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Reality television may have led to the belief that today’s college students spend all their time mindlessly seeking illicit pleasures. Young Once is a new reality television show that has the potential to challenge or to prove that perception correct. It follows students at Biola University, a Christian university that requires students to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and on-campus dancing. The idea of the show is to see what students are doing with their time instead.

In the pilot episode, one couple goes on a first date. The discussions surrounding the date revolve around the guy’s intention to date only if he is serious about the person and the girl’s interest in dating a Christian. In the second storyline, a young woman has decided to get a tattoo, a decision that will not please her parents.

It seems as though the people making the show are a bit in awe of the innocence of these pursuits. (Although it doesn’t seem strange to me, possibly because it’s been more than two decades since I was in college, and I don't live in Southern California.) After all, these young people aren’t exactly living the Amish life. Those short shorts! Those midriffs!

The real question is, how much will the students’ professed faith in Christ guide and direct their decision-making? Or are their choices just a nice-kid version of the stereotypical, more prurient college lifestyle? And if Christ is the true center of their lives, will the editors choose to show that to viewers? There are seven more episodes coming, so maybe we’ll find out.

There is one catch: you have to live in Canada to watch the series, though anyone can watch the pilot on YouTube. It debuts on YES TV on Wednesday night, February 24. Maybe Banner readers in Canada can let me know how it all turns out.

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