father, summoning thunderstorms with his infant wails, The Chosen One is surprisingly content to have little of note happen.

In the present day Jodie is on pills that suppress his powers – though he doesn’t know that’s what they’re for – and spends his days with his friends Hipólito (Jorge Javier Arballo); Wagner (Alberto Pérez-Jácome); Tuka (Juanito Anguamea); and Magda (Lilith Curiel), on whom every boy in the gang is quietly nursing a crush. Outside of the pills and a suspicious medallion, there’s no reason for Jodie to believe he can turn water into wine and heal the sick.

As it happens, the relative scarcity of otherworldly shenanigans hardly matters, since the show is so beautiful, and the characters are so well-drawn and believably in cahoots. In fact, the early feints towards mythical monsters – the kids go hunting a siren – and cult horror are distracting from the very grounded, relatable drama underpinning everything.

Once Jodie’s powers are revealed, The Chosen One takes on a slightly different tone and style and trades some of its strong basis in character for a mystery that never quite matches up to the majesty suggested by the visuals.

Is The Chosen One Season 1 good or bad?

There’s an undeniable level of quality to The Chosen One. It looks so much better than any show about teenage superpowers needs to that it’s almost a detriment, creating the impression of an epic tale that it never quite becomes.

It makes up for that with its characters and their chemistry, though, and it’s an undeniable pleasure to spend some time going on little adventures with these kids. The unhurried pace of the early episodes pays dividends later when you realize how much you’ve come to care about these kids and their respective plights, which is more than you can say for most streaming dramas these days.

Is The Chosen One worth watching?

The Chosen One is an easy recommendation for anyone who misses those halcyon days of laidback adventure movies or those who would like a more grounded take on superpower stories. It takes a little while to get where it’s going, and even when it gets there you might feel it wasn’t entirely worth the effort, but if the journey matters more than the destination, what matters most is the company you keep along the way.

What did you think of the 2023 series The Chosen One Season 1? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.

Additional reading:

Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
View all