Thursday, July 28, 2005

Over where?

Yep, I saw it. Last night I forced myself, against my better judgement, to watch the new FX show "Over There."

I'm not an Army guy so I won't comment on the ground details, but this show just didn't make it. Can't we find some non-Boomers to make a series? They just took out the "Vietnam in the desert" template and marched forward with spotty writing and wasted talent.

I won't go blow-for-blow, but let me give you one example of the Vietnam movie of the '70s. In the first few minutes they show one of the three black characters smoking a joint, in daylight, in the open, in front of the "Motor Pool."

Yawn. Here we go again. Credibility gone from point one. I knew it was going to be a long 30 minutes from there.

The characters were a little cliche. The "bitter but professional NCO that has to keep new troops alive," the "clueless country boy with dreams," the "angry black man," the "brooding intellectual," the "dangerous to his troops more than the enemy junior officer," and to add to the mix, the "psycho chick," and the "sweet, nice mommy-with-a-gun." The Company Commander (Capt.) character seemed written well, and the NCO character is close, but almost a bit too cliche. The NCO can be written right soon if they try. I did enjoy how they made the "Arabic news" reporter out to be a jackass. And the actor that played the more senior officer (Lt.Col. ?) that told him off at the end ("..he didn't surrender-he attacked and caused the death of a dozen of his men....) did a very good job I thought. That actor watched a few news interviews with real battalion commanders. Now that I think about it in hindsight, that was probably the most realistic performance of the night.

They need some new advisors with military experience. The scene where they hit a mine is 180 deg out of phase with what I have seen following bloody causalities. People are not wandering around in a mental manic. Just the opposite. Oh, they took out the one character who's development had potential; the unlikely-natural-leader. Hey, it is a cliche, but we have all seen it. The pack-minus junior enlisted who, when combat ops start just rises to the top and becomes essential to success. Well, they offed this guy.

Yawn. I don't think I will be buying the CD box-set. A lost opportunity.
UPDATE: More links and a great comment thread over at The Castle Argghhh!!!!. I even got some facetime; cool. More goodies at Blackfive.

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