Tom Shales on "The Book of Daniel"

Loved this quote:

Tom Shales, The Washington Post, regarding the new television show The Book of Daniel:

“I cannot recall a series in which a greater number of characters seemed so desperately detestable — a series with a larger population of loathsome dolts. There ought to be a worse punishment than cancellation for a show that tries this hard to be offensive and, even at that crass task, manages to fail.”

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  • jasdye

    yeah, neil. i don’t even know what to think about it all. i saw his vietnam flick slightly before the passion came out (also written and directed by an evangelical christian, though the name of the film and director elude me), and so was fairly prepared for the amount of gore in The Passion.

    Now, despite all the arguments about glorifying what you depict, i’ll play the devil’s advocate here and say that generally speaking, Gibson’s rage (of which we can see there is plenty) is usually directed at injustice. The injustice of an unjust war (make connections to the current war if you choose.), the injustice of a brutal colonial force, the injustice of man against man and man against nature, and the injustice – finally – of sin.

  • dave

    Hey Jeffrey, I am long overdue in thanking you for your vital inspiration…

    This Gibson post got me going on an article: God’s Gold Tooth: Imperfect Prophetic Films

    now maybe i’ll finish the sam phillips article you inspired me on!


    dave wainscott
    pastor, third day fresno

  • Jeffrey Overstreet


    I know.

    I think I’m one of them.

    Rather than get explicit about my voting record, I’ll just say that in recent years I haven’t a Democratic candidate I could stomach voting for.

    Now, before this turns into a red-blue debate, let’s talk about Mel.


  • Marty


    Not all of us conservatives fit the Republican mold. Some of us are against the War and are concerned about the enviroment. We do not all tow the Reliegious Right line. Rod Dreher just published a book Crunchy Cons on just this theme, it’s worht a read and National Review has a blog dedicated to the book.:

    A Crunchy Con Manifesto
    By Rod Dreher

    1. We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.

    2. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.

    3. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.

    4. Culture is more important than politics and economics.

    5. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship—especially of the natural world—is not fundamentally conservative.

    6. Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract.

    7. Beauty is more important than efficiency.

    8. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.

    9. We share Russell Kirk’s conviction that “the institution most essential to conserve is the family.”

    10. Politics and economics won’t save us; if our culture is to be saved at all, it will be by faithfully living by the Permanent Things, conserving these ancient moral truths in the choices we make in our everyday lives.

    –Rod Dreher is a writer and editor at the Dallas Morning News. A native of south Louisiana, he has worked at National Review, the New York Post, and the Washington Times. Crunchy Cons is his first book. You may e-mail him at

  • Gaffney

    Go Mel! Hey, maybe some of us more pious Christians will be reminded that caretaking of the earth was the first job given to man…

    As to the gore, yeah, another Mel film that I can’t take my wife to see. She watched Braveheart while hiding under my coat; learned her lesson and didn’t even try to see the Passion.

    As to the vengeance theme — I hear ya, Neil. But Braveheart worked for me because I see it as a story about a man who learns to get past vengeance and embrace something bigger and deeper — Wallace in that flick left vengeance (fighting for himself) to fight for the oppressed, the neighbor. At least that was my take…


  • Neil E. Das

    Jasdye, yes, the first few times I watched Braveheart it was somewhat through the fingers of my hands. Upon subsequent viewings, I was suprised by violent parts that I had “missed” the first time.
    For better and worse (perhaps more of the latter), I have become somewhat more desensitized to violence.

    Even more than the violence in Braveheart, I struggled with cheering on vengeance. It was somewhat more understandable in Braveheart because it was in the context of a national struggle against an oppressor.

    This thought is not original with me, but a surprising number of Mel’s film have violent revenge as their central theme. I like Mel, but am bothered with the vengeance thing from Christian principles, particularly vengeance on an interpersonal level.

  • jasdye


    you watch Braveheart with closed eyes?

  • Neil E. Das

    Whatever else one might say about, Mel, he is his own man. Sounds like it will be visually stunning. I have some trepidations about the gore, though. I still haven’t seen the Passion, and while I will watch Braveheart at the drop of a head, I do tend to blink a lot in the violent bits.

  • Neil E. Das

    That’s cause all links lead to Rome!

  • Jeffrey Overstreet


    Refresh, and try again.

  • Eriol

    I clicked on the link and I arrived at

  • Thom

    I find Mr Eko of Lost an interesting, complex and compelling Christian character.

  • Joel Buursma

    I didn’t see the show, but I read some statements from its creator. If anyone is going to create “interesting, complex, compelling Christian characters”, it might not be someone who is leaving Catholicism & dabbling in Buddhism. I think he views Jesus as an imaginary friend for adults, not someone who really exists. And it does seem like the high content of people with problems is gratuitous.

    If there is any kind of meaningful faith content that peeks out from under these clouds, I would be surprised if it had much positive impact.

  • Tyler

    I watched the show, the first hour and a half of it at least, just to see if it was really as “objectionable” and “irreverent” as the ads said, and while there certainly is an overabundance of gays and druggies and fornicators (oh my!), the worst part of the show is that it’s just boring. The characters are shallow and obvious, as are the stories and direction. The most objectionable thing about it (and I mean this seriously) is that the mainstream world cannot find (or create) any interesting, complex, compelling Christian characters. I wonder why that is?

  • Neb

    It sounds absolutely gruesome. And people wonder why we don’t watch TV. They air this dog offal and then cancell something like “Firefly”. These are truly the end times.