Paul Katz
May 16, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

We gave it a B

Joan of Arcadia: The First Season, an update of the Joan of Arc tale, earned critical raves and an Emmy nod for General Hospital‘s Amber Tamblyn. Rightly so. Creator Barbara Hall avoids the saccharine Sunday-school sweetness of shows like Highway to Heaven and Touched by an Angel with her unflinching exploration of right and wrong in Joan’s virtuous cop father (Joe Mantegna) and recently paralyzed brother (Jason Ritter). EXTRAS include a handful of why-bother deleted scenes and a God Gallery showing various performers who’ve played the Almighty (sadly, no George Burns). The high point in the pair of featurettes is Ritter’s barking laugh as costar Mary Steenburgen jokingly tells Tamblyn to shut up during rehearsal. The low point: A cast member admitting, ”I feel bad for people that watch this commentary actually to get insight.” Amen, brother.

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