My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


TV Review: The Unit

ABC premiered a new, mid-season rollout last night, starring Dennis Haysbert (24's President Palmer) and many others.

I thought it was pretty strong. The story line follows the "exploits" of an elite counter-terrorism unit of the U.S. military, and their families, which live in a basically secluded area of an unspecified military base (actually, it may not have been unspecified, I just probably looked away for a moment).

There were basically three story arcs last night: the retaking of a hijacked plane, the "initiation" of a new family into the fold, and some of the nuts and bolts of the command structure (including the CO having an affair with one of the wives).

The first arc was good: as near as I can tell, a realistic portrayal of the courage and matter-of-factness of U.S. Spec-Ops. The show treated the military with respect, even if Haysbert's character's disregard for inter-agency cooperation and jurisdiction stuck me as, um, suspect. Nonetheless, I appreciated both the sense of humor and the sense of humanity in how the military was portrayed. There were two parts of this arc that were, well, bad: the first explosion of some anonymous terrorist hideout in the middle east was not particularly good, and the whole scene where three National Guard members were killed walking--yes, walking--up to the plane was likewise unrealistic. I mean, I get that they thought they were in the plane's blind spot, but when someone raises a gun in your direction, I don't know, duck, or something. But, other than those two quibbles, which, by the way, DID NOT detract from the story, I thought the first story arc was good.

The second arc, about the new girl on the block, was great! I could easily picture my wife--or any wife--being told not to tell their family what her husband was doing, being told not watch the news, being told where to live, and not letting that sit very easily. But, I could also see the other wives helping her understand, and I realy thought that was good.

My biggest problem was with the third arc: why include a story line about a CO having an affair with one of the wives? In the first place, that, of course, is grounds for a dishonorable discharge. And in the second place, it serves no purpose except to undermine the "honorable" nature of all of the other aspects of the story--if the CO of a unit such as this can shuffle his men around the world just to make it easy to carry on with his wife, then any such assignment is suspect. Maybe they'll decide to drop this story arc after the first few episodes. One can hope.

I would be curious to see what people who actually do have military experience thought. Feel free to leave your opinions in the comment section.

And, regardless of anything else, it was SO much better than Commander In Chief that I would hope it gets a long run.

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