The Baxters, now available for streaming on Prime Video, is a television adaptation of Karen Kingsbury’s popular series of faith-based novels centered around an extended Christian family in Bloomington, Indiana. The first season, consisting of 10 episodes, focuses on the marriage of a young woman named Kari, whose seemingly perfect life is rocked by her husband’s infidelity.

The show follows the Baxter family, headed by Elizabeth and John, as they offer love and support to their five mostly-grown children who have all chosen to stay in their hometown. The first season primarily centers on Kari, her husband Tim, and her former flame Ryan as they navigate the turmoil of marital infidelity and potential second chances.

The Baxters has a nostalgic family drama feel reminiscent of shows like Touched By an Angel and Seventh Heaven, with a hint of soap opera drama. However, the execution of the show feels stilted and lacking in naturalism, with characters coming across as flat and overly polished. The focus on Kari’s storyline leaves little room for character development beyond surface-level interactions.

While the show aims to offer a comforting watch for its faith-based audience, it falls short in creating authentic and engaging characters. The heavily managed plot and lack of breathing room for the characters give the show a generic, prosperity-gospel vibe that may not resonate with all viewers. Despite some moments of genuine suspense, the overall execution of the series feels formulaic and lacking in depth.

The portrayal of faith in the show feels like a default setting rather than a meaningful aspect of the characters’ lives. The show struggles to delve deeper into the characters’ beliefs and struggles, relying instead on overly dramatic plot points and dialogue. The first episode sets up an uncertain future for Kari, leaving viewers to ponder whether she will choose a path of forgiveness or pursue a new beginning with her past love, Ryan.

The absence of explicit sexual content in the show aligns with its faith-based theme, keeping the focus on moral dilemmas and emotional conflict. The performances from the cast are generally stiff, with some standout moments from Taylour Paige as Angela, who brings a grounded and thoughtful approach to her character.

Overall, The Baxters may appeal to fans of Karen Kingsbury’s novels looking for a faithful adaptation of her work. However, for viewers seeking a more nuanced and dynamic exploration of faith and family dynamics, the show may come across as formulaic and lacking in depth. With a heavy emphasis on Kari’s storyline, the first season lays the groundwork for potential future developments within the Baxter family, but falls short in capturing the complexity of its characters’ lives.

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