The Pacific is an epic 10-part miniseries that delivers a realistic portrait of WWII’s Pacific Theatre as seen through the intertwined odysseys of three U.S. Marines – Robert Leckie, John Basilone and Eugene Sledge. The extraordinary experiences of these men and their fellow Marines take them from the first clash with the Japanese in the haunted jungles of Guadalcanal, through the impenetrable rain forests of Cape Gloucester, across the blasted coral strongholds of Peleliu, up the black sand terraces of Iwo Jima, through the killing fields of Okinawa, to the triumphant, yet uneasy, return home after V-J Day. The viewer will be immersed in combat through the intimate perspective of this diverse, relatable group of men pushed to the limit in battle both physically and psychologically against a relentless enemy unlike any encountered before. – HBO
9 out of 10
Well it’s DVR time, folks. HBO is airing all ten episodes of the award-winning and critically acclaimed World War II mini-series, The Pacific on today, Veteran’s Day starting at 11:00 a.m., and it is in your best interest to record it if you haven’t seen it already.
Executive Produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, The Pacific is without a doubt one of the top five events ever aired on television. The number one event would be the Spielberg/Hanks companion World War II mini-series from 2001, Band of Brothers.
The problem I had when I first watched The Pacific is that I expected it to be exactly like Band of Brothers and although, like Band of Brothers, it is extremely combat-heavy and the special effects are amazing and cinema-quality (by the way, this series was MADE for Blu-Ray), it is a much different series.
Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone (1916-1945)
Whereas Band of Brothers focuses on the men of E-Z company as an ensemble but no one specifically, The Pacific focuses on the 1st Marines Division in the aggregate but more specifically on the stories of the three major characters as noted in the description, Eugene Sledge, Robert Leckie and the most famous of all, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, John Basilone, who is one of my personal heroes. That alone distinguishes it from Band of Brothers but as significant is the focus on the non-combat aspects of the lives of these three men and the Marines in The Pacific theater. There are two complete episodes that literally have no combat in them whatsoever, focusing on the personal aspects of the character’s lives and their struggles after returning home.
The whole series is magnificently done from beginning to end and as an American who appreciates the history associated with this era, personally having several family members who served in the Pacific Theater, I applaud Spielberg and Hanks for bringing to life the stories of these men.
Over the years, within the media and popular culture, the Pacific Theater, in my opinion, has been woefully ignored in favor of the stories surrounding the European Theater. By saying this, I don’t mean denigrate the sacrifices made by those brave men and women who served in the European Theater against Hitler’s war machine, but rather, I simply want to highlight that both theaters were equally as important in the scope of the war effort and we should never forget that. Spielberg and Hanks have not.
If I were to have one complaint about The Pacific it would be that it does take a little while for the story to pick up (about four episodes) but when it does, the series is damned near perfect.
Part Five of the Seven Six Part Series (This has been edited because I realized that there’s nothing on Saturdays but College Football, COPS and America’s Most Wanted. Do you really need a review of those?)
The CW: Smallville (September 24, 2010)
Vic: The final season of Smallville begins this fall and we have Clark Kent finally on the cusp of eventually becoming what he is destined to become: Superman… the ‘Man of Steel.’ This season is what we Smallville fans all have been waiting nine years for. We have all hung in there through some exceptional stories, heart-wrenching losses, great heroes and villians and now it would appear that the baddest of the bad is coming to Smallville: Darkside is looking to take over our planet it seems that Clark will have no choice now but to jump into those tights that Mrs. Kent has been saving for him all these years… or does Lois have them now? That is why you must tune in and continue hanging in with what has been one of the most enduring Sci-Fi, Fantasy Dramas in recent TV memory. Smallville still has the chops. The performances are still great all the way around. Tom Welling still proves that season after season he can command every scene he is in and even in lighter moments he shows us an endearing and clumsy side. Erica Durance as Lois is quick, sharp and she has range. She proves that she has mettle as Lois up against Welling’s Clark. I can’t say enough about Allison Mack as Chloe. I just can’t wait to see how this all turns out this season. I for one hope to see the big guy finally fly and soar this season and hope you all watch as well.
In this drama based on a graphic novel of the same name, Mark Valley plays Christopher Chance, a for-hire bodyguard and private investigator who integrates himself into his clients’ lives so that he becomes a target instead of them. Assuming a new identity for each job, Chance relies on the help of his associates Winston (Chi McBride) and Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley), but he can’t outrun his past — or the secrets driving his odd choice of work. -FOX
Shawn: Alright, so this is a little out of the norm because I normally don’t put show descriptions in with previews of returning shows. I’ve made the exception with Human Target because I think it’s a show that too many people are unaware of because it was a mid-season replacement last year and unfortunately, FOX will most likely kill it by putting it on Friday night where they put all shows to die. I cover this sad state of affairs in my column regarding the changing network attitudes towards Friday night prime-time and how FOX is, as usual up to the same old bag of tricks (read it here). So, it’s basically like this: I am on a crusade for the critically acclaimedHuman Target because it was one of the best new shows on television last year and needs everyone’s support.
The description is a little misleading. Chance doesn’t just have a mysterious past, he’s a former freelance assassin who was a really bad dude, completely amoral who had a seminal moment in his life that made him reevaluate his own personal morality and vow to use his skills to protect people from now on. It’s a fast-paced action show based on the DC Comics Graphic Novel and they couldn’t have picked anyone better for this role of Christopher Chance than Mark Valley as the dashing yet compassionate former assassin (…and I’m just thrilled to see that Mark Valley finally has regular gig!). The supporting cast is fantastic with Chi McBride (Boston Public, The Nine) as Winston, the gruff, former San Francisco police detective who works with Chance to keep him ahead of the game and regularly uses his connections from the old job to help Chance on his missions. Then you have the other, more mysterious and far more deadly Guerrero, played by Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, A Nightmare on Elm Street) who is a hi-tech wizard and a former associate of Chance’s in his prior profession but unlike Chance, really hasn’t had a change of heart, he’s just helping out an old buddy, but he does have a very strict personal moral code that abides by religiously.
Great action, unique stories, wonderfully written and compelling characters are the hallmarks of this show. I highly recommend that you set time aside on Friday for Human Target (or at least Divver it).
Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) was in a class of her own, a brilliant neurosurgeon at the top of her game. Her world is turned upside down when a devastating car accident puts an end to her time in the operating room. Megan resumes her career as a medical examiner determined to solve the puzzle of who or what killed the victims. Megan’s instincts are sharp, but she’s developed a reputation for graying the lines of where her job ends and where the police department’s begins. It turns out her career isn’t the only thing that will need to be rebuilt; Megan’s family has taken a backseat to her ambition, and now she’ll discover there’s a lot of work to do when it comes to dissecting her relationships with the living. – ABC
Shawn: If it hasn’t become abundantly clear by now, I really dislike procedurals in general. It doesn’t matter if it’s police, law, medical, detective… whatever, I really have no use for them. And it’s not that this show looks particularly awful, because it doesn’t. It’s just the same thing I’ve seen time and again which is also one of the big reasons I have no use for sit-coms. There’s just no originality in any of these programs and with the incredible batch of new shows that have come out this season, it’s not like there is a lack of originality in Hollywood, it’s just not being utilized enough.
What bugs me the most is that the procedurals don’t have to be unoriginal. Hollywood producers and execs choose to go that route because it’s safe and easy to pitch to advertisers and the general viewing audience. For example, NCIS is by definition a procedural, but it’s still a good show because of how original it always has been. Body of Proof doesn’t have anything resembling an original premise. Not even the title is original, which like most procedurals and sitcoms reverts to the use of cringe-worthy “clever” double-meanings for phrases and words to convey a commonly known phrase to attract the audience’s attention, e.g., House, The Whole Truth, Outlaw, Grey’s Anatomy, Rules of Engagement, Raising Hope, Running Wilde, The Biggest Loser, Bones and Blue Bloods. That’s just from this Fall. I didn’t even mention the stupidest one of all, HawthoRNe (well… now I have). This show literally is a hybrid of Quincy, Crossing Jordan, CSI, House and Everwood. Like I said, Body of Proof doesn’t look awful, and it does have a good cast, but it just looks ordinary.
FOX: The Good Guys (September 24, 2010)
From Matt Nix (“Burn Notice”), comes THE GOOD GUYS, a new action comedy about what happens when an old-school cop and a modern-day detective expose the big picture of small crime.
Once upon the 1970s, DAN STARK (Bradley Whitford) and his partner, Frank Savage, were big-shot Dallas detectives. So big, in fact, that they were lauded as American heroes after saving the Governor’s son. Thirty years later, Dan Stark is a washed-up detective who spends most of his time drunk or re-hashing his glory days. A stranger to modern police work who would much rather trust his old-school police instincts, Dan has the reputation as being a bit of a wild card. Able to skate by on the heroic deeds of his yesteryear, he is still a semi-active presence on the force, and with the help of his liquor of choice, occasionally comes through to solve a petty crime.
Dan’s new partner, JACK BAILEY (Colin Hanks), is an ambitious, by-the-book and overall good detective, but is sometimes a bit too snarky for his own good. His habit of undermining himself has earned him a dead-end position in the department, and he is stuck solving annoying petty theft cases that nobody else wants. Worse, he’s been given the thankless task of babysitting Dan, the drunk pariah who can never keep partners for long. Jack may not see it, but he has little chance of getting out of his situation; his knack for making enemies at the station has assured he is not going anywhere.
His only ally is ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY LIZ TRAYNOR (Jenny Wade), a quick witted former girlfriend whom Jack hasn’t quite gotten over and the one person he turns to for help with his current professional predicament. Until Jack finds his way out of this situation, he is stuck awaiting the day when he can turn everything around, get back to solving actual cases and return to being a real detective.
On one fairly typical day, as Jack and Dan are pursuing a Code 58, the Dallas police code for routine investigations, which puts them hot on the case of a stolen humidifier, they inadvertently become engaged in a shootout over a stolen golf bag belonging to a notorious drug smuggler. This starts Jack and Dan on a wild chase to retrieve the bag, recover the contents inside and go after the drug smuggler – all while dodging his hired assassin!
The excitement of the case reminds Dan of the way he and Frank busted punks back in the good old days, and he convinces Jack to go along for the ride. Needless to say, many departmental rules are again broken in the reckless pursuit, showing their boss, LIEUTENANT ANA RUIZ (Diana Maria Riva), that Jack and Dan will be spending many more days in the Property Crimes Division, assigned to investigate seemingly minor crimes in order to keep them out of major trouble.
Shawn: Yep, I broke the rule again about not posting show description in regards to returning shows (well… not technically as this is just a continuation of the first season that went on hiatus at the end of August.). But again, like with Human Target, I have to do this to counteract FOX’s continued insanity regarding good shows left to die on Friday night. For the point of brevity (and because copy and pasting is a helluva lot easier) here’s the skinny on how FOX is abusing this show as I mentioned in the same column that I discussed Human Target.
It’s not even remotely fair what they’re doing to The Good Guys even by FOX’s idiotic standards, premiering it on a Monday in the middle of May when all of the other shows are wrapping up, letting it run for nine episodes over the summer and then dumping it into Friday night because it didn’t catch fire fast enough for them.
Simple, but to the point… it’s the same standard operating procedure that they’ve used with Human Target and countless other shows.
Now that the rant is complete, I really like The Good Guys. It is very funny and full of action and Hanks and Whitmore play off each other brilliantly.
CBS: Blue Bloods (September 24, 2010 – NEW SERIES!)
BLUE BLOODS is a drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement. Frank Reagan is the New York City Police Commissioner and heads both the police force and the Reagan brood. He runs his department as diplomatically as he runs his family, even when dealing with the politics that plagued his unapologetically bold father, Henry, during his stint as Chief. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son Danny, a seasoned detective, family man, and Iraqi War vet who on occasion uses dubious tactics to solve cases. The sole Reagan woman in the family, Erin, is a N.Y. Assistant D.A. and newly single parent, who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father. Jamie is the youngest Reagan, fresh out of Harvard Law and the family’s “golden boy;” however, unable to deny the family tradition, Jamie decided to give up a lucrative future in law and is now a newly minted cop. Jamie’s life takes an abrupt turn when he’s asked to become part of a clandestine police investigation even his father knows nothing about, and one that could impact the family’s legacy. – CBS
Shawn: Blue Bloods is one of the most anticipated dramas this Fall for good reason. Simply look at this cast. Your leads are Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, and Bridget Moynihan… all television and film superstars (Len Cariou is no slouch either). Superstars like that don’t just arbitrarily sign on to do a show if they don’t already know it’s brilliant. The concept is definitely unique. An original cop show that focuses on a multigenerational family of cops and all of the dynamics that go along with that. I’m very excited about Blue Bloods.
Few jobs are guaranteed for a lifetime, and a Supreme Court appointment is a position that no one ever quits – unless he is Cyrus Garza (Smits). A playboy and a gambler, Justice Garza always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law until he realized the system he believed in was flawed. Now, he’s quit the bench and returned to private practice.
Using his inside knowledge of the justice system, Garza and his team will travel across the country taking on today’s biggest and most controversial legal cases.
Garza’s team includes his best friend since childhood, Al Druzinsky (David Ramsey), a brilliant defense attorney with liberal beliefs; Mereta Stockman (Ellen Woglom), a hopeless romantic who is Garza’s loyal law clerk; Lucinda Pearl (Carly Pope), a wildly unorthodox private investigator who uses her sex appeal and wit to gather information for Garza; and Eddie Franks (Jesse Bradford), a tightly wound, rabidly ambitious Yale-educated attorney, recently hired as Garza’s law clerk. – NBC
Shawn: I’ve already done a complete review for Outlaw, here. It is by far the worst drama on television.