Among the 2017 crop of Amazon Prime pilots up for vote by subscribers is “Oasis,” which posits the question: Do we need God in outer space?
Obviously, asking whether God exists in space is silly for Catholics and all other orthodox Christians. God IS existence itself. And Christ, being God, would also be everywhere (ditto the Holy Spirit). But the question of how God might manifest on alien worlds is interesting, and that’s the one up for grabs in this intriguing one-hour drama.
Richard Madden of “Game of Thrones” fame stars as Peter Leigh, a Scotsman in London in 2032, when Earth is in pretty tough shape. Peter is, too, since his beloved wife, who brought him to Christian faith, is dying. Shortly after she checks out through assisted (by Peter) suicide, he accepts an invitation from a mysterious mogul to be a chaplain on Oasis, his more-or-less Earthlike colony world.
NOTE: Many reviews, and even characters in “Oasis,” refer to Peter as a “priest.” He does don a Roman collar when he arrives at Oasis, but he is emphatically NOT a Catholic priest, nor probably an Anglican one either. He describes himself as “accepting the validity of all denominations” (and apparently is cool with assisted suicide). That being said, he seems to be sincere in his version of Christian belief, there is no disrespect shown to Christianity, and any theology expressed in the pilot seems orthodox.
People on Oasis are experiencing visions or hallucinations of those they’ve lost, and it’s leading to some disappearances and horrific accidents. There does seem to be something haunting the planet, and the now-missing mogul, one of the colony’s founders, is convinced it’s of supernatural — of the faith, not things-that-go-bump-in-the-night, kind — origin.The mogul even left behind a message that sounds vaguely like “Jesus Christ” said over and over.
This is definitely a British production in flavor. U.S. sci-fi tends to model itself on NASA; while the Brits go more for the British East India Company as inspiration. Their outer-space sagas are often more corporate than exploratory, and the space denizens are less noble adventurers than grumpy blue-collar types (watch the British/American “Alien” again, and you’ll see what I mean).
“Oasis” is based on Michael Faber’s 2015 novel, “The Book of Strange New Things,” also about a devout Christian named Peter with an ailing wife, who winds up taking the Bible itself to an alien population. Thus far, the series does seem to diverge somewhat from the book, which is probably worth reading in its own right.
Christians grouse a lot that they’re not represented very much on TV, or if they are, it’s negative and inaccurate. None of this so far applies to “Oasis.” God knows (literally) where it will go in the future, but right now, it’s smart, well-produced, respectful and sympathetic to Christianity, and compelling.
When someone gives you what you ask for, you don’t have to say no.
So, give it a look, or even a vote.
Image: Amazon Studios