An average 16-year-old, Joan is going through the growing pains typical of any teenager. But after she and her family (Joe Mantegna, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Ritter, Michael Welch) relocate to Arcadia, her life gets especially interesting when God starts paying her visits. For two years, CBS's Joan of Arcadia
managed the neat trick of warming the heart, while keeping the gag reflex at bay. And for a family drama based around faith--and the lack thereof--preachiness was always in short supply. At the end of the first season, Joan (Amber Tamblyn) decides it's all in her head: God isn't really speaking to her. Over the summer, she attends a camp for troubled kids, and now she makes lamps. Her boyfriend, Adam (Christopher Marquette), is as confused as ever; he was just starting to believe her. While Joan questions God's existence, her mother, Helen (Mary Steenburgen), plans a return to the Catholic Church. To that end, she starts meeting with chain-smoking former nun Lilly (Constance Zimmer, Boston Legal
) to help with her confirmation. Joan's father, Will (Joe Mantegna), older brother Kevin (Jason Ritter), and Helen must also contend with the lawsuit filed by the boy who caused Kevin's accident, while Joan's younger brother, Luke (Michael Welch), continues to see the surly Grace (Becky Wahlstrom) in secret.
New Arcadia arrivals include Will's controlling boss, Lucy (Annie Potts), Joan's "crazy camp" friend, Judith (Sprague Grayden), and enigmatic do-gooder Ryan (Wentworth Miller, Prison Break), who shares Joan's gift. Despite critical kudos and respectable ratings, Joan of Arcadia wasn't picked up for a third season, but its spirit lives on in such disparate shows as Medium, in which a woman communicates with the dead, and My Name Is Earl, in which a man goes around doing good deeds. This six-disc set features commentary by creator Barbara Hall, producer James Hayman, and writer Stephen Nathan. --Kathleen C. Fennessy