The Righteous Gemstones

Last updated
The Righteous Gemstones
Righteous Gemstones.jpg
Season 1 promotional poster
Genre
Created by Danny McBride
Starring
Composer Joseph Stephens
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes9
Production
Executive producers
Running time33-60 minutes
Production companyRough House Pictures
Release
Original network HBO
Original releaseAugust 18, 2019 (2019-08-18) 
present (present)
External links
Website

The Righteous Gemstones is an American dark comedy television series created by Danny McBride that premiered on August 18, 2019, on HBO. [1] The series follows a famous yet dysfunctional family of televangelists. It stars McBride, John Goodman, Edi Patterson, Adam DeVine, Cassidy Freeman, Tony Cavalero, Tim Baltz, Skyler Gisondo, and Walton Goggins. In September 2019, HBO renewed the series for a second season. [2]

Contents

Premise

The Righteous Gemstones centers on a family of televangelists and megachurch pastors led by widowed patriarch Eli Gemstone (John Goodman). Eli and his bickering children, Jesse (Danny McBride), Judy (Edi Patterson), and Kelvin (Adam DeVine), live opulent lifestyles funded by their congregations' tithing, and work to expand their network of megachurches, making enemies of the pastors of existing churches, such as Rev. John Wesley Seasons (Dermot Mulroney). This expansion leads them to reconnect with Eli's estranged brother-in-law, "Baby" Billy Freeman (Walton Goggins), whom they tap to lead their newest church.

The first season also focuses on a blackmail plot orchestrated against Jesse by a trio of masked figures who threaten to expose videos of his lecherous private life, hatched by Jesse's estranged son, Gideon (Skyler Gisondo).

Cast and characters

Main

Recurring

Episodes

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
11"The Righteous Gemstones" Danny McBride Danny McBrideAugust 18, 2019 (2019-08-18)0.593 [6]
22"Is This the Man Who Made the Earth Tremble" David Gordon Green Danny McBrideAugust 25, 2019 (2019-08-25)0.594 [7]
33"They Are Weak, But He Is Strong"David Gordon GreenDanny McBride & John CarcieriSeptember 1, 2019 (2019-09-01) [lower-alpha 1] 0.530 [8]
44"Wicked Lips" Jody Hill John Carcieri & Jeff Fradley & Danny McBrideSeptember 8, 2019 (2019-09-08)0.562 [9]
55"Interlude"David Gordon GreenJohn Carcieri & Jeff Fradley & Danny McBrideSeptember 15, 2019 (2019-09-15)0.560 [10]
66"Now the Sons of Eli Were Worthless Men"Jody HillGrant Dekernion & Danny McBride & Edi Patterson September 22, 2019 (2019-09-22)0.469 [11]
77"And Yet One of You Is a Devil"Jody HillKevin Barnett & Chris Pappas & Danny McBrideSeptember 29, 2019 (2019-09-29)0.511 [12]
88"But the Righteous Will See Their Fall"David Gordon GreenKevin Barnett & Chris Pappas & Danny McBrideOctober 6, 2019 (2019-10-06)0.610 [13]
99"Better Is the End of a Thing Than Its Beginning"Jody HillJohn Carcieri & Jeff Fradley & Danny McBrideOctober 13, 2019 (2019-10-13)0.606 [14]

Production

Development

On June 28, 2018, it was announced that HBO had given the production a pilot order. The episode was written and directed by Danny McBride who is also executive producer alongside Jody Hill and David Gordon Green. [15] [16] On October 2, 2018, it was reported that HBO had given the production a series order. [17]

On July 1, 2019, it was announced that the series would premiere on August 18, 2019. [1] On September 9, 2019, the series was renewed for a second season. [2]

McBride has said he intends the series to run "longer than anything we've done before," including the four-season Eastbound & Down and the two-season Vice Principals. "If I had my way, when this is done, it’s like this epic, sprawling tale, like the fucking Thorn Birds or something," he told Polygon. "You’ll know everybody in this family, cousins, great uncles, all these people. In my eyes, this season is chapter one. It’s just setting the table for who all these people are and what’s about to happen." [18]

Casting

Alongside the pilot order announcement, it was confirmed that Danny McBride and John Goodman would star in the pilot. [15] In July 2018, it was announced that Edi Patterson, Adam DeVine, Cassidy Freeman, Tony Cavalero, and Tim Baltz had also joined the pilot's main cast. [19] [20] [21] In May 2021, Jason Schwartzman, Eric Roberts and Eric André joined the cast in recurring roles for the second season. [22]

Filming

Principal photography for the pilot was completed in August 2018 in Charleston, South Carolina at Citadel Mall. [23] The North Charleston Coliseum served as the interior of Gemstone Ministries, while a former Sears store at Citadel Mall was re-purposed into the Locust Grove Worship Center. (The new church being a former Sears was kept and referenced in the series). In April 2021, HBO confirmed the second season had gone into production. [24]

Release

On December 24, 2018, a "first look" still image from the series was released featuring Danny McBride, John Goodman, and Adam DeVine as Jesse Gemstone, Eli Gemstone, and Kelvin Gemstone, respectively. [25] The series premiered on HBO on August 18, 2019.

Reception

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 75% approval rating with an average rating of 7.09/10, based on 64 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads: "Though it may not win many new converts, fans of Danny McBride will find much to praise in The Righteous Gemstones's darkly hilarious pews." [26] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the season a score of 67 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [27]

Accolades

YearCeremonyCategoryRecipient(s)ResultRef.
2020 Satellite Awards Best Musical or Comedy Series The Righteous GemstonesNominated [28]
Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series Danny McBride Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Walton Goggins Nominated

Notes

  1. Episode 3 was first made available on August 30, 2019 through HBO's digital platform.

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