Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Over There, part II

It's getting near the end of the first season of FX's new series "Over There." After the first two episodes I didn't think much of the show--it didn't show much promise as a enjoyable entertainment (at least not up to par with "The Shield" or "Nip/Tuck"). I continued to watch the series in the expectation of viewing something compelling. It was wrong to think that.

"Over There" lacks. The actors do a fine job at protraying their stereotypical, one-dimensional characters, but that's about the only redeeming quality. The problem with the show isn't that the actors are flat or that the direction is bad (these aspects are terrific); the problem rests squarely on the writing. So far, only "Dim" has shown true emotion and character development (and this just developed in tonight's episode). The remaining characters are exactly how they were at the beginning of the series. Their emotions don't change much and neither do their attitudes and insight. Characters need to be more than one-dimensional. These people are not compelling. They are not forming what could become meaningful relationships. These characters do not create enough interest to keep viewers.

The storylines aren't much better. The first few episodes sounded vaguely like news reports. From then on the show has tried to incorporate more Iraqi life and culture--too little, too late. In tonight's episode, the crew finds $5 million dollars and debates what to do. There are ethical conversations, as well as questions of trust. Funny how this sounds a little like "The Shield" and its money train storyline. The difference being that "The Shield" slowly dealt with the money in a much more intriguing way.

Unless "Over There" can come up with some better storylines and a lot more character development, I don't see the series lasting. If I really wanted emotion to connect with the war in Iraq, I'd turn on CNN or talk to some recently returned soldiers.

As a side note: I may be a little biased in viewing this series as I have a few friends in the military--including those who have been to Iraq and are going back there.

1 comment:

Chrispy said...

While I have seen quite a few problems with this series, I think it's the visceral moments of this series that are important. I've missed most of the middle of the first season, but the very fact that the war we are in is being displayed in a popular fictionalized medium is interesting to me. At least they try at realism. MASH, which as a TV series was a response to vietnam wasn't even set in the same war.

I don't think that your review is biased however. I'm a military historian with several friends that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I would agree on a lot of the details.

At least media outside of the 24hr news nets are paying attention.