Friday, January 20, 2006

What Is The Point?

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?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

For an interesting take on "Daniel" see Real Live Preacher's review at
"http://www.reallivepreacher.com/node/659"

Keith Brenton said...

I think I was more merciful than Gordon, and he was more honest than me.

I also think that anyone who suffers through this series for the opportunity to discuss its portrayal of Jesus compared with the living Savior deserves a special mansion in glory tricked out by Ty Pennington.

Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Hey, Keith -

Good review of a lousy new TV show. We gave up on it within about 2 minutes, ourselves. And the only reason we even started watching it at all was to give it a chance to provide some good fodder for conversations and discussions, as you talked about last time.

Plus the fact that we'd gotten an "urgent" email from someone in Tom's family urging us to boycott the show, write to the network, etc, etc, which I promptly deleted, not being one who takes up such "causes." As Tom said, the show (based on previews alone) sounded like some of the families he's known who were trying very hard to live Christian lives with a lot of problems in their families.

And it had so many possibilities to turn to good, too, I think. We like Aidan Quinn a lot - he's done some great movies. If you haven't seen "Songcatcher," you must. It takes place at the turn of the century in Appalachia. That's an excellent movie with Quinn and Emmy Rossum, the ingenue in the musical "Phantom of the Opera," which is now my all time favorite musical and love story. Without equal.

As for a very interesting take on religion in a movie starring Aidan Quinn, you really should check out 1999's Commandments. It's an off-the-wall movie, but has a wonderful ending to it.

In it, Quinn plays a man who is totally broken by life's worst blows and sets out to break all 10 commandments because he's so upset with God. The movie, and his life, don't go as planned and the very unexpected ending is worth the price of a movie rental.

Thanks for your blog. I always gain a lot in reading your posts and I read ALL of them.

Drop by when you have a moment away from your busy new job. In fact, I'm going to refer to you in one of my next two posts next week, so you'll have to drop by to "defend" yourself. (Not really. It's good.)

In fact, if you have any really good "winter scenes" send me a couple for my "Winter Desktop" picture contest I've got going at the moment. It's ending in a couple of days, so you'll need to email me your jpegs quickly.

Finally - I read Real Live Preacher's review and I agree with him. We should be out living our Christian lives for good in the world in a positive way and not just sitting back behind our fortress walls lobbing bricks at the enemy. That's of little use.

Mark said...

I suspect I'm unqualified, since some stupid line not 15 minutes into the show insulted what little intelligence I have and I "fixed the TV" (turned it off). So, I never got through more than 1/4 of 1 episode.

Anyway, I saw the Jesus guy, and it was a shame - he *could* have been some play on the questionable sanity of the main character (ala the crazy doctor with his sexy imaginary friend in Battlestar Galactica), but they'd have had to hire a decent writer for that. Of course, if they'd had a decent writer, you wouldn't have written this entry...