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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ho hum...

Last night's debut of the much hyped "Over There" on FX cable was a bit of a disappointment. It was an hour of essentailly video game war scenes with real actors -- little in the way of character development or drama or sense of dealing with the mundane (and important) reality of the Iraqi War. In fact, it was an example of how the hyper-reality of TV and movie production values provides a sense of unreality to it all. So many stereotypes, so little context, so much stretching of assumptions.... It truly was the kind of stuff you would likely find in the video games that populated the advertising breaks....

A bit of a build-up would have been nice -- and perhaps some sense of the Iraqi context. Instead our characters go from home to a short in-transit scene to an extended fire fight where waves of the enemy hordes attack the American position in a manner similar to Hollywood's image of the Chinese attacks of American troops during the Korean War. And it was all so exciting that both Randi and I fell asleep for most of the attacks....

I suspect I was even more disappointed because of what we expect of a show associated with Steven Bochco -- he of Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue fame. But as I recall, the initial episodes of both those shows were also a bit hard to take, and it was only after a few episodes -- even a season or two -- that those shows hit their stride. There are signs of this in the trailers for next week's episodeof Over There. This first one ended with a scene involving the evacuation of US soldiers severely wounded in a roadside mine explosion, and the 'coming attractions' focused on hospital scenes, indicating that this first episode was more stage setter than anything else. But last night's show was such a turn off that I am unlikely to make the effort to put aside my reading to watch it as I did last evening....

Over There
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