God and Man on TV

Here is the conclusion of “God and Man on Television”, a piece by Hanna Rosin on Slate.com. You can read the whole thing. She didn’t care much for Daniel.

“If we are lucky, The Book of Daniel will put an end to Hollywood’s strained efforts to reach the silent majority, or at least it will make those efforts a little more interesting. Christians don’t necessarily like to watch shows about other Christians, any more than I want to watch programs about thirtysomething Jewish journalists. For the last six months, I’ve been spending a lot of time with young, conservative evangelical college students; what they like and don’t like often surprises me. They like Pixar movies for their clean irony. They liked Cinderella Man, because the hero fought for his family. They liked Mr. and Mrs. Smith because the marriage was saved. They love violence if it serves a patriotic function, so 24 is a big hit. After winter break, I checked in with the crowd in the TV lounge to see what they were watching. None of them had even heard of The Book of Daniel.”

I think Rosin makes some decent points, but she’s wrong to paint Daniel as an attempt to reach the silent majority. Liberal Episcopal priest, gay son, easy-going Jesus. Not the checklist I’d be working off of if the SM were my target audience. Rosin ends the essay by pointing out that an audience that was unlikely to care much about the show–young Evangelicals–didn’t care about the show. She seems to be under the impression that this proves something.

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