Monday, November 13, 2017

NEW TV Review: SEAL Team / The Brave

Never have I seen two parallel TV shows on at the same time, doing similar things in such a different fashion, down to the extent that they basically had the same exact premise for their pilot episode. They both have stock, cliche characters that are in painful need of development, but while one tries, badly, to develop those characters, the other makes no real attempt to, but is perfectly okay with that.

To begin with, there is SEAL Team, starring David Boreanaz, who is rapidly approaching 50, and he looks it. He is the epitome of "getting too old for this s**t." The former vampire FBI agent is trying very hard to convince us that he is a SEAL door-kicker burnout waiting to happen, but the only believable part is the burnout. Mr. Boreanaz is dangerously close to joining the Tom Cruise club for actors who don't realize that they're too old to be the sexy heartthrob anymore -- and even Tom Cruise has reached the point in his career where his ego acknowledges that taking body shots to the ego is good for him.

The premise of SEAL Team is simple: Boreanaz is a leader of one of the Teams, and he has just lost his best friend before episode 1 begins. His marriage is on the rocks, and his buddy may have left a secret behind. And meanwhile, there's a new recruit going through training, the offspring of "a SEAL who wrote a book" ... so, Richard Marcinko, I guess. The two storylines had diverged after the pilot, and appear to have no chance of intersecting ever again.

Half of every episode seems to be dedicated to the home life of the SEALs: the burnout, the marriage, the newbie getting a college coed into the sack... ie: pure melodrama. The other half is dedicated to some well assembled action pieces.

I think I would rather bring back The Unit.

At the end of the day, it's hard for me to care about any of the characters here. The pilot episode had Michael Rooker as the head of SEAL training. He had less than five minutes for the first episode, and has disappeared. I would have rather had a TV show about him.

I must admit though, I like their CIA spook, played by blatantly hot Jessica Paré -- that's not a complaint. She's got surprising amounts of depth in her character, even in the first episode. I didn't know that spies were allowed to be human. Pity that Team members aren't allowed to be.

Cliche characters out of central casting, poor development, half of each episode is boring melodrama, broken up at the end with some action pieces. If you watch the show, bring your fast forward button, and don't watch it live.

On a good day, 5/10.  At most. I recommend finding old episodes of The Unit instead.

Then we have The Brave ... who also have a collection of stock characters. Seriously, these people are so cliche, some of their character names are probably labels that they had in their notes. The Brave is seriously plot heavy, and character light. The most vivid character with the best overall development is the guest du jour, especially in the first few episodes. Everyone else is a collection of personality traits, not people.

You've got the petite female sniper, who wants to be Michelle Rodriquez when she grows up. There's the white bread leader be named Dalton -- I don't know if they wanted to steal from the original or the new MacGyver ... though he's way more tolerable than the more recent version. There's the obligatory skinny Muslim, the spiritual black guy literally named "Preach."

At this point in the series, one of their most interesting characters is analyst Noah Morgenthau, who has already had an episode where he got to insist that he's "just an analyst, not a field agent." I actually want to see more of that guy than the actual shooters. I could seem him groomed for Scott Murphy at some point down the line.

Overall, the series is a plot in search of personality for the main characters. But the stories themselves are good, some nice witticisms here and there. I don't really hate this show. They want to be military fiction Mission: Impossible, and they sometimes manage it, though the original Mission: Impossible had more charisma from the beginning. I can honestly say that the show is getting better as it goes along. At its worst, 6/10. At its best, maybe 8/10. 

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