Friday, January 06, 2006

"The Book of Daniel"

maybe if we ignore it, it will just go away

NBC's "The Book of Daniel" debuts tonight, amid vocal disapproval from the American Family Association and even a couple of network affiliates refusing to air it.

The show stars Aidan Quinn as a pill-popping Episcopalian priest with a wife who drinks too much, a gay son, a promiscuous son and a drug-dealing daughter. Nothing too shocking there, really--many families have to deal with such issues. But what I find most bothersome is the hip, therapeutic, tolerant "Jesus" who shows up for regular chats with Quinn's character.

I have no tolerance for sacrilege and/or blasphemy, and this show (granted, I haven't seen it yet) appears to come dangerously close.


I seriously doubt if anything of lasting value will be accomplished by Christians getting up in arms about this show. If anything, it could just serve to further publicize and showcase a show that--without our loud opposition--could end up fading away on its own.

Matter of fact, "The Book of Daniel" (unlike "Brokeback Mountain," which critics are gushing about in an uncontrolled frenzy of delight), is getting really bad reviews.

For example, in this review, Vince Horiuchi says Jesus comes across like "a spaced-out California surfer. Every so often, the Son of God appears to Webster in the yard or in his car or office, yet he never has anything useful to say. Most of his lines are terse and meaningless observations such as 'boys will be boys' or 'just play it out,' and then poof! He disappears."

Adds Horiuchi: " the pilot and subsequent episode progress, the series disintegrates into nothing more than contrived and outrageous subplots. There's the aforementioned drug dealing and drug addiction, sex in the backseat of the bishop's car, embezzled church funds, Mafia peddlers, conniving lesbian lovers and adultery among the church's hierarchy. It's too much for a drama that could have been thoughtful, sincere and provocative. 'The Book of Daniel' reads like a cheap dime novel."

From New York Times reviewer Ned Martel: "The real mark against 'The Book of Daniel' is not sympathy for the devil. The real objection is that it's just not very good."

Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales calls the show "a mean-spirited, unholy mess":
"I cannot recall a series in which a greater number of characters seemed so desperately detestable -- a series with a larger population of loathsome dolts. There ought to be a worse punishment than cancellation for a show that tries this hard to be offensive and, even at that crass task, manages to fail."

I don't even have to watch an episode of the show to know that I won't like it...I have absolutely no desire to watch it. But neither will I waste my time boycotting it. Hollywood doesn't "get" true Christianity, and they never will. So I really don't expect them to.

Too bad, 'cuz Aidan Quinn has a Rockford connection...

I'm sorry that Aidan Quinn is involved with "The Book of Daniel," because I tend to like him as an actor. There's something very cool about those pale blue eyes and that gravelly voice.

And Quinn has a definite connection to my town of Rockford, Illinois.

According to some bios, Quinn was born here (some bios list Chicago as his birthplace). And although he's spent much of his life shuttling between the USA and his family's native Ireland, he graduated from Rockford West High School which is just a hop, skip and a jump from where I live. I believe his dad is still a professor at either Rockford College or Rock Valley.

As for "The Book of Daniel," Quinn is quoted as saying, "I honestly don't think it's going to be nearly as controversial as some people may now be afraid of...It just has the courage to deal with some of the real issues that go in on people's lives."

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