Roma Downey series 'The Baxters' brings family dynamics, faith to forefront of major streaming service

Roma Downey (center) stars in 'The Baxters,' which will start streaming on Prime Video on March 28.
Roma Downey (center) stars in "The Baxters," which will start streaming on Prime Video on March 28. | Prime Video

Roma Downey believes faith-based film and television needs to stop sugar-coating real-life issues like addiction, pain and loss, but in a non-salacious way to highlight God’s faithfulness and the possibility of redemption amid pain.

“I think that projects in the past sugar coated over some of these issues, and we saw faith projects where somehow, people of faith didn't have problems like everybody else, and of course, we do,” the Emmy-nominated Irish actress, producer and author told The Christian Post. 

“We're brought to our knees in more ways than one. It's just that when we're down there, we stop and we pray and we help each other back up in a myriad of ways, and I think it is important.”

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Downey, known for her role in “Touched by an Angel,” stars in the new faith-based show “The Baxters,” based on Karen Kingsbury’s bestselling book series. The show follows Baxter family matriarch Elizabeth (Downey) and her husband, John (Ted McGinley), and their five adult children navigating the complexities of life with faith at the forefront.

The series doesn't shy away from tackling heavy topics such as addiction, infidelity and divorce; the 10-episode show follows the couple's daughter, Kari (Ali Cobrin), who discovers her professor husband, Tim (Brandon Hirsch), is having an affair with one of his students. Kari must find comfort in her family and faith to discover if love is a choice or if her marriage can be redeemed.

“I think audiences will relate to this family, they'll fall in love with this family,” Downey said. “First of all, the actors are wonderful ... and the story plays out a little bit like a ‘hope opera’ … you think of soap operas and people binging them, but ours is a ‘hope opera.’ We're hoping that for the Easter season, which in the church is a great season of hope, [this show is] the essence of the season."

“If you get through it and you enjoy it, I encourage you please, to let somebody else know that you enjoyed it; let somebody else know that it's there, share it with your community,” she added. “This is how ‘Touched by an Angel’ became a hit, because people shared it through church. And so, I'm hoping the same will happen here with ‘The Baxters.’”

Downey's portrayal of Elizabeth Baxter brings to life a character who embodies strength, compassion and a deep-seated faith. "I came to it with a mother's heart," Downey said, reflecting on her own experiences as a parent to delve into the role.

“We see an Elizabeth Baxter as a very loving, compassionate, empathetic mom, a mother who fiercely loves her children,” she said. “We see her being marvelously strong and ferocious, like a mother lion. But what I loved most about her is that she's a prayer warrior. When the going gets tough, the tough start praying. We really see how she jumps in, holding hands with her husband, and prays for the children that she might be worried about.”

The actress, who is also an executive producer, applauded "The Baxters" for its portrayal of a church-going family that prays together and supports each other through life's trials — a representation rarely seen in today’s media landscape. 

“As a person of faith myself, I love to see when people of faith are celebrated on screen, and we don't get to see it that often,” she said. “We don’t get to see church-going families. We don't get to see family in the middle of a scene that can stop and pray in the name of Jesus. I think that audiences of faith around the country, indeed around the world, will enjoy seeing a family that holds the values that we hold dear to our hearts represented on the screen. 

“That's not to say that people who don't share faith aren't welcome; of course, it's a show that's been made for everybody,” she added. “But I think that we so rarely, as Christians, get to see a family and a family dynamic like this. I'm hoping that it will bring hope and that it will be a great reminder to people, it'll bring people home to Him.”

The series is set to stream on Amazon's Prime Video, giving it the potential for global reach. Reflecting on the broader landscape of faith-based content in Hollywood, Downey said she sees a resurgence of interest and quality in inspirational projects. 

The actress, through her company Lightworkers, has been at the forefront of producing high-quality faith and family content, and she believes that the industry is finally recognizing the value and audience for these stories.

“We've been creating content in this space for a very long time, but I feel like it's really starting to get traction,” she said. “It’s a combination of people in positions of power at studios and networks who are really starting to understand that there's business here because nobody's running a hobby. And I don't know that anybody's totally missional about it, but it's like, regardless of why they're making it, it's being made and it's being made well.

I think in the past, we dutifully showed up, because we felt like we had to support projects like that, but now we're showing up because they're really good, the stories are good and the quality is good. Just because it's a faith project doesn't give you an excuse to make a poor-quality show. Christian audiences are sophisticated audiences, and they expect quality content. So I think we're seeing that. It’s been thrilling to see so many successful movies.”

Downey said that like other quality, engaging faith-based movies and series like “Jesus Revolution” and “The Chosen,” she hopes the “The Baxters” will not only entertain but bring people together and offer hope in times of need.

“'The Baxters' doesn't mean to hit anybody over the head with a message, not a preachy show,” she said. “It's just organic and inherent to this family. This is what they believe. And this is how they live their lives. And we hope that inspires audiences everywhere this Easter season.” 

Masey McLain, Josh Plasse, Cassidy Gifford, Reilly Anspaugh and Emily Peterson also star in season one of “The Baxters,” with guest stars Gifford, Jake Allyn, Damien Leake and Orel De La Mota.

LightWorkers Media, Will Packer Media and Haven Entertainment produced “The Baxters.” Season one hits Prime Video on March 28.

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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