Saturday Matinee 2016 03: SIX (Television, 2017)

You can almost see the pitch meeting as you watch the show… kind of like a scene from The Producers, but not funny:

“Hey, let’s have a show about an Elite Super Ninja military special operations unit. Let’s hire a high-profile vet as a military advisor so we get all the details of uniforms and weapons right, because the rubes in flyover country, and their slackjawed banjo-playing chump kids who signed up, care about that crap. But let’s make the characters reflect our own Hollywood values, and make sure that their real conflict is internal in the unit, nothing to do with the actual war they’re waging against actual hadjis. Let’s leave no well-worn cliché or trope unmolested. And PROFIT!!!”

No, we’re not reviewing The Unit, the David Mamet-helmed series about Delta that started off with a somewhat realistic pilot, and after four years had so lost the plot, that the fifth year story arc, which was mercifully canceled a-borning, was going to be about a unit member’s personal battle with homophobes. (We were sure we already reviewed that series, but searching the archives tells us we didn’t). We’re reviewing SIX, a series that appears to have been produced by A&E but then fobbed off on the History Channel, a late night filler in place of their usual crap about Sasquatch, junk pickers, and ghosts.

And, somewhat cruelly, we’re reviewing it based only on the pilot. Normally we’d give a show a few episodes, or watch the whole thing, because shows do change, characters do develop, writers do find a voice. But a pilot normally gets more care and resources, because the show runners know it’s their best single chance to win, or alienate, an audience.

Consider us alienated.

Before the first commercial break, the protagonist commits multiple atrocities, scalping a slain enemy and murdering another who is in hands-up-don’t-shoot mode. Yeah, they went there, the same tired place that damn near every Hollywood turkey about Iraq or Afghanistan goes. There’s also a hint of a coming racism plot, because you flyover-country rubes need to hear more repetitions of poorly educated but attractive philosophers hectoring you with their deep philosopy: racism is bad m’kay? 

Our guess is that most vets didn’t make it to that first commercial break. But we watch these things so that you don’t have to.

If you hung on like we did, you got to see Our Hero get taken captive.

After production, they then began to worry, and there was a sort of PSA on the commercial break with the principal actors, in costume, talking about their respect and support for “the troops.” You know, those guys that they portray as victim / monsters. Us.

Gee, Hollywood people. Thanks. We’ve never been supported quite like this before.

Another amazing thing: the writer/show runner is a Vietnam vet as a Marine officer, and he only spent half his tour in Saigon as a general’s aide. We guess his objective is to treat vets of the current wars like his Hollywood pals treated him when he got back 50 years ago.

Acting and Production

The actors are competent at their craft and you never think “oh, he’s really acting there”. They’re all relative unknowns, but they’d be credible in their characters, if the writers have given them credible lines, something the writers largely have not done. In just one episode, the characters are very broadly drawn:

  • The Hispanic guy is the Man Who Is Torn between Mission and Family. He agrees to go on one last mission. (We all know what that means, in the ‘Wood, but spoiler: he has not croaked by the end of the pilot. Yet).
  • There’s the Christian Family Man who doesn’t see the Crisis of Conscience Coming, no matter how often they stomp a foot three times so that the audience knows this is coming. 
  • There’s the Rebellious Free Thinker who Will Turn Out to be Right, a little bit of Hollywood among all these meat-eaters.
  • There’s the Guy So Troubled By His Conscience that he….

Well, you get the idea. The team’s wives all have the same role: woman who is long-suffering victim of her man’s war lust/adrenaline addiction. And they’re setting up a conflict with an enemy mastermind who doesn’t just hate America, he hates America for how these specific SEALs have abused him. Bad, naughty America. Bad, naughty SEALs.

Bad SEAL, no herring.

For a war drama, the budget was probably too low. (If it wasn’t, it just wasn’t spent wisely). A director has several jobs, including getting the best performance out of the actors, setting and staging the scenes, getting it all down, and editing it. This is a show done in the handheld-camera-and-rapid-cuts style, which seems far more popular among entertainment makers than entertainment viewers.

It was shot on location, if California is Afghanistan and North Carolina is Nigeria. In all seriousness, little if any care has been taken to scout and find realistic locations. We recall a low-budget Iraq movie that was shot, successfully, in Minnesota. How? Careful location selection and set construction. (Where do you get a desert in Minnesota? They used a sand quarry and lots of close-in shots. Sounds ugly, but it worked).

Accuracy and Weapons

Of course, you can’t have SEALs without weapons, and unlike literally any other aspect of this show, the care taken with the weapons and equipment comes across. It’s almost as if they thought “well, if we equip these guys right people will miss the emetic plot and coarse characterization!” None of the guns are glaringly wrong, and they show them running suppressed. (They do seem to run without armor more than in the real world).

There are even MP7s, not available to you, because you suck and HK (and the US Congress) hate you, but always available to Hollywood. Because it’s a national priority for you to be disarmed, but a higher national priority for you to be propagandized.

After all, it’s important to look good — that’s a value shared by Hollywood and the actual SEALs, so they have that in common.

The “night vision goggles” were mock-ups of the real thing, and it must be a challenge to act when you’ve got a hunk of opaque plastic in front of your face.  But they do pull it off.

The village they raid has an exact resemblance to the same Afghan village used in every single war flick for the last fifteen years, and if you look closely, you’ll see it’s the same old Western village, just with the set dressed a little differently.

The tactics are a mess, but that’s arguably story-driven — real tactics wouldn’t register on camera, much. They had a SEAL who has gone from the usual quasi-Hollywood life to a real Hollywood life as adviser, and one gets the impression that the writers (a father-and son team, the son being said to be a “military special operations veteran” with no more detail) and director only trusted him on the small details. The result is a strange mismatch of small-detail accuracy and big-picture wrongness that is probably more jarring for an Afghanistan special-ops vet than for a member of the general public, but it’s got to be jarring for anybody.

One of the small details they do get right is some of the dialogue. While there’s never as much witty repartee in actual combat as movies show, there’s usually quite a bit in team rooms, and it usually takes the form of picking at personal details. (We used to make fun of a teammate’s thumbs, which had an unusually short last joint, until he became hyperconscious of them).

And again, the depiction of team dynamics (very different among frogmen then among us SF types) is not all bad. One scene from the pilot shows “new guy” Robert Chase struggling to catch up, using demolition “school solutions” in shoot-house training, while the guys are less than helpful, leaving him to sink or swim. (Many viewers may miss this, but the second time he blows the door, he gets it right: he swims, although the experienced teammates give him scant credit). This is very reminiscent of The Unit, in that SIX was so close. It could have been good.

Actor playing Afghan-American, left. Did nothing of note in the pilot.

Another thing where credit is due is that the enemy is depicted, accurately, as radical islamists. They counterweight that with hints of a backstory about how the real moslem villain, an American, was pushed to it by bad old America, and with a loyal Afghan-American on the team (he barely registered in the pilot, easily mistaken for an interpreter, but they presumably have plans for the character).

While we’re mercifully spared Hollywood gunplay, “dual-wielding whilst flying through the air,” the pilot for SIX may have the single most pathetically wrong Hollywood explosion in the whole sad history of cut-budget special effects. A truck meant to be a VBIED “blows up” in a classically fake fireball and its blast kills all the “Afghan forces” approaching. But the fire and smoke clears to show the truck has been mildly scorched.  There are probably a million Americans who have seen what a truck bomb detonation, or at least its aftermath, looks like, and nobody connected with this production thought to find one and ask him or her. Suffering Cecil B. Demille, that’s lazy. (Lazy is not a word I usually connect with TV and movie production people. Hollywood people may not share Americans’ values, but they work like John Henry at the coal mine).

None of the civilian trucks are right for Afghanistan either, probably a function of budget.

The sounds of combat are very muted, probably so the dialogue can be heard. As a result, the suppressed weapons are even quieter than the usual production, but at least they sound like guns and not the usual Hollywood “thwip.”

About the “Got Your Six” Certification they’re Boasting About

The show claims “Got Your Six” certification, which is something that is claimed to make it veteran-friendly. You should look for films that purse this certification and avoid them like ebola; it’s a partnership between a gang of usual Hollywood suspects and the Democratic Party veterans’ group, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, itself is a major promoter of the “broken tripwire vet” myth. However, they do bestow the certification, unsought, on popular movies as well, so you shouldn’t necessarily avoid the films like ebola… it’s possible that they never asked to be certified by the “oh-the-poor-veterans” crowd.

At this rate, the Taliban is as likely to make an honest film about the war as Hollywood.

The bottom line

SIX is about five and a half short. Not only are there better war shows out there, there are better war shows about SEALs. Yes, there is a certain unfairness in writing a harsh review when only one episode has aired… but we don’t see this going anywhere but down, and frankly, our time has value. If people were begging us, we might watch the next episode, but according to the numbers, not many watched the first, and I’ll be surprised if half of them are back next week for Episode 2.

For more information

These sites relate to this particular show.

  • Amazon.com DVD page:

https://www.amazon.com/SIX-Sneak-Peek/dp/B01NBM2MZ8/

  • Show home page at History

http://www.history.com/shows/six/

  • IMDB page:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5541338/

  • IMFDB page: (none yet)
  • Rotten Tomatoes review page: (60%)

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/six/s01/

  • Infogalactic  page: (none yet_
  • History v. Hollywood page: (none yet)

92 thoughts on “Saturday Matinee 2016 03: SIX (Television, 2017)

  1. Sommerbiwak

    I share your view of the unit as a near miss. The first season was good by usual TV standards, but when a later season’s episode is on the tele I see the HH6es having some standard desperate housewives drama? Or something? And that although the COL is the mercury T-1000. :-(

    The SIX show does not seem too interesting. I mean, really how many “true” seal stories are out there? Just collect a best of of all the tall tales from former seal’s autobiographies. Yes, may be far from truth, but should make for an entertaining television show.

    And I think for a military show special forces, seals etc should be relatively cheap budget wise. I mean you dont need tanks or jets or big sets. Focus on the more or less covert missions and lots of drama can develop from interaction with the locals. Like on a training and advisory mission for a local militia. Tadaaa lots of problems through culture clash and tribal politics. Good friend of mine was OMLT in AFG and well, those stories are unbelievable. And hilarious how afghans go about tanking.

    1. Buckaroo

      The key to enjoying “The Unit” is to hit the fast-forward button on your remote every time a woman appears on screen. Once you figure this out, it turns an ok show into a pretty good show.

  2. Badger

    Thanks for taking the bullet. Being deploraable I’ll embrace the contempt and do 1 of a large number of other things instead. You put my economic “opportunity loss” model in a good place.

  3. Jim Scrummy

    Thank you kind sir for sparing me the agony of this crapola. How do I know it’s crapola? Well anything produced by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, is crapola. That’s my metric. My time is valuable, and the hours are getting shorter. Nothing against the actors, they’ve gotta eat.

  4. Kirk

    I’ve often thought about what a realistic portrayal of the military would have to look like, and upon reflection… I don’t think it would sell. The guys who did that “Enlisted” show a few years back came the closest, but I couldn’t gin up the interest or motivation to really want to watch the damn thing. I may need to go back and take a second look…

    The problem with the whole thing is that waaaaaaaaaaay too much “mind programming” happens on the street, when we are kids. How many of the 1950s/1960s generations modeled their behavior on John Wayne, in his various contemporary military incarnations? Lots of us.

    Human beings are basically mimicry mechanisms–We are constantly taking in things, observing them, and then using what we see to make sense of the universe around us, process it, and determine how to behave. There are all these little scripts running around in our heads, from crap we saw/experienced as infants onward–You can see that shit play out in marriages, in that the partners will very often wind up reenacting the exact same scenes they saw play out in front of them as children in their own later marriages.

    The media influences us through all this crap, and it’s one reason I’m extremely ambivalent about the Haye’s board and so forth. Yeah, it is restraint on artistic expression, and probably untrue to real life, but… I strongly suspect that a lot of the rot in our culture, and a reason why it has happened so quickly comes down to the nihilism and self-hatred expressed in popular culture and the media. It’s not all coming from academia–Much of this shit stems from Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment complex. I don’t think it’s at all a coincidence that the decay of the inner city culture has come at the same time as “gangsta’ rap” became a thing. Listen to that shit, and pay attention to what is being said, in it–Total nihilism, hopelessness, and not one fucking positive or uplifting message. And, we wonder why people are behaving the way they are…

    Ours is the first culture to really have the kind of mass media and immersive entertainment capabilities that we do. I think that we’re going to find out that having that shit means paying close and careful attention to what is said and done in it, because of the natural human bent towards mimicry. “Monkey see, monkey do…” ain’t just a casual truism brought down to us from the ancients.

    1. KenWats

      I always thought “F Troop” was pretty realistic. I hummed the theme many command maintenance mondays.

      1. Kirk

        Well, that and Sergeant Bilko…

        Actually, it probably isn’t accidental that the most realistic portrayals of the military are all comedies, and they were all made back when a far higher percentage of the population had military experience.

    2. John M.

      “The media influences us through all this crap, and it’s one reason I’m extremely ambivalent about the Haye’s board and so forth. Yeah, it is restraint on artistic expression, and probably untrue to real life, but… I strongly suspect that a lot of the rot in our culture, and a reason why it has happened so quickly comes down to the nihilism and self-hatred expressed in popular culture and the media.”

      This.

      -John M.

    3. aczarnowski

      This quote from Neal Stephenson in his In the Beginning was the Command Line came immediately to mind while reading your thoughts Kirk:

      A huge, rich, nuclear-tipped culture that propagates its core values through media steepage seems like a bad idea.

      1. Kirk

        Never ceases to amaze me how much contiguity I’m observing between the influences I’ve had on my “life of the mind” and other folks on here. I’d have wagered that few other people you might stereotype as likely to be reading and posting on here besides myself have ever read that Stephenson essay, or would have gotten Hognose’s reference to Pournelle and Niven’s CoDominium stuff like Mote.

        All too often through my career in the Army and outside life, I have had to spend fifteen minutes trying to explain every obscure background reference I made, when they got looks of confusion. After awhile, I quit explaining, and just lived with being that weird dude who talks funny and uses big words.

        This may scare the hell out of Hognose, but this place is starting to feel positively home-like, in an intellectual sense…

  5. LCPL Martinez USMC

    Personally, I’m sick and tired of SEALs on primetime, mind you I think SEALs (plenty of former Marines among them), but of late, all we hear about are SEAL this and SEAL that, everytime I see their crest/emblem in the book shelves of Barnes & Noble, I’m all like here we go again, some survival, work-out, all-about-me story.

    The logo’s over-marketed. Remember when Gen. Vaught told them to knock it off with all the self-promotion? LOL! classic , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b32ExhbKNDw&t=3m10s

    Last week, I saw Luttrell’s mug right behind Gov. Perry in his confirmation hearing, what the hell was he doing there? SEALs are like Victoria Secret models of the early 2000s, ie. they’re everywhere! All they need are angel wings , LOL!

    They should do a reality series of that SEAL that turned into a woman, that I think would be more interesting. But these ‘damn few’ themed shows and books, although bright and shiny, detract from the real military IMHO. For the rest of the country, it’s kinda dangerous to think of their military as NFL or MMA stars.

    I’m a big fan of Jake Tapper’s “the Outpost” , maybe build a show around that?

    1. bloke_from_ohio

      Enlisted was quite hokey from time to time. But it absolutely nailed the “this is stupid but we are doing it anyway!” aspect of military life. The characters were silly stereotypes and the plots were goofy, but there was a lot of truth lurking beneath it all. Unusually, the treatment of the emotional/psychological costs of war (survivors guilt more than PTSD) was neither the patronizing “poor broken veteran” or the dismissive “veterans are hair trigger monsters waiting to kill everyone” type so common in the media. There is a bit about Rangeretes, but it is actually not the “girl power all the way!” screed that you normally see. The way they portray military service as a generational or family affair was quite refreshing.

      If you are willing to watch Enlisted as a satirical homage or lovingly crafted parody of the sillier aspects of military life, then it is probably one of the better shows on the subject around. It was canceled early, so it won’t take long to see the whole thing.

      1. LCPL Martinez 29

        Thanks, man. I’ll definitely check this out, I’ve heard of it, but never really thought of watching it, til now.

      1. Boat Guy

        Then you should follow it up with Clint Romesha’s “Red Paltoon” if you haven’t already…

  6. TBoone

    I also thank you for taking one for the team by watching this… The promos just raised more flags than interest. I can now see why. Ugh… And I have been re-watching 13 Hours a bunch as it’s in cable rotation. Seems pretty well done & has a sense of what comments/jibes/stories of high achievers in dangerous situations ‘might’ be like. Had the Truth feel to it. The facts of the story seemed to be close to the facts I am aware of…. Am almost over my blood lust for the AmoralCowardlyPatheticScums who hung such Warriors out to dry & die…. Almost….

    Kirk, I found “Enlisted” witty and charming. Enjoyed how they were able to make the stuck in the Army backwaters with the low achieving end of the talent pool interesting and funny. Was always taken by the ‘credits’ pictures of family members of the production team who had served prior.

    Probably didn’t make it because they actually cared about/with teh Army they poked good-natured fun at…

    1. LCPL Martinez

      After watching 13 Hours, I had I had to read the book, and yeah, it wasn’t at all like American Sniper or Lone Survivor, where book and movie, and who knows what the truth is, get all jumbled together.

      My hats off to the folks who did 13 Hours both book and movie , I thought that accidental discharge story at the end as they boarded to get out of there, was hilarious (they should’ve added it to the movie).

      But I’ve always wondered why they did away with the CIA officer in-charge of the security contractors in the movie, his role was minimal in the book, but that would’ve explained the chain of the command better.

  7. Stacy0311

    I’ve only seen the promos for this show, but my first thought was “This is going to be major league craptacular.”

  8. LSWCHP

    One thing that’s always puzzled me about American war movies is that the troops are almost always portrayed as deranged dysfunctional assholes who hate each other. WTF gives with that? My experience of soldiering was that we were like brothers united by a bond of shared suffering. Even though I put my uniform away over 25 years ago, one of my service mates is closer to me than my actual brother. How does Hollywood get it so wrong?

    I just generally avoid war shows in general though, because the lack of even the slightest realism drives me nuts. Weapons, weapon handling, tactics, equipment, weapon effects…everything is bullshit. And the way the soldiers behave is crazy, like that stupid fucking “Hurt Locker” show which was the weirdest portrayal of soldiering I’ve ever seen. “Let’s all fight each other like lunatics, then split up and run off individually into hostile territory to be captured” etc etc. Christ, I’d better stop…the spit’s starting to fly over my computer screen as I type this.

    1. Kirk

      Hollywood.

      They think the way it works there, with all the backstabbing and constant betrayals, isvhow it works everywhere. They can only write what they know…

    2. Kerry

      The media are “deranged dysfunctional assholes who hate each other”.
      They write these stories about themselves, but don’t know they are “deranged dysfunctional assholes who hate each other”. And as they believe anyone in uniform is an “ibid.”, hence, “WAR MOVIE DXXXIV, RETURN OF THE LUNATIC KILLERS, TAKE ELELVENTY ONE!”…
      This tiny-bit-of-service-once Army vet hates them. They never get it right, do they?

    3. Aesop

      How does Hollywood get it so wrong?

      In one sentence: Because they’ve never, ever, not one single one out of fifty thousand of them, done so much as five actual minutes in a US military uniform, in their entire collective miserable selfish little lives.

      It is easier – actually – to find snakebite victims who’ve been struck by lightning than it is to find an actual military vet in Hollywood anywhere “above the line”, i.e. studio execs or minions, producers, directors, actors, heads of departments, etc. It is entirely less familiar to them than living among the great apes in Africa, or climbing K2, and they simply don’t know what they don’t know, and don’t care about it in the first place. “Reality is what we tell you plebians what it is.” isn’t just an occasional attitude, it’s a biz-wide and lifelong worldview, going back more than a generation.

      Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, and Tyrone Power flew actual combat missions in wartime; today, you’d have trouble filling a Prius with actors who’ve ever even been to a live airshow.

    4. Steve M.

      Hurt Locker was terrible. I almost gave up part way through. Worst movie in recent memory for me.

      1. Hognose Post author

        Oh, you’ve been selective about the Iraq and Afghanistan movies you’ve watched then. There’s at least ten worse ones!

        1. LCPL Martinez 29

          the Feathermen, IMHO could be mined for more stories, if only to shed more light on Oman and that region specifically , I’ve been a big fan of Oman ever since reading that they’ve been fighting the Wahhabis since the 1700s.

          That we’re just in Oman , as a jumping of point to India and the rest of the ME astounds me greatly.

        2. Steve M.

          I bet! I have been fairly selective, but Hurt Locker still got through. Your review of Hyena Road has put that one on the list though.

  9. SGT.BAG

    Two questions for the cast …. “Do any of you actually own a gun” and “Who did you vote for last November.”

  10. 6pounder

    They CAN get it right sometimes, they just don’t want to it seems. Band of Brothers was one great example of getting it right. I don’t know why they won’t use that template instead of the unbelievably stupid movie template.

    1. John Distai

      BOB is one of those series that a person should watch multiple times throughout their life, at different stages of maturity. The lens in which you view it changes, and you get many different things out of it. It’s very well done.

      1. Hognose Post author

        Concur. Band of Brothers was a better exploration of WWII in Europe than any single-operation movie. I had high hopes for The Pacific, but the nature of Europe was that you had one unit that did the whole long slog (Normandy, the Bulge, the conquest of Nazi Germany). The Pacific had to tell its story through three separate individuals. That was the way it was, but it makes for hard storytelling.

        1. Boat Guy

          I still give high marks to the “Pacific”. They were different wars, thus the requirement you note of using three main protagonists.

  11. Brian

    The part of this show that I saw was pathetic . A cliched storyline with all of the checklist personality traits that Hollywood has decided all of the Myrmidon share. Recycled plot points and sets as well. This was a shameless capitalization on the relatively recent fame of ST6. It is corny at best.

  12. Looserounds.com

    Any of you guys read that expose from that place “The Intercept” something something, atrocities of SEAL Team 6?

    some pretty crazy stuff in it. I would have not thought nothing of it if I had not seen the fellows at SOFREP saying they witness and confirmed mach of the stuff claimed in the article.
    and former Unit member “Shrek” saying he observed them acting in ways written about in the article

    1. Hognose Post author

      I have seen some SEAL behaviors that would not be accepted in SF, and have heard about others from SEALs themselves.

      1. LCPL Martinez 29 Palms

        I heard from former Marines gone SEAL that it’s the lack of infantry culture, which leads more to a frat type camaraderie.

        But piggy backing on Kirk’s sentiments on Pvt. Manning , it could also just small unit leadership (I know your average SF guy will have NCO experience from conventional infantry).

        Could it be as simple as infantry culture?

        1. Hognose Post author

          SF guys come from a range of backgrounds. A lot are infantry, Marines, or Rangers, but my original MOS was in MI, and I’ve served with guys who started as clerks, cooks, helicopter crewmen, and a whole bunch of other things

          SF does have a ground combat focused culture. It does lots or rehearsals and drills. In the old days, the rap on the seals was that they were untouchable in the water, but had problems with land combat. No one would say that today.

          1. Kirk

            If you review a lot of their operations, at least what is publicly available, I’d say they still have some issues with ground combat operations.

            Couple of the Rangers I knew who were doing Ranger Support Element work for CENTCOM in Iraq absolutely loathed working around/for the SEAL elements, and it had a lot to do with the insouciant way they would do their staff work and coordination on the ground. Some SEAL teams were supposedly much better at that stuff, but some…? Holy shit, did I hear a bunch of bitching about that kind of thing. It’s amazing what you can overhear late at night in a D-main, when guys are venting.

            I think you could make a pretty good case for saying that what happened to the team that Marcus Luttrell was on stemmed from some really questionable planning and operational technique–Just like with the SAS guys in Iraq during Desert Storm.

            Really, guys–The fact that there are gonna be shepherds out there with the animals should not come as a damn surprise, and you should have had plans to deal with them instead of either murder or let them go alert everyone to your presence. That kind of thing just makes me look at the whole deal and go “WTF…? How many times do you stupid fuckers have to learn this lesson, before someone says “Hey, the ROE needs to be adjusted, or we need to figure out how to avoid fucking goat herders…”?

            Commentary I heard from a couple of guys I know in that world on the Army side went along the lines of “What the fuck were they thinking…?”. From that, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that maybe there are still some aspects of ground operations that the SEAL teams might want to work on.

            And, as an aside? That whole issue is one that the US military handles atrociously, which is the handling and compensation for the presence of civilians on the battlefield. As far back as the days of the Clinton intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo, I’ve seen the idiotic lack of attention to this issue as being a major problem for our forces. When you train out in a fucking vacuum, where there are no consequences to losing OPSEC to the civilians you’re operating amongst, it becomes really easy to lose whatever common sense you might have had. My favorite was the story one of my guys related to me about how they couldn’t figure out how the fucking Serbs were always one step ahead of them, where they were working in Bosnia. Right up until the fucking morons realized that they’d been very careless about letting the locals hear their goddamn radios in their vehicles, and discovered that the local kids were using walkie-talkies and cell phones to transmit what they overheard. Everyone just “assumed” that nobody spoke English, so it wasn’t a big deal to have the volume on the vehicle radios turned up, just like in training at Hohenfels…

            You can see a lot of that same syndrome play out with regards to what we’ve done in Iraq and Afghanistan, thinking that we’re out there in exercise land, where there aren’t any civilians, and there are no real repercussions to failing to account for their presence. They’ve done a lot of good work, trying to integrate the idea into a lot of training, but there are still a bunch of root assumptions we’ve got hanging around that mean we’re really not doing much more than paying lip service to the idea that they’re out there, and that they are active participants in the fight.

          2. Hognose Post author

            Quick comments before hitting the gym:
            1. the SAS guys who got compromised in Iraq in DS I, by their own account, did not do a radio check before insertion and then were all agog that their radios didn’t work. That astonished me; it would be like going in without your rifle, or your trousers.

            2. the “you have been surprised by a goatherd kid, what do you do?” was a question on the very first selection board for Delta, and was already widely used in the SF community. There’s not really a right answer; it’s more to evaluate the guy’s thought processes. Whatever decision he took, the board would then lead him down the negative consequences. “Now what?”

            3. In DS, in addition to the SAS compromise, an SF team was compromised by a goatherd kid while on an SR overwatch over a road and wound up in a fight with an infantry company. Saved by air called in over the team’s one working PRC-90 survival radio.

          3. LCPL Martinez 29

            Aside from the shepherds , not being prepared for this eventuality,

            (I know MEU-SOCs when qualifying for their SOC status do urban ops in Socal, small towns to big cities, and Recon Marines, SEALs, etc. have been known to “detain” the homeless, or no-speako Ingles maids , highly illegal I’m sure, but if they didn’t they’d be looking for perfect locations having to move, and not get anything done.

            So even stateside it’s a given scenario.)

            Aside from all that though, I think there’s a sinking feeling in me that something more (or less) happened, beyond what Luttrell’s narration explains—- he’s been teetering on the details of their deliberation re the shepherds , in the book, in promoting the book, and in the movie and promoting the movie,

            then there’s that story that he was actually rescued with all his magazines in tact and unused. Fishy fishy, all around. My extrapolation on this may be off, but my hunch is this guy’s not telling us the whole story.

      2. Seacoaster

        The hatchet story was making the rounds in Pacific Beach bars when I was out there five years ago. The Intercept story had more of the ring of truth to it than a lot of the takedowns of elite units that one encounters in the US press.

        I gotta think their officer culture is part of the issue too. Naval Academy stranglehold, along with some prior enlisted guys. An NSW guy on another site said that of their roughly 2500 men, 600 are officers. That’s a lot of make work billets and checks in boxes.

        And Richard Marcinko as a founding father probably ain’t ideal.

        1. Boat Guy

          Numbers don’t tell the whole story. A SEAL Platoon (basic tactical unit) has two officer billets, same as an ODA (Yeah I know one of those is now a Warrant, but time was…)
          The typical attrition point is from LT to LCDR because the guys know that most of their operating time is over, so a goodly number fo them punch – and write books are other nefarious activities. The other billets at the Teams/Units for no-kidding Frogs are what you’d expect CO, XO, -3 mostly. Guys to run SpecWarCen, guys on staffs…
          As for Marcinko, IMO the less said the better…

        2. Blackshoe

          Worth noting most of those officers aren’t going to be 113Xs (SEAL Officers). They’re support elements from the Intel/Medical/etc communities.

          600s Os would be the vast majority of the entire NSW Officer community, IIRC

    2. Kirk

      IANAO*, nor have I ever been anything than peripheral to the world of SOCOM, but… I kinda feel like sticking a foot into the water, vis-a-vis the SEAL issue.

      I think there is some basis in fact to be found, when looking at the SEAL team guys, and going “WTF?”, in terms of what they’re like from a cultural standpoint. They’re not ground combatants; their antecedents weren’t either–They were UDT and strictly Naval-oriented. That origin does not militate for good ground operations skills or culture. The Navy does not do low-level unit OPORD-based operations the way the Army and Marines do, and it shows in their contribution to SOCOM.

      You go back and look at their history, you have to ask “Where did these guys come from…?”, and what you’re going to find is that they were essentially stood up by the Navy back during the great inter-service rivalry days so that the Navy could say “Me, too…” about having “Special Operations” troops. As such, they’ve been all about showmanship since day one. It’s baked into their unit culture. They attract, and promote a bunch of ego-driven guys who have an unfortunate tendency to be publicity-seeking prima-donnas. Not all of them, but enough that the SEAL stereotype focuses on that feature of the unit culture, and that they’ve got far and away the most books in print written from the “tells all” standpoint. It ain’t for nothing that a huge swathe of the “stolen valor” types gravitate towards claiming SEAL-hood, if they can even come close to it.

      I somewhat knew a guy who was UDT back in the old days, and he was scathing about the transformation that was worked on the UDT force to create the SEAL teams. He did not have a positive opinion of them, at all, and wound up going back to the other side of the dive world, the salvage diving/repair one. From the way that he described it, the formation of the SEAL teams back when was in direct reaction to the whole SF deal with John F. Kennedy adopting the SF units, and resultant from the Navy brass feeling like they had to compete with the Army, since JFK was so enamored of the SF.

      You’re rooted in a PR exercise, you tend to continue along that path. And, I’d say that the SEAL teams have pretty much shown that they have an overwhelming tendency to be more concerned about the PR aspects of things than the other elements of SOCOM. Along with that, you see a huge impact of PR concerns on many of the debacles they’ve been prone to, over the years.

      As an outside observer, I’m afraid that the SEAL ethos and examples thereof I’ve met and worked around have pretty much left me completely unimpressed. They’re kinda the same sort of people I mentally tag with the “high school jerk jock” sobriquet after encountering them, and there have only been a few I’ve met that were guys I’d want to spend time around–True “quiet professionals”.

      They’re not all like the “jerk jocks”, but, man… When you run into enough of them like that, you tend to start stereotyping. Rangers and Marines are kinda the same way–More ego than is healthy. SF guys, for the most part? Easy to work around, highly professional, and generally not a bunch of assholes. Guys would fight for the opportunity to go do work for them, whenever we got tasked with SF support. Ranger support? LOL… The fight was to get out of having to go work with those prima-donnas, and the SEAL teams were just exponentially worse, whenever you got tasked to go do anything involved with supporting them. And, when the Rangers are bitching about having to work with ’em? You know the egos are really, really bad.

      There’s a certain… Mmmm… How to say this, without offending too many people? There’s a certain quality to an unfortunately large swathe of the American “elite” military that just leaves me going “No. Nope. Not for me, and I don’t want to be around that shit…”. Quantifying it, and explaining it isn’t easy, either–It’s the kind of shit that has junior enlisted Marines writing really shitty insipid poetry about their rifles, and publishing it in Leatherneck; it’s the kind of crap that has the SEALs making a sprint for the nearest camera, whenever the media is around, and the mentality that says “Imma gonna get me a set of Dress Blues/beret/trident” simply because that “looks cool”, not because the person going for that wants to be the best soldier/sailor/Marine they can be, and serve in an elite unit. It’s a falseness, an expression of an immature ego that, frankly, I find really frightening in a military context, because having learned to identify it, I’ve also come to identify it with some really massive folly that I’ve been around. And, having been burned by it? I want nothing at all to do with it. Give me the ethos of quiet professionalism, and I’m far, far happier to be around people demonstrating said quality.

      *I Am Not An Operator

      1. LSWCHP

        I spent most of my military career in the post-Vietnam Australian army doing section and platoon level patrolling in jungle. The emphasis was on counter-insurgency with a lot of “Don’t shoot the friendly bloke having a shit in the rice paddy”. Dealing with or avoiding the local peasants was an inherent part of the gig.

        So when I saw the Luttrell movie, without knowing any of the background, my first thought on hearing the plan was “WTF?” because they were guaranteed to be compromised by a field worker. Because villagers don’t spend their days indoors watching TV, they are outside the village working the animals and crops. They’re looking around for thieves and predators. And animals will startle at the approach of strangers etc etc…

        I feel the same way about the “Blackhawk Down” mission plan. Rope a few dudes into the middle of a disordered city surrounded by tens of thousands of armed hostiles. What could possibly go wrong?

        1. Kirk

          As a line dog, I was watching the news, and reading all the after-action stuff I could find on all these “compromised by the reality of civilians on the battlefield” operations, and… Wow. I can’t even express it.

          Bravo Two-Zero. Blackhawk Down. Lone Survivor. Dude, that’s close to twenty-odd years of continual, by-the-numbers fuckwittery, on the part of US and UK elite special operations types, and speaking as a low-level pissant peon line Combat Engineer, I have to say… I’m not too fucking impressed. At all. For the love of God, I was smart enough to include realistic Civilians-On-the-Battlefield play in most of the exercises I planned and ran personally, to the point where I had people complaining about it to the higher authorities about how “unfair SFC K’s lane was”.

          Two-three years later, when I ran into that particularly whiny asshole, he came up to me and said “SFC K, I have to apologize to you for that shit I raised with the commander, back then… After going to Bosnia, I see what the hell you were getting at, and you know what? You’re the only asshole who ever brought that out in training… Thank you… I think it may have saved me and my guys from some serious grief, over there…”.

          See, the thing is, I know this shit from listening to my stepdad, growing up. He was a little kid in Yugoslavia, during the war, and he spent the last few of it as a runner for the Partisans, and had managed to play “cute little harmless kid” well enough to get up close and personal with a German patrol that was looking for the Partisani he was hanging around with, and managed to cadge a little bit of chocolate…

          Oh, yeah… And, a cap off a stick grenade, plus the little ceramic bead and the string… All taken away with him when he scampered away with the schockolada. Resultant blast put an end to the patrol, and prevented some of the wounded Partisans from being found.

          Little fucker had at least three bodies on his ass before he was nine. He had a letter of merit, or some such thing from the guy who’d been running the Partisans in that area, and who later became a muckety-muck in Tito’s government. Not quite nine fucking years old, folks.

          Which was fair, ‘cos the Germans shot his older brother for looking out a window during curfew… There are reasons a bunch of Germans just up and vanished, during the withdrawal from Yugoslavia, and a bunch of caverns up in the mountains filled with dead bodies.

          I’ve never, ever looked at kiddies in a war zone the way most dumbass American troops do. Those little bastards are either ripping you off, like Slicky Boy in Korea, or they are actual walking OPSEC violations. Fail to account for them at your peril.

          The failure of American and other troops to identify and compensate for this threat stems, in my mind, from what I’ll term “The Great Big Isolated Training Area Syndrome”. You go to the NTC; what do you find? Oh, yeah… Jack shit for locals. COB is kinda-sorta “integrated” into the play, but… Reality is, it ain’t realistic.

          NTC should have had refugee columns blocking traffic, and being used for cover by OPFOR, back in the day, just like we would have had in Germany during a real WWIII. There should have been Rot Armee Faction surrogates screwing up the supply chain, attacking depots and making life miserable in the rear area, along with Spetsnatz doing the same to strategic weapons.

          And, oh, yeah… A high-mountain desert, as a fucking surrogate for heavily urbanized and forested Northern Europe? What. The. Actual. Fuck. You wonder how things like what happened to the 507th Maintenance Company happened, and there’s your answer in a nutshell: The simulations we set up for training, and the areas we trained in, were not at all realistic. We never included echelons-above-division units in play at the NTC, and were shocked, shocked I tell you, when it turned out that a.) we didn’t know we needed to allow for their piss-poor training levels in operational technique, and b.) those units had not one fucking clue how to do more in the field than set up in their motor pools, because nobody was ever willing to pay for including them at the NTC for training.

          Sticking that company into even a rear-echelon column behind 3ID resulted in purely predictable outcomes, and should have led to a bunch of people being handed their asses. Jesus wept… I was talking to the folks at the NTC about this shit, in reference to the Engineer units they (DA-level “they”) were anticipating being attached to the divisional units, and they just blew me off, saying that those units didn’t need training at that level. Oh, yeah…? Tell me all about that, after the whole Jessica Lynch fiasco warped the fuck out of the early operations in Iraq.

          You want to succeed at war, you need to train effectively and thoroughly. Part of that training is doing an honest assessment of the environment in which you’re going to be fighting, and the civilians you’re going to inevitably be fighting amongst. We have been discounting this crap for years–Look at the idiocy of most of the exercise planning in Western Germany, going back to the ’70s. Nobody wanted to do an honest assessment of what the refugee issue was going to look like, anywhere in NATO. The German government hand-waved it all, saying that the plan was for everyone to stay in place. The US military just stuck their fingers in their ears, and believed really, really hard that that would actually happen, and that we’d get the 72 hour notice we’d need to get out of the barracks and implement the GDP. Fucking idiots actually planned for that shit, and had no idea what the hell they’d do in the actual event that all those German civilians took one look at the Soviet Horde (TM) coming across the border, remembered the tales of rape and pillage from their grandparents had from WWII, and decided to scarper off for France.

          Despite the lip service being paid to the issue, a lot of the fundamental assumptions we have are entirely erroneous. The issue isn’t really trained, ‘cos there ain’t no civvies out in the major training areas, and we don’t have that shit as a truly realistic part of the play. I think SF is the only element of the Army that really integrates this aspect of war at all well in training, and I think that we need to abandon the NTC and all the big isolated training areas like Yakima for doing our shit out in the communities, with actual civilian players doing what they’re likely to do in the event of us going into a real shooting war in amongst them. You train like you’re going to be fighting in a vacuum, you shouldn’t be real surprised when your training leads to performing like shit when you actually encounter an atmosphere full of civilians.

          1. Aesop

            Yah. Which would make sense.

            And the second you do that, Alex Jones, George Nouri, and three million other whackjob black helicopter fantacists will be carping on endlessly from hedge to intarwebz about how the US military is planning to turn Disneyworld into a concentration camp and start killing puppies for one world government, because Joooooooos!

            I think somewhere up in Big Green, someone decided that game isn’t worth the grief blowback.

            It’s a miracle Robin Sage is still going on, but that’s as much due to half the locals being retired Army/SF in the first place.

            So Jessica Lynch happens, and the rest of the rear echelon is goat on a rope.
            Sic transit mundia

          2. Kirk

            You are, unfortunately, correct.

            Still doesn’t absolve Big Army and every other Big from a need to Do This Right(TM).

            I had an interesting conversation one time, with a guy who was a FAC, former Air Force A-10 pilot. Question I had for him was “Hey, do youse guys ever trains where dere is all dese civilians running around, maskin’ de targets…?”.

            As in, hey, if I were a smart Commie Bastard, of which there are indeed a few, why wouldn’t I be using German civilian refugees like the North Koreans did, and use them in their cars to hide my tanks among while I run up on those nice-guy Americans?

            The look I got from that guy was… Educational.

            I’m pretty sure the Air Force has never considered that aspect of the whole “ground support” question, and certainly hasn’t trained against it. We do the ol’ “don’t shoot the hostage” thing in room-clearing drills; I’m pretty sure they don’t do that with CAS. Or, at least, I’ve never really found any references to it, nor have I seen it in the field.

            Something to think about. I can imagine and foresee the PR problem resultant from an A-10 firing up a mass of civilian vehicles, to get at one T-72 or a ZSU… Can the Air Force?

          3. 11B-Mailclerk

            I would think there are enough folks who would volunteer to play “civilian annoyance” for the Army, in exchange for three MREs a day and a frame-able Certificate of Appreciation”.

            I also suspect that I am completely oblivious to the reality of who -actually- shows up, and just how far off their crackers their cheese has collectively slipped.

      2. Steve M.

        I believe both Luttrell and Kyle stated in their books that they could pick a SEAL out of crowd by the way they walked, held themselves, etc.

        As I read that, I remember thinking, “Isn’t that part of the problem?” It’s hard to say a unit is secretive, when every other military book/movie is about this secretive unit.

        1. LCPL Martinez 29

          John M.,

          There’s a long running joke in the Marines, I’m sure it originated in the Navy and shared every where else in the military, but goes….

          How can you spot a SEAL in the room?

          .
          .
          .
          .
          .

          He’ll tell you.

          LOL! LOL!

          1. LCPL Martinez 29

            ooooops… sorry, that should’ve read Steve M. , any relations to John M.?, LOL!

          2. Kirk

            There’s a joke I heard in the CI world, where a group of trainees are set, as a test, to identify specific identifiers about a roomful of people without directly asking them any questions. Each trainee is supposed to ID three different people’s primary identifying feature, like “minister”, “dog breeder”, and what have you, after circulating in the room, observing. They are assigned these things by drawing cards, and when one of the trainees draws his, he just breaks out into hysterical laughter and sits down, not even entering the room.

            Instructor comes over, and asks “WTF?”. Trainee is laughing uncontrollably, tears in his eyes, and shows the instructor his cards: “vegan”,”cross-fit instructor”, and “SEAL”.

            At that point, the instructor realizes he needs to quit having those three people participate in his tests… Or, to make sure that nobody can ever get all three of his “gimme” cards at the same time.

          3. John M.

            @LCPL Martinez–

            Steve and I are 27th cousins 3 times removed or 26th cousins 4 times removed, I forget which.

            -John M.

          4. LCPL Martinez 29

            LOL!

            That’s funny.

            Kirk, last year my cousin graduated from Marine bootcamp in San Diego. After the ceremonies, we went to some Cuban restaurant. There must ‘ve been like 20 folks in our party, mainly family. It was a big restaurant, so there were others there.

            My cousin was still in his Dress Blues. After awhile, about 3 guys came up to congratulate my cousin. “Hey, congratulations! yada yada yada , we’re Navy SEALs”… and then they left.

            Otherwise, a really cool contact, but you see, I sent printed copies of Terminal Lance comics and military jokes to my cousin while in bootcamp, and one of those jokes was “How do you tell there’s a SEAL in the room?”

            So we were just laughing away. I don’t mean to take away from the congratulatory intent, that was super cool of them to do… but I never understood why they have to advertise it… i’ve never come across people saying “I’m Special Forces.” or “We’re Green Berets” in the course of normal small talk.

          5. Steve M.

            LCPL Martinez 29,

            John M. has always been the family historian. You’ll have to go with what he said. The M. family history is complex to say the least.

            Great joke by the way!

            There are many SEALs who are truly quiet professionals and I have a great deal of respect for them. Last I checked though, they are still people, and some people…..

        2. Seacoaster

          “They’re all the same guy…” – 20th Group officer I worked with briefly on a deployment, explaining the difference between SF and SEALs

  13. Aesop

    Don’t hold back, Hog, tell us what you really think about it!

    But let’s give proper credit: the angst was so real, the conflicts so well delineated, and the action so well portrayed – in your review of this steaming pile – I feel as if I was right there, getting crapped on by Hollywood in person, and I can almost smell a lapful of my own vomit, as if I’d had to suffer through the entire nauseating mess in person, rather than vicariously, and yakked all over myself in reflex.

    Most three-camera sitcoms are still shot in front of a live audience.

    Pretty much like the writers and producers of this dungpile of Awful should be.

    If I stumble across a production address, I’ll forward them a hard copy of your review.
    And if I can get ahold of the shooting script, I’ll send it back to them with a dead fish wrapped inside, and best wishes from Luca Brazzi.

    Thanks for hurling yourself onto this festering stinkbomb and taking one for the team, man.
    Sua sponte.

  14. Wesley W Bishop

    Hey Hognose, I know I keep saying this, but I really think you should review Strike Back. It may help wash the taste of tripe like SIX out of your mouth, so to speak.

    1. John Distai

      I think Season 2 and beyond is on Amazon Prime. I got about 3 episodes into it and I just couldn’t watch any more. It was too cliche, in my opinion. Perhaps the 1st season is the best.

  15. TBoone

    Adding, ever so slightly, to the insights Aesop shared about Hollywood. (And …. snakebite victims who’ve been struck by lightning than it is to find an actual military vet…. is an awesome sentence)

    I saw a program about horses used in films through the years. Ended with an interview with a man who did stunts with/for John Wayne and others of that era. I was flipping channels so didn’t get to hear all of his story. I “think” he was an Olympic Sprinter before he did stunts….

    He ended by talking about what’s different/changed since those days. NO strong men any more. HWood weeded them out, keeps them out to make their ‘world’ easier. Strong Men will tell you what they think. What they will/won’t do… More challenging to deal with and HWood doesn’t like challenges….

    1. LCPL Martinez 29

      Don’t knock Hollywood too much, I mean they did make popular Herbal Vaginal Steaming.

    2. Aesop

      One of John Wayne’s frequent directors in later years was Andrew V. McLaglen (The Devil’s Brigade, The Wild Geese,, etc.). He was also the son of Academy Award-winning actor (back when that actually meant something) Victor McLaglen, Wayne’s frequent co-star, in The Quiet Man, and all of John Ford’s US cavalry trilogy.

      Before turning to acting, Victor McLaglen was a heavyweight boxer, and served as an officer in the British Army. In World War One. (He was previously kicked out after trying to serve during the Second Boer War in 1900, when it was discovered he was only 14.)

      Such people don’t suffer fools or bullshit gladly, even for a paycheck.
      They scare Hollywood into soiling their panties.

  16. Wesley W Bishop

    Hognose,

    Yeah, you got it in one. Seasons 1-3 are on Amazon and included with Prime, Season 4 is also on Amazon but not Prime eligible.

  17. Boat Guy

    I feel compelled to rise in defense of some of my Team Guy brothers. I’ll add a couple of caveats; first I’m a lesser-mortal Boat Guy and thus never served in or with any SMU, I’ve been retired now for over a decade and my last five years were non-SOF. I guess that results in my exposure/knowlege being from pre-GWOT NSW for the most part.
    As far as planning and mission prep goes it certainly WAS a very strong part of the Team culture I knew. We were taught the same way and in my experience there was little if any difference from what my SF brothers did. Planning an op – even in training – was rigorous and detailed and the backbriefs were even moreso.
    Yeah there are egos in the Teams; like there are egos in fighter pilots and submariners. Some ego is required to do the job. Some guys have succumbed to the siren recently, others haven’t. In my experience the new guys were the chest-thumpers. I knew quite a number of “Quiet Professionals” wearing Tridents; still do.
    I’ll close by thanking Hognose for confirming my impressions from the previews; the show sounds as bad as I’d expected.

  18. Docduracoat

    Kirk,
    I agree completely that people learn by a “monkey see-monkey do” mimicry.
    I disagree that we are first to have mass cultural Indoctrination in values.
    The ancient Romans had Gladiator contests as mass enertainment all over the empire to instill a cultural ethic of bravery in the face of death.
    I also agree that the entire gangsta rap, hip hop culture is the root cause of the violent crime in our inner cities
    If only they would listen to country music!
    As for war shows, I was glued to every episode of Bomb Patrol Afghanistan and My fighting Season
    Both were documentaries without Hollywood interpretation
    I am always amazed at how much of the time our troops are all asking each other where is incoming fire coming from
    And directing return fire to “2nd building left of the big tree”
    They almost never see any enemy to actually aim at
    As opposed to all the movies where there are entire waves of enemy to mow down

    1. LCPL Martinez 29

      ***“I also agree that the entire gangsta rap, hip hop culture is the root cause of the violent crime in our inner cities
      If only they would listen to country music!”
      ***

      As an inner city kid, having listened to hip hop, I can atest to the mellowing effect of country music—– I listened to some, though I’ve been more into jazz of late. Right out of bootcamp, the Highwaymen, was what got me started all thanks to my buddies who were from Northern California and Georgia.

      So every year, to pay homage to country music I always try to catch the opening act of the CMAs. Lo and behold this year, or rather 2016, Beyonce came on. As a guy well versed in all the money, money, money/ bitches, bitches, bitches bs of hip hop (mind you, theres some hip hop, not mainstream, that are more jazz oriented), I felt slighted…

      which got me thinking that if I felt somewhat slighted over this, tons of country music fans must be feeling like their bowl of cereal just got pee’d on by the Queen B herself. That was my first impression. Of course I was right.

      But then as scheduling goes, the next week was the elections , and sure enough Trump won. A couple of days prior Beyonce and Jay Z played a concert for the Clintons, featured in cable news. I’m sure the taste of pee was still in everyone’s mouth, LOL! None of the political pundits have surmised the connection, which leads me to believe that regular media too

      needs to listen to country music. And next time don’t schedule a hip hop take over of country, a week before a big presidential election! LOL!

      1. John Distai

        Try listening to Opera. I don’t know what they are saying, but it is very peaceful. Vocal athletes. No joke.

        1. Mike_C

          > Opera. I don’t know what they are saying, but it is very peaceful
          Wal, lessee now.
          *An American Navy LT in Japan marries a 15-yo impoverished Japanese girl, impregnates then abandons her, though she waits faithfully for him for years, refusing other suitors. Eventually the LT returns, but only for the purpose of taking away their son to raise with his “real wife”. Japanese girl stabs herself to death in front of him.
          *A princess has a suitor beheaded in Act I
          *A corrupt cop tricks a beautiful but jealous singer into setting up her boyfriend as a revolutionary traitor and sentences him to death. But she can save him if she gives herself to the cop. She stabs the cop, but her boyfriend is executed nonetheless, so she throws herself off a tall building.
          *An infamous seducer/rapist and killer refuses to mend his ways and goes to hell.

          Just messin’ with ya. Concur on the vocal athletes part. Actually, the lyrics of many of the Irish and Scots songs I listen to are remarkably dark (e.g. The Mountains of Pomeroy) despite the tunes being peaceful or even sprightly.

          > tons of country music fans must be feeling like their bowl of cereal just got pee’d on […] Of course I was right.
          Yes, you were. Damn it.

    1. Kirk

      Naaah… He’s clearly a former line doggie, modeled on (I think…) Timothy McVeigh. Kinda.

      That, and he’s waaaaaaay too grounded and self-aware. Boyd Crowder knows he’s full of shit, most of the time, having grown up in the environment he did. That’s why he embraced the religious and racist bullshit he obviously (well, maybe…) didn’t believe in during the first few seasons.

      The guy on Justified I’d have pegged for a possible former SEAL, one of the quiet ones? Ellstin Limehouse.

    2. Steve M.

      Justified could have run a few more seasons, so long as they continued putting the bad guys in the ground. Good show with great dialogue.

      1. Kirk

        I’m ambivalent… I wanted more, but I’m kinda glad they didn’t run it into the ground.

        I’d love to see Olyphant come back in a few years, and maybe reprise his character in the middle years; the stage where he’s the guy running the local Marshal’s office, and has to deal with some cowboy-like version of himself from his younger days… Tell it from that perspective, and see what they can do with it. Basically, revisit all the characters in middle age, at the end of their careers.

        Adding a now-released Boyd Crowder into the mix would only be fuel for my fan-boner.

        What would be really interesting? Have Boyd’s unknown son as the junior Marshal thorn in Raylan’s side, running his Marshal’s office. And, Boyd as the antagonist for both, a la Arlo…

        1. Raoul Duke

          Justified was effing awesome.

          I’m glad they ended it before it became stale, but I still miss that show.

        2. Steve M.

          Kirk, I like your version. An older, wiser, yet unapologetic Olyphant would be very interesting in the setting you described. Considering the chances of the show being ruined, it is probably better to let sleeping dogs lie.

  19. Jon

    Also, a little tangential, but I saw they are filming Horse Soldiers, based on the book by Doug Stanton detailing an SF team in Afghanistan post-9/11. Be interesting to see how that movie turns out, I recall the book being pretty good.

    1. Steve from Downtown Canada

      Horse Soldiers was a damned fine book — I’d love to see Hollywood not screw that one up.

      I’d also like to see In Harm’s Way done — the story of the Indianapolis and its ill-fated end — Mel Gibson reportedly owned the film rights but I haven’t heard anything for years.

  20. Dan F

    Hognose there is a series on Netflix you might want to check out. It’s called Nobel. It’s a thriller but it refences the main characters deployment in Afghanistan using flashbacks.

      1. John M.

        I can’t figure out how you do these movie reviews without it. Do you drive down to Video Junction in the village and rent them on VHS?

        -John M.

        1. Hognose Post author

          I have Amazon Prime, although I haven’t gotten it to work with the otherwise superior Brave browser yet. Other sources:
          1. DVDs. I have a regionless DVD player, a good buy for anyone who either travels or likes foreign movies. I probably buy too many DVDs. (One whole wall in the music/exercise room is waist-high cabinets and they’re all full of DVDs, alphabetical by title).
          2. TV late night movie channels.
          3. In extremis, YouTube or other online movie sources.
          4. OTR has sent me some DVDs I’d never heard of. He was the one who found Hyena Road, about Canadian Forces in the Kandahar area.

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