The Book of Daniel (2006)

TVSeries


The Book of Daniel (TV Series 2006–2006)

St. Barnabas's episcopalian vicar Daniel Webster has a wealthy parish. Yet his family life constantly complicates everything. Peter is Daniel's model son and med student, but struggles with being a semi-closet gay. His adopted brother, ethnic Asian Adam, is an incorrigible rascal. Daniel's father in law is also a bishop, and the 'discrete best friend' of Daniel's bishop. In-laws and parish benefactors attract further trouble on top of the regular pastoral work. A hippie Jesus Christ inspires Daniel in cheeky visions.
USA
IMDb   7.8 /10
TheMovieDb    7.8 /10
RottenTomatoes  54 %
TV.com
FilmAffinity  
Creators
Creator Jack Kenny
Information
Release Date2006-01-05
Runtime
GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
Content Rating
AwardsAwards1 nomination
CompanyNBC Universal Television, Flody Co., Bumpy Night Inc.
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish
Daniel Websteras Daniel Webster
Judith Websteras Judith Webster
Peter Websteras Peter Webster…
Adam Websteras Adam Webster
Grace Websteras Grace Webster
Jesus Christas Jesus Christ
Roger Paxtonas Roger Paxton
Bishop Beatrice Congreveas Bishop Beatrice Congreve
Victoria Conlinas Victoria Conlin
Rainyas Rainy
Bertram Websteras Bertram Webster
Caroline Paxtonas Caroline Paxton
Adele Congreveas Adele Congreve
Catherine Websteras Catherine Webster
Worth Websteras Worth Webster
Nora Paxtonas Nora Paxton
Michael Vaporellias Michael Vaporelli
Tony Vaporellias Tony Vaporelli

The Book of Daniel (TV series)

The Book of Daniel is an American drama television series that was broadcast on NBC. The network promoted it as a serious drama about Christians and the Christian faith, but it was controversial with some Christians. The show had been proposed for NBC's 2005 fall line-up, but was rescheduled as a 2006 mid-season replacement. The program premiered on January 6, 2006, in the US and was scheduled to air in thirteen episodes on Friday nights. The series ended on January 20, 2006. NBC called the show "edgy", "challenging", and "courageous" in its promotional material. On January 24, 2006, a spokeswoman for NBC announced the show had been dropped.


Synopsis

Set in the fictional town of Newbury in Westchester County, New York, the main character is the Reverend Daniel Webster (Aidan Quinn), an unconventional Episcopal priest who is addicted to narcotic painkillers while his wife Judith (Susanna Thompson) fights her dependence on mid-day martinis.

Struggling to be a good husband, father, and priest, Webster regularly sees and talks with a traditional Western-world, white-skinned, white-robed and bearded Jesus (Garret Dillahunt) who nonetheless is rather unconventional. Daniel's Jesus appears only to him and openly questions modern interpretations of Church teachings, reminding Daniel of his own strengths and weaknesses.

The Webster family includes 23-year-old gay son Peter (Christian Campbell), 16-year-old daughter Grace (Alison Pill) (arrested for drug possession in the pilot episode), and 16-year-old adopted Chinese son Adam (Ivan Shaw), who is dating Caroline Paxton (Leven Rambin), the daughter of one of Daniel's parishioners who harbors anti-Asian prejudices. Another son, Peter's twin brother Jimmy, died of leukemia two years prior to the beginning of the series; Christian Campbell also played the role of Jimmy in flashback scenes in an unaired episode (which was included in the DVD release).

When Daniel's brother-in-law Charlie absconds with church funds and abandons his family, Daniel's sister-in-law (Cheryl White) enters a lesbian relationship with Charlie's bisexual secretary. Bishop Beatrice Congreve (Ellen Burstyn) is involved with Daniel's married father (James Rebhorn), a retired bishop who, despite his gruff exterior, is troubled by dealing with his wife's Alzheimer's disease.


Cast

  • Aidan Quinn as Daniel Webster
  • Susanna Thompson as Judith Webster
  • Ivan Shaw as Adam Webster
  • Garret Dillahunt as Jesus
  • Alison Pill as Grace Webster
  • Christian Campbell as Peter Webster
  • Ellen Burstyn as Beatrice Congreve
  • Dylan Baker as Roger Northrup

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Temptation"James FrawleyJack KennyJanuary 6, 2006
2"Forgiveness"James FrawleyJack KennyJanuary 6, 2006
3"Acceptance"Perry LangDan E. Fesman & Harry VictorJanuary 13, 2006
4"Revelations"John FortenberryJohn TinkerJanuary 20, 2006
5"Assignation"Mel DamskiTeleplay by : Dava Savel
Story by : Dan E. Fesman & Harry Victor
Unaired
6"Withdrawal"Adam BernsteinTracey SternJanuary 20, 2006
7"God's Will"Michael FieldsDavid SimkinsUnaired
8"Betrayal"Jeremy PodeswaJack KennyUnaired

Controversy

The New York Times reported NBC had difficulty selling advertising during the program, even after offering significant rate discounts, because of controversial content.

Stations refuse to air

Eight of NBC's 232 affiliates refused to carry the program due to viewer complaints: WSMV in Nashville, Tennessee (owned by the Meredith Corporation); WGBC in Meridian, Mississippi; WTVA in Tupelo, Mississippi, and six stations owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group – WTWO in Terre Haute, Indiana; KARK-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas; KFTA-TV/KNWA-TV in Fayetteville-Fort Smith, Arkansas (the former is now affiliated with Fox); KAMR in Amarillo, Texas and KBTV-TV in Beaumont, Texas (owned at the time by Nexstar, now owned by Deerfield Media and affiliated with Fox). Most of the affiliates refusing to air the program were located in the Bible Belt.

After KARK-TV refused to air the series, KWBF (now MyNetworkTV affiliate KARZ-TV), then an affiliate of The WB, picked up the series. The company stated that it was excited to offer an outlet for viewers in the central Arkansas area who wanted to watch the show. However, the station soon received a number of threats, which required it to hire extra security. Both KARK-TV and KARZ have been owned by Nexstar since 2009, some three years after the show's cancellation.

Unconnected to the controversy, stations in Michigan, including WDIV in Detroit (owned by Post-Newsweek), WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids (owned at the time by LIN), WILX in Lansing (owned by Gray Television) and stations WPBN and WTOM in Traverse City and Sault Ste. Marie (owned at the time by Barrington Broadcasting), and WLUC in Marquette did not air the series's second episode. This was because of the traditional televised charity preview of that year's North American International Auto Show originated by WDIV; most of those stations carried it in off-peak timeslots elsewhere during the week.

NBC's Salt Lake City affiliate, KSL-TV (whose owner, Bonneville International, is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), did carry The Book of Daniel, despite the station's history of preempting shows claiming that they would offend Utah's religious population.


Network cancels program mid-season

On January 24, 2006, NBC announced the show had been dropped from the schedule. The last airing of the show was on January 20, 2006. The January 20 episode was the fourth in the series, drawing 5.8 million viewers. NBC gave no official explanation for the cancellation.


DVD release

On September 26, 2006, a complete-series collection of The Book of Daniel was released on DVD exclusively on Amazon.com. The set includes two discs featuring all eight episodes, in the traditional hard plastic case.