Roma Downey's most controversial show ever, Messiah, is about to hit our screens.
To date, the main theme of Roma Downey's, 59, Hollywood career has been a success, but very soon it could also include some serious controversy.
Messiah, Downey's and her husband and producing partner Mark Burnett's latest venture, is a remarkably timely new Netflix show about a man who his supporters believe may well be the second coming of Christ.
Or is he? Could he be a wolf in sheep's clothing? Solving that riddle is the main draw of Messiah and what a draw it is, backed up by the brilliant performance of lead Michelle Monaghan and co-stars Tomer Sisley as an unruly Mossad agent and Mehdi Debhi as the elusive title character.
If ever there was an age that needs some proof that there is a God who is actually in charge and has a big plan for us all, even if we can't quite see it, it's this one.
What Messiah plans to do is use the tools we all possess like iPhones and social media to show us what a modern-day second coming might look like. These days the world's pain is laid bare on our Twitter feeds, but what about its miracles?
Would you live stream a miracle performed by a man who claimed he was the son of God returned? Or would you simply assume his miracles were faked for the camera? Could you even trust that what you were seeing was real in these days of deep fake videos, would even the most inexplicable transformation leave you cold?
Considering almost every religion anticipates a savior will eventually come to lead us in the last days it's probably not a surprise that Messiah hasn't even screened yet and already some self appointed online critics are grousing about its message.
Isn't it a Christian tale set in the Muslim and Jewish homelands, some complain. Isn't it taking stories from our sacred texts and misinterpreting their message, say others? What's a story about a potentially Christian god doing here? The only thing that unites all these self appointed critics is that they haven't seen the show yet, it debuts on Netflix on January 1, 2020.
Undaunted, some of the more excitable online communities have decided that the very appearance of the show is a kind of grooming for the real-world appearance of the Anti-Christ. Hollywood is trying to trick us all to not notice when a real threat walks among us, some of them say. Talk about weeping and gnashing of teeth.
In Messiah Irish American actress Michelle Monaghan, 43, will play a no-nonsense CIA agent who begins by thinking she is pursuing the latest lunatic cult leader aching for a big confrontation with Israel and the west.
A man from the middle east who inspires people to follow him is an old, old story of course but under Downey and Burnett's eyes, it's given a new spin for the internet age.
How would we react to claims that a modern-day person was performing bible age miracles? Healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding the hungry, escaping his captors and leading his people out of bondage into freedom? If that all sounds too good to be true it probably is, his critics contend.
The middle east being such a powder keg of competing faith and political traditions, it's the perfect place to test the geopolitical waters that we all swim in post 9/11. It also turns out to be the most vivid setting for part two of the messiah story it originally gave to the world.
The problem of ISIS in the region is tackled head-on, as is the shadow cast by the long Israeli Palestinian conflict, and as always there will be major controversy attached to those long-standing tensions but Messiah appears to have other major questions in mind like what is faith, where does faith come from, how is faith attained and maintained and what good can it do in the world?
It doesn't really matter if you are religious or not, or if you have faith or not, as these are interesting questions in and of themselves and writer Michael Petroni (best known for The Book Thief and Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader) knows it.
It's certain that the show's premise is drawing the crowds already as the show's trailer has already clocked one million views. It is also certain that religious sensitivities to the idea of anyone talking on Christ's mantel as the son of God is a storyline that still shakes as many viewers as it attracts.
It's pretty clear already that the show makers welcome the discussion. Messiah director James McTeigue told Collider recently that he was excited about the arc of the show's narrative: “Messiah pokes at the fabric of society, in a different, larger way, but is told through very intimate character perspectives. It’s about a section of personal faith and organized religion, but it’s put in this really nice engine of a political thriller."
"It’s about, if someone purporting to be the Messiah came and started rocking the political balance, first in the Middle East, and then back in America, what would actually happen? How would we deal with it? What would we do?”
Answering that question will begin on January 1 when Messiah debuts on Netflix.