Heather Graham, <EM>Emily's Reasons Why Not</EM> Heather Graham, Emily's Reasons Why Not
The Book of Daniel There's something about pairing Jesus with a Vicodin-popping Episcopalian priest that creates brouhaha. We expected the Bill O'Reillys of the world to complain (Someday O'Reilly is going to be driven to insanity when he awakens in the

Twilight Zone surrounded by nice, sensible people), but apparently many in the Midwest found the subject matter so repellent that stations in places like Terre Haute pulled Daniel from their schedules. Another triumph for the easily offended. Normal-ites should ask a different question: Is The Book of Daniel worth checking out? I'd say it's a flawed but worthwhile experiment. Aidan Quinn makes a very human reverend, a man whose faith in God is directly proportional to the lack of faith he has in himself. Daniel's interactions with Jesus (Garret Dillahunt) are by far the most compelling aspects of the pilot, mainly because Jesus is presented as warm and accessible without being a pushover (note how He's always pooh-poohing Daniel's pill-popping the kindest rebukes are always the hardest to swallow). When Daniel asked Him, "Why are you so easy to talk to?", it hit me like a round kick that this is exactly how Jesus should be portrayed. Do folks in Terre Haute actually envision Jesus as a dour, jeremiad-spouting finger-pointer? I'd be surprised if He saw Himself that way. (I'd also be surprised if Jesus returned to Earth still wearing the same clothes after 2,000-plus years. You'd think He'd shave or get a nifty haircut or something. He is allowed to update His appearance, folks.) The biggest problem with Daniel is quirkiness overload. We have not one but two alternative characters (gay son, bisexual sister-in-law); a Catholic priest connected with the mob; stolen church funds; a manga-writing daughter who sells pot; racist blue-blood neighbors and so on. Apart from Daniel's stubborn, hard-drinking wife (Susannah Thompson) the only supporting character with any depth is Daniel's mother, an Alzheimer's patient. Her unpredictable behavior especially the slap she delivered across the face of her husband is all the more deeply moving because it provokes nervous laughter. That laughter is one of recognition. Daniel is at his best when we see ourselves in him.  G.J. Donnelly

In Justice
Generally, I have an aversion to procedural crime dramas, so why am I digging this mid-season underdog? The writing's decent, and the acting's better than average (I'll forgive Kyle MacLachlan for channeling William Shatner's Denny Crane on Boston Legal), but there's something else. Maybe it's the sympathetic liberal inside of me who thinks there's nothing so unjust as innocent people getting locked up for crimes they didn't commit. Then again, maybe I just get a huge kick out of seeing Curtis Armstrong (aka Booger from Revenge of the Nerds) posing as a public defender! But seriously, this poor man went to prison because an eyewitness made a crucial mistake. Everyone involved with the case assumed the perp was black in fact when he was white. See, that's what happens when you assume. You make an ass out of "U," and you keep a man locked away from his wife and child for 13 years. I'll admit, I got a little choked up when he was reunited with his family outside the prison, but did you notice how they parked like 100 yards away from him when they came to pick him up? Oh, I know it's all about the drama, that moment of recognition: Is it really him? Is it really her? Is he really free? Yes! Now get over there and pick him up! The man just spent half his life in prison don't make him walk! I really hope this show can maintain its good start, but I'm reminded of another ABC mid-season series from last year that began well only to end up in the can. It was called Eyes. Remember it? Yeah, exactly.   Daniel Roberts

Battlestar Galactica
Everybody else as happy as I am to have this show back, in an era where sci-fi series tend to get dropped before you've even had a chance to really get to know them? Or just because your inner geek loves a genre series that's actually good? OK, just checking. My inner geek's real insecure. Anyway, here we go, getting right back into it as Galactica squares off against Pegasus and Starbuck shows up just in time to nearly get toasted by her own people. And just as quickly, we get Cain talking about how the finer points of law don't matter in a time of war. (Funny how, between this and the abuse of Cylon Boomer and the Number Six prisoner, the most politically topical series on TV is one that takes place in space, ain't it? Shhhh don't tell the thought police.)

And the tension doesn't let up for a second, even as Cain promotes Starbuck to captain, and the writers, I'm happy to say, surprise me by avoiding the cliché of having our favorite pilot say she doesn't want it because she doesn't need no stinkin' rank. If you'll permit me to continue to gush, it's also a testament to this show that they get a genuine stomach turn out of me as Tigh hears the tale of Cain stripping the civilian fleet of its parts and talent, and ordering the deaths of two families in the process. All of which brings us to Cain and Adama essentially taking out hits on one another. And there we stop for the week. First word that came to mind: cliff-hanger. OK, that was the second one, and it wasn't a surprise since this episode did, after all, have "Part 1" in its title. First real word that came to mind: Damn.   Michael Peck