Jesus Christ Superstar meets Ordinary People meets Joan of Arcadia.
The show was banned from four different NBC affiliates. There seems to be a lot of suggestions in most news stories that the troubling aspect of the show is the Episcopal priest’s gay son. Witness this AP lead:
NEW YORK Jan 6, 2006 — Two more NBC affiliates chose not to air the network’s new drama “The Book of Daniel,” which features an Episcopal priest with a gay son, the network said Friday.
but honestly, there’s plenty of off-putting material without even getting to the issue of homosexuality.
- The daughter is selling marijuana.
- The priest is apparently addicted to back pain medication.
- The adopted Chinese son is statutorily raping a parishioner’s 15-year-old daughter.
- The wife is drinking martinis during Sunday dinner.
- The brother-in-law has disappeared with over $3 million in church funds, along with a 28-year-old secretary, and shows up naked and dead in a Florida hotel room.
- The Roman Catholic priest has ties to the Sopranos.
- Jesus is apparently a surfer dude from the Trans Siberian Orchestra who likes to ride shotgun.
- Apparently, the daughter doesn’t know how to log-out of her computer to keep prying eyes from reading her anime creations.
In the first 40 minutes of the show, the “gay son” only showed up for one scene. In fact, the issue of homosexuality is a non-starter in the first show. Maybe the story line is just developing.
Jesus’ biggest philosophical insight: “Life is hard, Daniel, for everyone. That’s why there’s such a nice reward at the end of it.”
Is this worth the uproar it’s causing among conservative Christians? Eh. It’s poorly written, requires enough suspension of disbelief to build a bridge, and doesn’t have a recognizable audience (atheists make up less than 5 percent of the population, btw). In short, it’s crap. “Religious” crap. Crap with high production value. But crap nonetheless.
Joan of Arcadia, with much better acting, a more interesting divine character, and really interesting story lines, only lasted two seasons. I may be wrong on this, but I can’t see “The Book of Daniel” lasting one. If it does fail, it won’t be because Christians raised a big stink, but because the show stinks enough on its own.