Hollywood has an interesting track record of portraying the supernatural. With the resurgence of spiritual, quasi bible-based content in film and television over the past year (aka “The Year of the Bible”), there have been serious attempts to recast the role of the supernatural within the industry. From the rock creatures in Aronofsky’s latest effort Noah to the humans imbued with angelic qualities in CW’s new The Messengers series, there is an obvious trend to revisit the “traditional” depiction of angels, demons, and the like.
The Messengers follows a group of strangers in the state of Texas who become connected by an event in which they inherit different angel-like abilities; hearing thoughts, healing, etc. Although they appear to be normal to the naked eye, they are shown as possessing wings by security cameras, bathroom mirrors, and reflections of car windows. The pilot episode begins to connect their destinies with a common purpose to warn the world and intervene with the insidious plot of an incarnate Lucifer character, played by Diogo Morgado. In fact, the term angelos in Greek as well as its Hebrew equivalent, malach, both mean “messenger.”
The focus on the humanity of these angel characters is what makes the story appealing, learning with them as they discover their abilities and interconnected purpose, a la NBC’s Heroes. However, this emphasis is not new. It is truly par for the course when considering how humanity has historically endeavored to wrestle with the unknown in spiritual imagery. One of the late founders of Jews for Jesus, Jhan Moskowitz, wrote a timely reflection on this issue back in 1997 that still poignantly speaks today. He stated, “What is missing from the screen is a portrayal of the special love that God has for us…Hollywood has rarely depicted an angel as one who was sent as a messenger from God to his creation to tell us that he loves us and expects something from us.” Take some time to read it here.