With the upcoming debuts of CBS’ SEAL Team, NBC’s The Brave and the CW’s Valor, military dramas are flying the flag this season more than ever. However, at least two of the new series reveal why their broadcasters are good at what they do — and why one of them should stick to that.
Premiering on September 27 right after the season premiere of Survivor, the David Boreanaz-led SEAL Team is the only one of the new trio that really plants its flag and deserves any of your time, as I say in my video review above. It’s an above-average swaggering drama of the type the House of Moonves often airs, with Ben Cavell-created series revolving around the work and workings in and out of the field of an elite Navy SEAL unit.
I’m not saying the Ed Redlich-showrun SEAL is any Zero Dark Thirty or History’s acclaimed and returning Six. However, amid use of terms like “security clearance,” the night vision, CIA liaisons, loss, varied politics and gunfire, this call-to-duty melodrama is often tempered by a melancholy and unadorned approach that goes more Homeland than expected — in a good way.
In the ensemble, Boreanaz offers a nicely layered approach to his often-struggling warrior character; that layering often goes to dark and interesting places. It’s nicely played off of by castmate and Mad Men alum Jessica Pare as an agency officer, and Insecure and ex-The Walking Dead actor Neil Brown Jr. as a trusted fellow SEAL.
Layering, however, is among the things that are absent from both the The Brave (which launches September 25) and Valor (October 9).
The sexed-up and confusing conspiracy themed Valor is a new direction for the CW that proves sometimes it is best to stay in your lane. As for The Brave, which was once called For God & Country, the most bravery one can attribute to clearly Red State-leaning series starring Mike Vogel and Anne Heche is you have to be very brave indeed to sit through it with any level of excitement.
So, click on my video review above to see more of my take on the three series. Tell us which one you are waiting to watch.
This review was originally published on September 14.