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 played the Borg Queen, after all) 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.