What would you do if you received a Facebook friend request from someone calling themselves God?
For committed atheist Miles Finer (Brandon Micheal Hall), the son of a priest, it’s a no-brainer. You decline the request, convinced a real-life human hoaxer is behind the account. But when Miles’ Facebook account won’t let him reject the request, he has little choice but to become God’s online friend.
This is the basic premise of God Friended Me, a US series which combines elements of comedy, drama and fantasy.
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Set in modern-day New York, the show revolves around office worker and podcaster Miles, who strikes up a friendship with journalist Cara Bloom, thanks to God’s social media account.
Cara Bloom, played by Violett Beane, is an online reporter struggling with writer’s block.
It turns out her estranged mother was a nurse who knew Miles’ mother, who was killed in a car accident when Miles was a child. (God it seems works in mysterious ways and has brought Cara and Miles together for a reason.)
Cara joins forces with Miles as the pair seek to find out exactly who is behind the God account.
Miles asks his colleague and computer hacker friend Rakesh (Suraj Sharma) for help, but finding out who is responsible for the account is, it seems, impossible.
“I’m not on Facebook any more that much,” says Beane, 23.
“But if someone who called themselves God tried to add me as a friend, I would probably be worried. I would probably be a little scared. But you’d have to be curious.”
Beane knows a bit about religion thanks to not only God Friended Me but also her upbringing.
“I was raised Quaker,” she says. “My mum never really like preached any sort of single deity or anything like that.
“But I think more than the religious aspect that does come into play, the show is really more about connectivity to people. I think one of the most interesting things that we do is we have all these characters from different backgrounds.
“We have an atheist, we have Christians, Jews, and Hindu people, but it’s not about the conflict between them, which I think is what other shows focus on.
“They believe in different things, but they’re friends and they’re having a beer at a bar.”
Beane, who is vegan and lives in Brooklyn, New York, has been acting since her school days. She was born in Florida and raised in Texas and she has appeared in shows such as The Leftovers and The Resident.
“My mum was an art teacher,” she says. “She really like sort of insisted that I take fine arts classes. And so I was in theatre and choir in middle and high school.
“Then I think, sort of around my senior year of high school, I just kind of realised that I didn’t want to go to college.
“I didn’t think that was necessarily what I wanted to do, because I thought I would give acting a try.
“I just found a local agent in Texas and I started auditioning and sending in tapes and it’s kind of gone from there.”
Beane says her big break was appearing on action drama The Flash as the superhero Jesse.
“Just because it has such a huge following of fans,” she explains.
“When I booked that role, I think I definitely saw a big change as far as like fans of my work and it was a great experience. I shot in Vancouver for two years. It was a really fun show to be a part of because I could be a superhero and chase people.”
God Friended Me is also proving popular with viewers. In the United States, the second season has already begun screening.
Beane puts the show’s appeal down to its feel-good factor.
“The fact that it is uplifting and positive and that, you know, it’s just for an hour (and) you can feel like everything’s going to be OK.
“I think people want that feeling because there are a lot of shows out there that are great but they tend to be very dark and about death or murder or something.
“I think that having a show that’s kind of the opposite of that is appealing to some people.”
God Friended Me, TVNZ 2, Wednesdays