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TV Review: The Book of Daniel: Hour One

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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.

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  • EvanO

    “The adopted Chinese son is statutorily raping a parishioner’s 15-year-old daughter.”

    This is inaccurate. According to the show’s website, both Adam, the “adopted Chinese son”, and his girlfriend are 16 years old.