Now Hear This! 01.25.06

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NBC Shuts the Book on “The Book of Daniel”

Mid-season replacement “The Book of Daniel” dropped from NBC schedule
Today television history was made when executives at NBC gave way to Fundamentalist pressure to pull the plug on “The Book of Daniel”. The series starred Aidan Quinn as an Episcopalian priest with a pill habit who holds regular conversations with Jesus, has a gay son (FYI: CNN.com chose to use the word “promiscuous” over gay) and a daughter who deals marijuana. The network cited low ratings (6.9 million on its first night. By its fourth airing, the number had dipped to 5.8 million viewers) as the culprit.

However, it is common knowledge that had seven of NBC’s affiliates (including Nashville’s own WSMV Channel 4. YAY! GO NASHVILLE!!) not clearly stooped to censorship by dropping the show from their line-up often after even the first episode aired the numbers would have been there easily to make certain that a thoughtful and intelligent show such as “The Book of Daniel” would have remained on-air. By cowing to this hamfisted bullying by the Christian Right (who by the way aren’t either), NBC has sent a clear message that any time religious zealots like Pat Robertson want to pluck the speck out of the nation’s eye while ignoring the plank in their own that NBC will quickly fall in line.

As far as this reviewer is concerned, NBC no longer has anything relevant to say. One more thing…James Dobson should focus on his own damn family and leave the rest of us alone!

 

Chris Penn (1965-2006)

Hollywood mourns today with the news that 40 year-old actor Chris Penn was found dead on Tuesday in a condominium near the beach in Santa Monica. The police report says that there were no obvious signs of foul play and an autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause of his death. The son of director Leo Penn and actress Eileen Ryan, Chris Penn was the brother of Sean Penn and Michael Penn who is married to singer/songwriter Aimee Mann.

Chris Penn’s credits included "Mulholland Falls," "Rumble Fish," "All the Right Moves," "Footloose," "Rush Hour" and "Reservoir Dogs." Chris Penn’s latest film, "The Darwin Awards," was scheduled to premiere Wednesday at the Sundance Film Festival.

 

True Life Programming on MTV?!? No, Really!

True Life: I Have Gay Parents
Produced by MTV and Logo
Airing on MTV Thursday, January 26 at 10 PM
Rating: B+

It is really no secret that I am a sucker for a good documentary. It is a real abomination to me that today’s entertainment culture is moving away from documentaries that inform over "reality" programming that is geared to entertain first at the cost of any true substance. This has delightfully not been the case for the most part with the MTV teen documentary series True Life which solicits its viewers for content and then profiles these diverse stories in a new reality-style documentary with each installment. This technique is really no different than other reality based programming that MTV has explored in the past with viewers and celebrities. Only this time, there are no celebrities…just stories.
The latest piece co-produced alongside Logo "I Have Gay Parents" does an admirable job of focusing on the lives of three diverse teenagers who have gay and lesbian parents. It paints a picture of three teenagers who are just as normal as their peers despite the fact that they come from non-traditional parentage. While some of the situations are clearly scripted for television there is no doubt of the love that these parents feel toward their offspring while pushing them to strive for good things in life.

True Life: I Have Gay Parents would be a great program to share with the whole family especially if that family has teenagers in it. For those like myself who are prone to be cynical about such things: just keep reminding yourself that MTV isn’t advertising to you so that’s why you can’t stomach it. For those for whom the show is intended I believe that this show is a great way to open up dialogue within the family about these subjects and to help present affirming, positive images for children who may be in similar situations and may feel isolated. In all, the producers of True Life: I Have Gay Parents should be applauded for having the foresight to produce such a piece in their made-for-teens series.

 

Winter Journal Won’t Leave You Cold

Luke Parkin – Winter Journal
Pacific Music
Rating: A

At age 27, sexy openly gay virtuoso pianist Luke Parkin has already amassed an impressive catalogue of music that cover 68 opus pieces and a variety of genres from contemporary classical to electronica. Now, with his 68th Opus and first major release Winter Journal Parkin is ready to show the world what he’s capable of.

Winter Journal is a subtly powerful masterpiece that is engaging and complex with a timeless quality that will resonate with music lovers of all stripes.
Parkin’s brilliant musical allusions to traditional Gregorian chants and winter vistas blended with an improvised ambient style lifts the spirit and warms the heart. His style is drenched in the well practiced flare that speaks in deep tones and makes the knees weak. Luke Parkin’s Winter Journal is the perfect album to put in the CD player on a cold winter day while snuggling in front of the fireplace with the one you love. Anyone interested in purchasing Winter Journal can buy it online at www.lukeparkin.com and www.pacificmusic.net.

 

Truly, Madly, Completely…Unnecessary!!

Truly, Madly, Completely–The Best of Savage Garden
Sony/BMG
Rating: D-

It has been four years since Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones called it quits and stalked off in opposite directions leaving in their collective wake two collections of savagely sophomoric ear candy that infiltrated into the deepest part of your sub consciousness after only a moment’s listening. The songs were infectious bombs of aural cocaine that refused to go away long after their welcome was evident. It was bubblegum pop music at it worst being sung by the ambiguously gay duo.

Here we are in 2006 and the powers that be have decided that the millions that they managed to milk out of consumers worldwide for this tripe wasn’t enough. So now we have a "Best of…" collection. Now we can all bop away once more to the endless loop that was such hits as "I Want You", "Truly, Madly, Deeply”, ”Affirmation", and "Crash and Burn". That’s completely forgetting the several other gems that populate the set list alongside a bunch of B-sides that only the most dedicated of Savage Gardener gay bois would have even heard of. If redundant and dated metrosexual Britpop is your thang then "Truly, Madly, Completely…The Best of Savage Garden is the album to add to your collection.