The Roku Original show was produced by Blumhouse Television and We Are the Mighty, the military-focused media company founded and run by former MTV exec David Gale. It was made in 2019 and intended for Quibi, the short-lived mobile streaming service. After Roku acquired the Quibi portfolio last January, the show’s release finally came into focus. All Roku Originals stream on the free, ad-supported Roku Channel, which reaches households with 70 million people via Roku’s platforms as well as outlets like Amazon Fire and select Samsung smart TVs.
The production secured the co-operation of the U.S. Army, enabling it to foreground five individual recruits among the larger crowd going through training at Fort Jackson, SC. According to the show’s backers, it had been more than two decades since the Army has allowed cameras to capture such extensive footage. Material includes sequences like overhead drone shots of live munitions training. (Check out the trailer above.)
In an interview with Deadline, Colonel Jack Jacobs (ret.), Medal of Honor recipient and executive producer for Ten Weeks said the show was inspired by a book he wrote, Basic: Surviving Boot Camp and Basic Training. When he was a producer at NBC, he talked about the idea of a series that would “give people a flavor of what it is like going through basic training.”
While the experience used to be widely understood in American society, without a military draft requiring service of all American adults, that is much less the case today. Even though there are 1.4 million Army soldiers and 19 million veterans, Jacobs added, “Statistically, most Americans do not know anybody in uniform. We thought it would be really important and interesting and exciting to highlight the efforts of people, young people, who are out there defending the other 320 million of us.”
The five central characters come from different walks of life. One young woman, having given birth to a son at age 18 after growing up in difficult circumstances, has enlisted in the Army in search of a better life for him. Another, who had been bullied as a younger student, is seeking self-improvement and the esteem of the father of his girlfriend, who he intends to marry.
Chase Millsap, an Army Special Forces veteran and executive producer of Ten Weeks, is also the chief content officer for We Are the Mighty. “A lot of us” involved with making the show, he told Deadline, “had been to boot camp and had gone through that.” The aim of the show was to “give audiences a raw and real depiction of what life is really like for everyday civilians that choose to serve their country.”
Ten Weeks is directed by Chris Rowe and produced by Brandon Wait. The series was executive produced by Jason Blum, Jeremy Gold, Marci Wiseman, Mary Lisio, Chris Rowe, David Gale, Chase Millsap, Colonel Jack Jacobs, Val Nicholas.
“For those choosing to join the United States Army, their journey from citizen to soldier begins with basic training,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston, the senior most enlisted leader of the U.S. Army. “Ten Weeks offers an inside look at the transformation they undertake to serve a cause greater than themselves. I encourage every American to reflect on how grateful we are to live in a country where young men and women answer the call to service.”