Thursday, July 28, 2005

Final Review: Over There

Bochco directed and produced Hill Street Blues which I always thought was too much like a bad cop soap opera. I always preferred the NYPD Blue drama because people like Sipowitz reminded me a lot of my own father.

Well, Bochco should have thought about this a little more because, frankly, Over There is over reached, over rated, over stated and, unless some serious changes are made: over.

The characters were flat and stereotypes. The first soldier we see is a black man smoking a joint. On duty. Uh-huh. Don't get me wrong, I don't have the illusion that all over our menn and women in uniform are perfect, but I am quite certain that that image is hardly typical so I suppose that first image was far too typical of post Vietnam concepts of soldiers. Then there was the last part of the episode where the soldiers are on the way to get some home made hooch and end up rolling up over an IED and wounding one. Again, so stuck in the post Vietnam genre of Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and a few other stereo type shows that attempts to portray soldiers as druggies, drunks and just guys searching for a good time while occasionally blowing off some ammo. Oh, and let's not forget the anal, glory seeking officer that is willing to sacrifice his men for a few points and the sargent who suggests that other soldiers would be really happy if he was 'fragged'.

Oiye! Somebody should tell Bochco and the writers that this isn't 1971 and the desert isn't any where near Khe Sahn.

The rest of the characters fit the same pattern. Basically, Bochco tried to present every characters' main characteristics and motivation in an hour. No...less than an hour since I counted six commercial breaks that certainly made the program really more likea 37 minutes. Thus, the characters were extremely flat and unconvincing.

The best part of the program was the approximate 8 minutes of battle.

The other character I was disappointed in one was the helpless, stupid female soldier who was so bent on proving her feminist geist that she yelled at another soldier to get away from her so she could do something herself, giving away her position and endangering her unit. Further, wondering away during battle to go to the bathroom in the middle of a mission, far away from the other soldiers after the sargent had just told another male soldier that looking for privacy could get him killed.

Frankly, I know some female soldiers and none of them would I classify as hyper sensitive idiots.

I understand that there was a Marine sargent who consulted on this program? I'm not sure what areas he consulted on, but I'd like to meet him and find out if he agreed to any of the type casting. The best parts of the program were the uniforms, weapons and the fighting scenes.

Oh, and let us not forget the "insurgent" that wasn't a jihadi but was angry at the US invasion and "forced freedom" and, even though he wasn't a jihadi, he was occupying a mosque and shooting from it. Probably the only other realistic part of the program in which the soldiers were being fired on from that position, but restrained due to PR and the fact that an al Jazeera reporter was inside with the terrorists. Nearly forgot the "security perimeter" the soldiers pulled after the IED. It was just a brief glimpse on the screen, but looked decent.

And, from the previews, it doesn't look like the next episode gets any better. I see soldiers abusing prisoners, possibly participating in an execution while all the new guys stand around and watch implicating themselves in a war crime. That is, after their commander asks for men to be "decoys" and draw out the enemy. Oh, and the stupid female soldier continues to be stupid, incompentent and scared so much that she can't react to being shot at.

I will continue to watch this program, but only because I intend to rip it apart every time that it shows ignorant, inaccurate and stereotypically insulting actions and characters.

Bochco, if you ever read this, please do us a favor and fire the writers or yourself so this program has the possibility of succeeding. I would recommend not trying to develop characters and fight the whole war in 37 minutes.

This gets a one star rating. With a half a star for unknown actors and actresses trying to make a crappy story line work.


Donal said...

Kat I guarantee that the Marine consultant was asked about the uniforms, weaons, and fighting scences but not about the cast or the script. The whole thing felt like it was written by someone who only knows about war thru bad movies about Vietnam. I will not be watching it again.

KK said...

You need to be more severe in your criticisms. Bocho is part of a concerted effort in Hollywood to defame the military. Promising the show would be "apolitical" is part of this scam.

The new show with Gena Davis as President claims it will be "apolitical" too. Guaranteed it's a liberal fantasy from the first scene.

Both will fail.

Americans are not that stupid, and don't at ALL share Hollywood's hatred of our military!