Home > Uncategorized > Wingnuts claim victory as ‘Book Of Daniel’ cancelled due to poor ratings

Wingnuts claim victory as ‘Book Of Daniel’ cancelled due to poor ratings

January 27, 2006

You remember Don Wildmon, founder of the suspiciously-named ‘American Family Association’?  He and James Dobson of the equally misnamed ‘Focus On The Family’ are gloating over NBC’s decision to cancel ‘The Book Of Daniel’ after only four episodes.

“This shows the average American that he doesn’t have to simply sit back and take the trash being offered on TV, but he can get involved and fight back with his pocketbook,” said AFA founder and chairman Donald E. Wildmon. link

Even with the mega-pubicity thoughtfully provided by Wildmon and Dobson, Daniel pulled fewer than 7 million viewers on the first night, and dropped 1.1 million viewers after four episodes.  Offended religious blowhards aside, that is not a sign of a show that is likely to succeed.  It is a sign of a show that sucks1, however.

NBC’s decision to cancel the show in spite of its allegedly anti-Christian bias2 suggests that network executives, soulless creatures that they are, weren’t trying to undermine Christianity.  After all, another network (headed by equally demonic beings) ran Touched By An Angel for years because it delivered a heartwarming message they could really endorse: “We can draw in a lot of viewers so advertisers should give us lots of money”.

To be fair, Wildmon and Dobson were able to convince four tv stations (out of several hundred) not to air Daniel.  So they may have contributed a tiny wiggle on the ratings meter. The station manager of Joplin, Missourri’s KSNF, explains why most stations didn’t cave in to religious pressure not to carry the show:

To illustrate a point, Hoffmann said that in addition to “The Book of Daniel,” he has fielded complaints from viewers about the advice that conservative James Dobson dispenses on “Focus on the Family.”

“If I took off every show that some segment of the population found offensive, I’d have no programming,” Hoffmann said. link

By far the funniest criticism leveled at Daniel is that it is a false portrayal of Christianity:

Charlie Burnett, pastor of Harmony Heights Baptist Church in Joplin, said he didn’t need to watch the show to be offended by its content.

“The show is damaging to those who don’t know anything about Scripture or Christ,” Burnett said. “They’ll get a false picture of what the Scripture portrays.”

I couldn’t agree more; people should try to get an accurate picture of what the Bible says.  In fact, religious leaders who get huffy and ‘draw a line in the sand’ over gay marriage while supporting candidates who screw the poor and lie to start wars should think about their own false portrayal of scripture.  If I remember correctly, Jesus suggested something along those lines once.

 

Notes:

  1. Wishful thinking on my part.  Lots of shows that suck draw in tons of viewers for some reason or other (the stupidity and poor taste of the viewers comes to mind).  Survivor sucks, but it panders to the public’s desire for fake drama, titillating situations, and partial nudity. Touched By An Angel certainly sucked but it was a guaranteed hit because fundies also can’t resist pandering, no matter how artless.  I wish shows that suck would always fail for that reason alone. 

  2. Daniel was produced by a Christian, but apparently he was the wrong kind (gay) for the likes of Dobson and Wildmon.  They didn’t like his portrayal of Jesus as a helpful, compassionate friend, either.
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. January 28, 2006 at 22:06 | #1

    I thought the concept of Jesus physically talking and interacting with someone could be pretty funny.  The one scene I saw on the commercial was Jesus looking over at the guy and going ‘You can quote me on that’…hillarious. :)

  2. January 29, 2006 at 11:56 | #2

    The idea of someone having a daily, walking relationship with a tangible deity has been done many times, usually with entertaining effect (and lots of quibbling over the deity’s personality).  Both Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant met angels in It’s A Wonderful Life and The Bishop’s Wife.  John Denver met God Himself in Oh God! (one of my favorites), and the CBS series Joan Of Arcadia used the same plotline as a teen girl repeatedly met God in a variety of personages. (It was a much better series than …Angel, by the way.)

    The popularity of these shows (barring extremely bad writing, as in the case of Daniel) reflects the ancient Christian angst over the silence of God.  Prayer is at the core of Christian belief, and current evangelical doctrine posits a “personal relationship” with Jesus.  But from ancient times and even in the Bible, believers have agonized over the paucity of ‘reply from the sky.’  (“Was this an answer from God?  Or was this?”)  The conversation seems painfully ‘one-way’.

    Of course the reason for that shortage seems plain enough to me, but movie characters who can easily walk and talk with deity are a reassuring icon for viewers who want very badly to believe that God is, really, looking out for them.

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