Well, I’ve watched an episode of The Book of Daniel now. I probably shouldn’t judge, just from one episode – or maybe not at all, lest I be judged! – but the episode I saw committed the most heinous sin you can commit on television.
That sin wasn’t blasphemy, or giving the moral green light to homosexuality, or cramming as many instances of illicit sex into 45 minutes as possible. No, the sin of which I speak was far worse than that.
The show was mediocre.
Its humor was juvenile. Its issues were treadworn. Its responses to them were bland. And if Daniel’s speech at the groundbreaking for the new school at St. Barnabas’ caught the favor of everyone present (minus randy son Adam), then it’s been too long since they’ve heard a good preacher, or even a decent motivational speaker (like Chris Farley’s thrice-divorced Matt Foley).
I’d rather have heard the donut story, whatever it was.
I don’t watch much network TV, beyond the news. I never watch the WB affiliate, which picked up The Book of Daniel after the local NBC affiliate abandoned it, due to pressure from letter-writers. The experience of watching the show interspersed with locally-produced bottom-scraping, pond-scum commercials for heavy-metal radio shows and confessions-live TV shows and lingerie shops was interesting, but not interesting enough to repeat. So it’s back to HGTV for me.
The Book of Daniel‘s hallucinatory? illusory? expendable? “Jesus” character muttered vague and vapid comments with no particular moral content. No platitudes. No criticism. No particular help at all. He wasn’t the brooding prophet of Jesus Christ Superstar nor the joyous wandering minstrel of Godspell. He was just a dude with long brown hair and a beard, dressed in off-white robes. A poor man’s Qui-Gon Jinn without the light-sabre of the spirit. He’s just there. And the show’s conceit is that only Daniel, apparently, can see and hear him. When Daniel throws him a questioning look about why certain visitor is there, he shrugs in response. When Daniel’s sons are caught in their separate peccadilloes, he comments, “Kids, huh?”
Why have the greatest story-teller of all time there if he contributes nothing to the crisis-upon-crisis storyline?
Is that the series creators’ point? That Jesus is irrelevant? If not …
What is the point?