Friday, January 20, 2006

Song of Solomon


I just finished watching an episode of NBC's controversial new show The Book of Daniel. Now I kind of wanted to like this show because I feel that often people (read: conservative Christians), tend to overeact to programming that is designed to provoke them, so as to generate controversy designed to help with the ratings. The decade plus run of NYPD Blue was probably given a good push off because of the wide opposition the program received from conservative quarters. Daniel, which I anticipated being half Desperate Housewives and half Six Feet Under, I figured was a weak program aiming for some free publicity to help with getting out of the starting gate. So I figured my liking it might be good for its demise (I admite this is weird logic).

Now I expected that the reasons for traditionalist opposition to this program would be rather superficial, but I must say that I don't think they are. The big issue with this program for most of its offended viewers would probably be how wedded the show is to sex. There is sex everywhere in this progam, at least as much as you can get with a TV-14 rating. In the single episode I watched I counted two instances of fornication, a gay Mafia member, a male bishop attempting to institute an affair with a female bishop, and three youths leering (I'm excluding the half dozen prep school girls who caught a character trapped outside of his girlfriends room in his boxers). Having this much sex so closely associated with a program that is presumably about family and faith, could understandably be enough to get under the skin of a respectable parent. Also while I didn't think I would be offended by the highly causal hallucinatory Jesus, I must say I didn't really care for the guy (meaning the shows Jesus, I like the real Jesus).

All this being said their were things I liked about the show, not the least of which was the casting of Alison Pill as the reverend Websters daughter. The program really does have a heart, which is especially apparent in the Aidan Quinn character, Episcopal Father Daniel Webster, who despite his faults is a really good man and the moral compass (albeit slightly de-magnetized) of the series. The talk that character gave at the ground breaking of a new church school, about his mother a former english teacher now suffering from Alzhamers, was rather moving for network television. I also think the character of the familys live-in black maid shows much more promise and depth then you might expect from a part of that nature. On the whole I would say that The Book of Daniel is a good and well meaning show underneath, it is simply hampered by televisions overwhelming need to pander.


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