The broadcast networks have all decided that it's time to be in the tactical business and each one is launching a new show with a full-on military theme.
This image released by CBS shows David Boreanaz as Jason Hayes, center, in a scene from the military drama "SEAL Team," that follows the professional and personal lives of the most elite unit of Navy SEALs. The show is one of eight new series coming to CBS in the 2017-18 season. (Skip Bolen/CBS via AP)
Navy SEALs make up (approximately) 1/1,000,000 of 1% of the United States military but you'd never know it from TV and movie producers who seem to think they're the only branch of service. Following the success of the very fictional dramatic series SIX on the History Channel, CBS joins the party with SEAL Team starring David Boreanaz (fresh off 12 seasons of Bones). Here's the CBS description of the show:
Failure is not an option for the Navy SEALs—the world’s most elite, special ops forces. In this action-packed new drama, these stealthy and fearless warriors conduct high-risk clandestine missions against impossible odds. And when they return to the home front they face stress of a different nature. Keeping secrets, deploying at a moment’s notice, and the knowledge that each assignment could be their last takes a toll on them and their families. But their unbreakable oath and patriotism compel them to persevere.The networks make promotional videos to show to advertisers in May presentations and here's what CBS came up with for the show.
The CW describes Valor as a "military drama/conspiracy theory" show, so it will likely have more of that season-long mystery vibe instead of the "crime of the week" structure that makes those CBS dramas so popular.
Here's a show description from Deadline Hollywood:
In Valor, the boundaries between military discipline and human desire are tested on a U.S. Army base that houses an elite unit of helicopter pilots trained to perform clandestine international and domestic missions. The drama unfolds in the present as well as in flashbacks to a failed mission involving one of the first female pilots in the unit, ultimately uncovering layers of personal and government/military secrets and leading to a season-long plan to rescue a group of MIA soldiers.And here's the network promo video:
NBC has high hopes for The Brave, giving it the coveted Monday 10pm ET time slot after The Voice. Previously titled For God and Country, NBC must've switched titles based on some kind of negative impact from marketing studies or focus groups. Hint to NBC: anyone who objected to For God and Country was never going to watch your show anyway and The Brave is a terrible name for your show.
The NBC descriptions carefully refer to the team as a "Special Ops squad" working under the direction of the Defense Intelligence Agency, although one operative in the promo video says, "You're the only SEAL I've ever had who doesn't see a woman first." So, SEALs. Again.
Here's the NBC description of the show:
This fresh, heart-pounding journey into the complex world of America's elite undercover military heroes follows D.I.A. Deputy Director Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche) and her team of analysts as they wield the world's most advanced surveillance technology from headquarters in D.C. All the while, Adam Dalton and his heroic Special Ops squad of highly trained undercover specialists use their unbreakable bond and commitment to freedom to save lives of innocent people and execute missions in some of the most dangerous places in the world.And here's the video:
OK, Fox is stretching the "military" theme with The Orville. The network ordered a pilot based on the 2001 Gene Hackman/Owen Wilson movie Behind Enemy Lines and it was widely expected to be on the schedule. The network may or may not be considering adding the show at a later date, but its fate most likely depends on how well SEAL Team, Valor and The Brave do in the ratings this fall.
Instead we get Seth MacFarlane in The Orville, a show that's an obvious parody of space dramas like Star Trek. And since Star Trek is the science fiction version of the U.S. Navy, let's stretch the definition. Here's the Fox description:
THE ORVILLE is a one-hour science fiction series set 400 years in the future that follows the adventures of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel. Its crew, both human and alien, faces the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the familiar, often humorous problems of regular people in a workplace…even though some of those people are from other planets, and the workplace is a faster-than-light spaceship. In the 25th century, Earth is part of the Planetary Union, a far-reaching, advanced and mostly peaceful civilization with a fleet of 3,000 ships. Down on his luck after a bitter divorce, Planetary Union officer ED MERCER (MacFarlane) finally gets his chance to command one of these ships: the U.S.S. Orville. Determined to prove his worth and write a new chapter in his life, Ed finds that task all the more difficult when the First Officer assigned to his ship is his ex-wife, KELLY GRAYSON (Adrianne Palicki, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Friday Night Lights”).And here's the promo video:
How do these shows look to you? Will you be watching any of them this fall?