Did the boycott threats work? NBC is citing low ratings in announcing its cancellation of The Book of Daniel after just three weeks, but there may be more to it than that. Whether or not viewers were watching, advertisers were avoiding the show, as were nine of NBC’s affiliate stations. Conservtive Christian groups had condemned the show sight unseen, though there was some support for it in the Episcopalian community (the same denomination as the show’s characters). I’ll take creator Jack Kenny at his word that he thought the show’s flawed but loving family (with its gay son, martini-guzzling mom, and pill-popping priest who conversed often with a laissez-faire Jesus Christ) was a positive portrayal of Christians, but he was hopelessly deluded if he thought the usual suspects would agree.
Me, I just wish it had been a better show; with its outlandishly comical/soapy plot turns (the Catholic priest whose Mafia pals make trouble for Aidan Quinn’s protagonist, the bishop’s horny niece who seduces the overwhelmed gay son in the back seat of a car), it played less like a sincere exploration of faith and family life than like Desperate Episcopalians. The show’s demise will only make it that much harder for network TV to greenlight a more artful, less frivolous exploration of similar themes, should some hapless producer ever try to pitch such a series.