Premiered January 19 at 10pm
I don’t think I’ve watched a show on the History Channel, known simply as History since 2008, before. That’s mainly because I tend to watch only scripted television, even if history does appeal to me quite a bit. I’ve seen a number of series on History’s sister network A & E, though they cancelled my favorite, “Longmire,” so I haven’t tuned in for a while. Now, History is producing a relatively high-profile drama series about Navy SEAL Team Six, best known for taking out Osama Bin Laden as shown in the spectacular film “Zero Dark Thirty.” Unfortunately, this show can’t come close to that, showing the lives of a number of team members which are all filled with the inability to keep up relationships, money problems, and a general sense that they’re not themselves unless they’re “over there” doing what they do best. The big name at the head of all this is Walton Goggins, famous for “The Shield” and “Justified,” and I think that while he’s usually really great, his talents are relatively wasted here as a now captive, sometimes coolly psychotic SEAL whose identity has just been revealed to the entire world on television. I prefer him in his current role on HBO’s “Vice Principals.” There’s no one else from the cast that stands out, and this show can’t decide if it wants to be a military action drama or a more sentimental story about life on the homefront. Neither is all that compelling. This first episode was directed by “Homeland” regular Lesli Linka Glatter, but the influence that’s much more felt is that of high-powered producer Harvey Weinstein, who wants to make something grand here but doesn’t manage to accomplish that.
How will it work as a series? There’s the big twist that there’s an American involved on the other side of the operation here, and I find that relatively hard to believe, especially because the guy talking about being from Detroit before he was so casually executed by Goggins’ Rip felt very out of place. Apparently Harvey has discussed how each season will feature a different war, but that could mean a totally different set of characters if these ones doesn’t survive this war.
How long will it last? I’m not sure this is what Americans want to be watching right now, though those who enjoy watching History regularly may find that it’s right up their alley. The reviews haven’t been great, and I’m not sure exactly what to make of the ratings. With Harvey behind it, I suspect that this will be able to make it to a second season and beyond if he so decrees.
Pilot grade: C