Hey y’all, Merry Christmas! Today I’m talking about The Story Keepers, a little-known tv show. Check it out here!
Do you miss VeggieTales? Not the new stuff that was remade for a new audience. I’m talking about the good ol’ 90’s version. Well, this show is what you should watch if you are a bit older than the target audience of Veggietales. Even if it’s by ~15 years. If you aren’t religious, know you are still welcome here.
What’s the Story Keepers about?
The Story Keepers are about a family who lives in Ancient Rome under the rule of Nero, a famous Christian persecutor. Ben is a baker helping to run the Christian underground, spreading the stories of Jesus. He and his wife, Helena adopted Justin, Marcus, Anna, and Zak (Zakkai) and they aid in its day-to-day operations, some telling stories themselves.
What I like about this show
- In the show, they use a funky older animation style
- Ben’s voice actor reminds me of John Goodman.
- Tells you a bit of Christian history. It explains the fish symbol and Christian persecution under Roman rule
- All the stories are from the Gospel so Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They do allude to some Old Testament stories though like David and Goliath.
- The Story Keepers covers more bible stories than Veggietales did in each episode with the same amount of time.
The show has all kinds of people with all kinds of walks.
- There are the Christians who have known Jesus for a long time like Ben and Helena who take on a mentor type of role.
- There’s Justin who is learning how to tell the stories of the gospel.
- There’s Zakkai who doesn’t tell stories but helps in other ways like being a messenger. Similarly, Anna doesn’t tell stories either but supports the cause and helps where she can. Thus showing you don’t have to tell stories to be able to help spread the word of God.
- Then there’s Cyrus, the guy who finds himself being taken care of by Christians and want to aid their cause. Although he is never confirmed to be Christian, they love him like a brother and in episode 8, after his adventure, they welcome him home with open arms.
- Then there’s Marcus who provides a comforting presence to his brother Justin when he officially tells a story for the first time.
- Then there’s Tacticus who originally worked for Nero and believed what Nero believed. After being rescued by Anna and Justin, he changed his mind because they showed him kindness his fellow soldier did not. After that, he started to learn the stories and believed.
- Then there’s Capella who was there for the death of Jesus, thought his death was the end of the story, and was later told the ending. On his death, his last words are for them to continue their mission and hope that everyone may hear the stories they have to share.
- Then there’s Nihilus, one of Nero’s strongest supporters. Although he never comes around, I can’t help but wonder what he would think of the apostle Paul.
If the stories of Jesus must be passed on, then all of us must become story keepers.Episode 11 of the Story Keepers
The stories covered:
A lot of the stories are from Mark but the parables (except the parable of the tenants), Jesus’ birth, and a few of the others are from Matthew, Luke, and John. The show gives enough detail where you can pinpoint which book they are telling it from and it’s awesome they don’t exaggerate or embellish too much.
- Episode 1:
- Jesus feeds the 5,000
- Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman
- Episode 2:
- Baptism of Jesus
- Jesus calms the storm
- Jesus restores a demon-possessed man (Mark 5:1-20)
- Episode 3:
- Good Samaritan
- The parable of the sower
- The parable of the unforgiving servant
- Episode 4:
- Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
- Blind Bartimaeus receives his sight
- The Little Children and Jesus
- Episode 5:
- The Wise and Foolish Builders
- The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector
- Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man
- Episode 6:
- The Magi Visit the Messiah
- Joseph Accepts Jesus as His son
- The Birth of Jesus (bonus because it’s not a Christmas episode)
- Episode 7:
- The parable of the wandering sheep
- Jesus Heals a Deaf and Mute Man
- The Widow’s Offering
- Episode 8:
- The faith of the Centurion
- The prodigal son
- Episode 9:
- The Transfiguration
- Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
- The Parable of the Tenants
- Episode 10:
- Jesus Anointed at Bethany
- The Last Supper
- Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
- Episode 11:
- Jesus Arrested
- Jesus Before Pilate
- Episode 12:
- The Soldiers Mock Jesus
- The Crucifixion of Jesus
- The Death of Jesus
- The Burial of Jesus
- Jesus has Risen
- Episode 13:
- (Luke 24) On the road to Emmaus
- (John 20) Jesus Appears to His Disciples
- Jesus Appears to Thomas (John 20)
- (John 21) Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish
- The Great Commission / The Ascension of Jesus
The faults in the Story Keepers
This show is great at a lot of things and I think it’s great for people who want to learn more about the stories of Jesus. (Although you could just read the Bible). However, the stories they bring up are brought up on a case-by-case basis. So in a moment where courage was needed, they told the story of Jesus before Pilate or Zaccheus. I don’t have an issue with that because a pastor will do that for a series they do. Sometimes, they break up a story and it’s a bit awkward. They did this with the prodigal son. They told the first half of the story so that it would parallel what was going on in the show and told the rest of it after the events in the show happened where it would be appropriate to tell that story.
There is also a tendency to hyper-focus on the oppression from the Romans and add details I’m not sure are true. Like Barnabas being a freedom fighter instead of a criminal. Some of the details I don’t mind them adding are Ben being the boy with the lunch in Jesus feeds the 5000. I see them as easter eggs and a means to further connect the show to the source material.
Honestly, I don’t think this is a bad show. I think it’s meant to be taken holistically rather than episode by episode. In the final episode, Ben mentions how by this point, the children (and audience) have learned about the birth and death of Jesus, some of the miracles he’s done, some of his teachings, his attitude towards children, and his mission for all of us as story keepers. Is it the best show? No, but there are certainly worse shows kids could be watching. I think it just requires conversations about where the stories come from.
Thank you for reading my take on the Story Keepers, I appreciate it. Comment below what your favorite story is. If you like what I do, consider subscribing to my mailing list and if you want to watch the show, click here. If you want something similar, click here. Merry Christmas and I’ll see you in the next post!