‘Baxters’ TV series: deeply touching emotional dilemmas

By Rusty Wright

Ever fear rejection in romance? Concerned about family members you love experiencing troubled relationships? Been tempted to stray? Wondering whether or how faith and God fit into life’s complicated messes?

If so, you’ll probably connect right away with Prime Video’s new deeply moving TV series, The Baxters.

The Baxters is based on a best-selling book series by popular novelist Karen Kingsbury. Actor/producer Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel, The Bible, Ben Hur) produced and stars. Kathy Lee Gifford also appears.

Surprising discovery

Although romance novels like Kingsbury’s are not my personal interest, some of her works have become record-setting Hallmark movies. So, I decided to view the pilot. I came away gripped by the storyline with its emotional dilemmas, ethical choices, and relationship struggles. I felt like someone had been reading my mail, or my diary.

Elizabeth Baxter (Downey) with her husband, John (Ted McGinley), and their four adult children seek to navigate life’s complexities together. An attractive, successful, and happy family, their joy turns to grief when daughter Kari discovers from a tipster that her husband, college professor Tim, has been having an affair with one of his students. Crushed, Kari feels angry, betrayed, confused, afraid, and desperate. But, through her tears, she’s determined to seek a divine remedy. 

When confronted, Tim argues that their once-hope-filled marriage is dead, that his new lover fulfills him. Kari’s dad recommends a divorce attorney; her sister Ashley thinks she’s crazy to hold on to hope. Tim’s student paramour, Angela, seems smitten but wishes Tim would be more public about their relationship. Complicating things for Kari, Ryan, a former love interest, is back in town.

Relationship struggles

Anyone who’s experienced a rocky marriage or divorce (I have) likely will appreciate the pain and heartfelt struggles the couple exhibits. Even strong relationships can experience rejection fears. Family and friends of troubled partners will understand the worry and uncertainty about how to advise: “Dump him; he doesn’t deserve you”? “Pray and hold on; God will find a way”? The Baxters portrays both perspectives.

Extramarital dabblers (I was one, too, as a student) likely will identify with the exhilaration, secret glances, duplicity, uncertainty, hope, and perhaps guilt.

Faith’s relevance?

For many like the Baxters, faith and God play a part in their daily lives. In mine, anger with God for allowing the mess I helped create clouded my life for about two years. In retrospect, I was blaming him for my own poor choices.

Eventually, some fellow university students helped me understand how God’s love deals with my shortcomings, and my option to accept his gift of forgiveness. Which I did. Divine friendship has helped manage life’s curves since then.

Some Baxter family members pray together amid life’s challenges. Others question faith’s relevance. All seek to support the hurting.

Emotional intelligence

Downey and her husband, producer Mark Burnett, have dedicated their lives to producing inspirational content for mainstream media. Nearly 30 million copies of Kingsbury’s books are in print.

The series premieres worldwide on Prime Video March 28. Episode 1, the pilot, left me curious for more, and the remainder of Season 1 did not disappoint. I especially appreciated the focus on emotional intelligence and managing feelings, essential in today’s world. Well worth watching.


Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. www.RustyWright.com

Copyright © 2024 Rusty Wright

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Editors:  Note pictures below. For access to these and more, check here.

Baxters poster.
Baxters poster 2.
Reagan Decker (Cassidy Gifford) and Luke Baxter (Josh Plasse). Image Courtesy Prime Video.
Elizabeth Baxter (Roma Downey) and John Baxter (Ted McGinley). Image: Lydia Murty; Courtesy Prime Video.
John Baxter (Ted McGinley), Elizabeth Baxter (Roma Downey), and daughter Kari Baxter Jacobs (Ali Cobrin). Image: Joshua Applegate; Courtesy Prime Video.

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