January 8, 2006

My $0.02 on The Book of Daniel

All in all I'm willing to give this series a second viewing next week. Yes, it had some annoying "mistakes" (that could easily have been avoided with a bit of "consultation" -- where's Archbishop Eames when you need him!) but that wasn't my greatest concern. It was the impression of a cast of cardboard sinners about whom it was difficult to care very much.

I say that acknowledging that opening episodes tend to be overpacked with exposition -- as this surely was. I did find myself, by the middle of the second hour, beginning, however faintly, to care about the characters -- I suppose it was the rather cold-etched portrait of "The Bishop's Wife with Alzheimers" that did it. In general, first episodes tend to want to pack in so much exposition that they use cliches to "flag" certain personality traits; there are some decent actors here, and I hope they will be provided with the material to flesh out the persons within the roles (actors can only do so much, after all!) -- most especially Jesus, who needs to be more than kind and clever. And I really do hope the local RC priest turns out to be more than an offensive caricature.

If things don't start to ripen and mature in the next episode, I'm afraid this series is headed for the footnotes.

I say all of this admiting, even I, that I hated the "pilot" episode of "Star Trek The Next Generation" -- which suffered from many of the same flaws as the writers tried to tableau each character in somewhat annoying succession, giving none of them sufficient depth. It took a few weeks for the characters to grow into the third dimension -- and they had the advantage of warp drive!

So I'll be back next week to take another look.

No comments: