Good military propaganda
The slowdown of DVD releases over the holiday period provided a chance to watch the blu-ray set of the fourth and final season of the action-adventure “The Unit” and other sets that were released over the past several months. This one interested me particularly because playwright David Mamet, who wrote “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “House of Games,” created the series and wrote several episodes.
“The Unit” tells the tales of the elite Alpha, aka A, Team that consists of highly-trained undercover special Army operatives; they may be busting up a cocaine operation in Colombia one week, extracting on overthrown leader from a third-world nation the next, and helping diplomatic relations by delivering the daughter of the head of one tribe in Afghanistan to another head of another tribe to be his bride the following week.
The Unit also traveled to Iraq to rescue the kidnapped daughter of team leader Jonas “Snake Doctor” Blane, played by Dennis Haysbert. Haysbert does a great job as the tough but compassionate leader of the group, but I still pictured him in his role as an insurance company spokesperson through the series in the same way that I always hear “This is CNN” in my head when I see James Earl Jones in anything.
An ongoing story arc has the wives of the team living in hiding after it is discovered that someone has been videotaping them. The women then get involved in intrigue regarding this exposure and other nefarious dealings.
The good points about the series are that its stories are very timely, the gung-ho antics of the soldiers and the desperation of their housewives seem realistic, and the episodes keep your attention.
The bad points about the series are that it does not come close to offering the insightful and clever dialogue for which I love Mamet, the episodes seem to be live-action video games and offer an unduly glamorous image of military life even with its depictions of the downside of choosing an Army career, and the characters seem largely interchangeable.
Blane and the commanding officer of the team stood out in the several episodes that I watched; the younger members of the team seemed to be merely grizzled looking guys with shaved heads and mad combat skills. The episodes did not say anything about their backgrounds or personal characteristics. Also, their dialogue was very limited.
The extras included separate features that looked at the character of Blane and the two-part episode that depicted the mission to rescue his daughter.
Because “The Unit” did not particularly grab me, I am especially eager to hear from fans who might be able to tell me if I am missing anything about the show. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Review by John Stahl
John Stahl is a freelance legal writer who is also a fan of classic and cult television programs. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Following the long-running success of her Here s Lucy series, the inimitable Lucille Ball returned to television with a series of special programs, pairing her with other legendary performers.
LUCY GETS LUCKY finds the wacky redhead pulling out all the stops in Las Vegas to see her favorite entertainer, Dean Martin. Lucy gets a job working at the MGM Grand casino and high stakes hi-jinks follow.
THREE FOR TWO presents Lucy with the Great One, Jackie Gleason - combining their comedic talents for the first time - in a trio of comedy-dramas centered on the various aspects of marriage.
Bonus features include: LET S TALK TO LUCY, long-lost radio interviews with Dean Martin, bloopers, featurette with guest actor Gino Conforti, and rare Lucy footage.
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