Alpine Summit

Thursday, July 28, 2005

"Over Where?"

My friend sent me this article about Iraq vets' reaction to "Over There," a new series on FX about the Iraq war from the viewpoint of the soldiers. They made a lot of good comments about the series, some observations I noticed while watching.

It's set in Iraq, hyped as "true to life" by producers and hailed by critics as "unflinching" and "gut-wrenching."

"Bogus" was the preferred adjective among the eight soldiers -- most of them Iraq vets -- viewing the series pilot last week at Camp Murray, headquarters of the Washington State National Guard in Tacoma.

They go into detail with their problems with the show including how the truck at the end pulls to the side of the road to land on flagged wires. They don't pull over, and IEDs are NEVER flagged. The soldiers have great perspectives on the show. The creator, Steven Bochco, says the show is supposed to be apolitical. He still can't help but insert his own viewpoints, albeit subtly, though. There was always a dramatic pause when an Iraqi was killed, and a few other inconsistencies the soldiers noticed.

Bochco, who co-created the series with Chris Gerolmo ("Mississippi Burning"), has stated in interviews that the show is apolitical. "Ultimately, a young man being shot at in a firefight has absolutely no interest in politics," he told Reuters news service.

But some camo-clad critics at Camp Murray were left wondering just what the message was in "Over There." One said a young soldier who brags about slitting the throat of a child sentry "makes us look like murderers."

It's nice to know the viewpoint of actual veterans on this show because it helps put the show in perspective instead of just assuming it's accurate. Watching the previews for next week, it looks like they will address the issue of prisoner abuse and the subsequent cover-up by soldiers so they don't get in trouble. I can't even begin to get started on the inaccuracy of that portrayal. But then, I haven't seen next week's episode yet, so maybe I'm wrong. Time will tell. Other than the inaccuracies, it has some great graphic violence (a terrorist gets his entire upper body exploded from a direct hit from an M203 grenade) and a compelling story so far.

Also, on the subject of TV shows, be sure not to miss the Friday lineup on the Sci Fi channel of new episodes of Stargate SG-1/Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica.