Blog 03/05/2021 - MHT Reviews TV's Special Ops Shows

MHT Reviews the Television Networks Rush to Special Operations/Military Programs. Probably with the culminating success of 3 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (also known simply as 13 Hours) the 2016 biographical action war film directed and produced by Michael Bay that followed others such as Act of Valor, Lone Survivor, Zero Dark Thirty, Captain Phillips and American Sniper that highlighted Special Operations (S.O.) in the Global War On Terrorism (GWOT.)

Six - This TV series chronicles the operations and daily lives of operators who are part of the US Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), more commonly known as SEAL Team Six, which is one of the US Armed Forces' primary counter-terrorism units.
The series had star-power with the tremendous Walton Goggins (Justified, The Shield, Sons of Anarchy) is Former Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) "Rip" Taggart. Once the team’s leader, the volatile Taggart has removed his uniform to work private security for a Haliburton-type firm in Nigeria where he is captured by Muslim terrorists from Boko Haram while protecting a girl’s school. This brings his old team to his rescue and to combat Detroit-born Muslim radicalized Michael Nasry (Dominic Adams) the master internet terrorist. The Team is now headed by Senior Chief "Bear" Graves whose marriage to wife Lena is rocky. His number two is Senior Chief "Buddha" Ortiz whose sharp wife Jackie plays a key role. The rest of the team are Chief Alex Caulder, Chief "Fishbait" Khan and Petty Officer 1st Class Chase.

The History Channel didn’t build on the positive 1st Season ratings allowing 16 months to lapse between seasons, changed the broadcast night it was on and did a lousy PR job. The show lost the very popular Goggins but added two new stars Nikolai Nikolaeff as “The Prince” a Chechen/Jihadi Mastermind. Another big star Olivia Munn joined the cast as Gina Cline, a high-level CIA Operations Officer. She is not a love interest but the mission driver. Munn has far from a romantic role as her relentless pursuit of mission success borders on the pathological. She’s unapologetic and passionate about hunting down The Prince.
MHT gives it 4½ Stars as Goggins and Munn are can’t miss. Bad mistake by the History Channel in cancelling Season Three.

The Brave - is a military action-drama series which depicts the missions of a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) elite covert operations team. The series revolves around the professional and personal sacrifices that this team has to face in executing GWOT missions. DIA Deputy Director Campbell (Anne Heche), and her team of analysts Rivera (excellent Sofia Pernas) & Morgenthau (Tate Ellington) have access to the US’s most advanced surveillance technology.

The military team is headed by a former Delta Force Operative, US Army Captain Dalton (Mike Vogel) and his highly qualified squad must save innocent people's lives and face the most dangerous missions around the world. His team of four consist of "Preach" Carter, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, SGT "Jaz" Khan, (Natacha Karam) as the team's sniper, SGT "McG" McGuire, a former Delta Force combat medic and DIA Agent Amir Al-Raisani, the intelligence and technology expert.

MHT gives it 4 Stars as the S.O. team interaction with the DIA Team was developing but NBC canceled it after one season maybe if NBC had called it Chicago: Special Ops Unit it would still be on the air.

Valor – is a series that tests the boundaries between military discipline and human desire in an elite unit of helicopter pilots trained to perform clandestine international and domestic missions. Uh-Oh. It centers on a botched covert mission in Somalia that leaves a pair of Special Force Operatives in enemy hands. 
Christina Ochoa stars as Chief Warrant Officer-3 Madani and one of the first females to ever fly Blackhawks (MH-60Ls) in the Special Operations community as part of the fictional "Shadow Raiders" 186th S.O. Aviation Regiment (based on the real life 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) featured in Black Hawk Down.) She doesn’t exactly advance women in the military unless it is to be a make-up model or be a tensile strength tester of thread in Cammie trousers & t-shirts by wearing them 2 sizes too small!

Although incredibly young CWO3 Madani has served with the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan and been advanced to this elite unit despite becoming addicted to prescription painkillers from a helicopter crash that surprisingly gets her a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with "V" device for valor. She is sleeping with her Pilot-in-Command Captain Gallo (Matt Barr playing the role as a “womanizing hipster flyboy” wearing a beard and long hair like he's in a Special Forces unit but why as he is in garrison stateside) he is also awarded the DFC but there is a huge secret being covered up. Madani is cheating on her boyfriend 1LT Porter, an intelligence officer with the “Shadow Raiders” whose mother Congresswoman Porter, the Chairwoman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence who is actually "Snake Eyes", the leader of the plot to sell uranium to Ukrainian terrorists. One of the POWs is SSG Kam who was Gallo & Madani’s crew chief but is now SSG Cho. CIA Operative Thea enters and she has sexual relationships with both SSG Zoe Cho and CPT Gallo which surprisingly causes some tension in the helo threesome. Thea with their help discovers and exposes her boss Director Magnus of the CIA Special Activities Division as a rouge agent and she is given his post. After the POW is rescued the secret that must never come to the attention of the Army of course does, as both Gallo and Madani are discharged after coming clean about the cover-up they participated in and are immediately hired by Thea to fly for the CIA.

Everything seems just a touch farfetched and the attention to military discipline and procedures is also imaginary. The most believable part of this show is that Congresswoman Porter, the Chairwoman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is in league with Ukrainian Terrorist! If CW had dared to do a second season after all the howling criticism, they could have chased down more corrupt politicians or their sons who brokered the Ukrainian deal for millions! MHT gives this travesty ½ Star for putting a woman into the “Shadow Raiders” but subtracts 4½ for her drug addicted, cheating, lying and often total lack of military bearing.

68 Whiskey - is a military comedy-drama that fails in duplicating the isolated helo-medical hospital magic of M*A*S*H but fails to develop any drama nor comedy. It is based on a Israeli television series that may be better because it has a better-looking cast that is able to act well accept the US version of the show has a goat.

The confusing title is the Army's MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) for Combat Medic 68W (Whisky is the Phonetic Representation of the Letter W.) The stars are Irish Actor Samuel Keely from Tullamore in County Offaly who plays US Army SGT Roback & Gage Golightly a former Nickelodeon child star who plays CPL Durkin, the love interest as well as moonlighting as military Instagram model in a bikini with weapons.

This Hollywood-ese tells that the show is in trouble “Follow a multiethnic mix of men and women deployed as Army medics to a forward operating base in Afghanistan, where they endure a dangerous world that leads to self-destructive appetites, outrageous behavior and intense camaraderie.” I wish there was any of that but instead Ron Howard gives us an opening scene of sex in a storeroom, then transitions into a gambling inspired bare-knuckle fight, a soldier who's buying a truckful of rugs to sell gets killed, our heroes try to steal money from the Army, female Army doctor with the hots for local teenager, soldiers handing off their weapons to locals and trading medical supplies for hash, a soldier clearing a village with a pistol and the big evil is not Muslim Terrorists but a big corporation stealing resources backed by their own mercenary army.

As it is “Women in the Military Month” pass on this show from this review, “As a female in the military, I believe this is a disgrace and needs to be taken off the air!” Afghanistan Veterans were not happy with Ron Howard’s representing them so disgracefully as one said, “I'd like to see a show about Climate Change supporters, Homeless advocates, Illegal Immigration supporters or any other far left group treated the same way.”
This has reviews of great (a few) and a bunch of terrible ones and anytime there is such variance you want to see for yourself like the bank robber in “Dirty Harry” wondering if Callahan fired 5 or 6 rounds declaring: “I gots to know!” Watch this and you’ll hope Harry has a round left in the .44 Magnum chamber! Here is something funnier than any line in the show, but they didn’t have the guts to name the goat Opie! MHT will give it 0 Stars and we are sorry for mentioning M*A*S*H in the same review.

SEAL Team - The series follows an elite unit of United States Navy SEALs and has been the most successful as it is in its fourth season.
The series follows the Tier One Bravo Team, a sub-unit of the US Naval Special Warfare DEVGRU Development Group, as they plan and undertake dangerous missions worldwide with little notice, and the ensuing burdens on them and their families.
Bravo Team is led by Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Jason Hayes - Bravo 1 (always excellent David Boreanaz from Bones) who has led the team for an extended time and is feeling the operation tempo in his body. The new SEAL to the team is Max Thieriot as Clay Spenser a.k.a. Bravo 6/6B, a second-generation Navy SEAL who becomes a Tier One Operator. Jessica Paré is excellent as "Mandy" Ellis, Bravo Team's excellent CIA liaison. The number two is CWO 2 "Ray" Perry (Neil Brown Jr.), former Senior Chief a.k.a. Bravo 2/2B, Jason's most trusted friend and the team’s longest tenured SEAL. The hammer is PO First Class Sonny Quinn (A. J. Buckley) Bravo 3/3B, a loyal but sometimes volatile Texan who is at his best in firefights and grows restless with too much time in garrison. An excellent example for “Women in the Military Month” is Ensign Lisa Davis (Toni Trucks) as former enlisted Logistics Specialist 1C who went to Officer Candidate School to become a DEVGRU Intelligence Officer assigned primarily to Bravo Team. LCDR Eric Blackburn (Judd Lormand) is Bravo Team's professional and dedicated Commanding Officer.

The wives and children are also well represented with real-life problems. The Team is mostly in Afghanistan but has time in Mexico; Belgrade, Serbia; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Monrovia, Liberia; South China Sea; North Korean Coast; Syria; South Sudan; Estonia; Chinese/Pakistan Border; Iraq; Yemen; Mumbai, India; Saudi Arabia; Mali; Guam; Bangladesh; Caracas, Venezuela; Turkmenistan and Niger.
MHT gives Seal Team 5 Stars and CBS is lucky they didn’t react like the other networks (well except CW for the coup de grace of Valor and Paramount for aborting 68 Whiskey) SEAL Team, meanwhile, delivered last Wednesday’s largest audience — north of 4 million viewers beating everything else on CBS all of NBC, FOX & ABC’s offerings making it a good bet for a 5th Season but it is Hollywood after all!

Only reviewing US Network Programs but if you’re looking for a new show try Cinemax’s Strike Back a British/American action-adventure/spy-drama television series based on a novel of the same name by novelist and former Special Air Service soldier Chris Ryan. Colour Sergeant Michael Stonebridge (Peter Stone - Law and Order: Special Victims Unit) is one of the two series protagonists as an Ex-Royal Marine Commando turned Special Boat Service operative.

The other is First Sergeant Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton who plays FBI Agent Kurt Weller in Blindspot) who was a member of the US Army Rangers before joining Delta Force and investigating possible Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. Interestingly Philip Winchester who plays Stonebridge, is an American actor playing a British soldier while Sullivan Stapleton, who plays Scott, is an Australian actor playing an American soldier. Be forewarned the British take a less restrictive approach to violence and clothing.