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Archive for Wednesday, July 27, 2005

FX series explores war’s toll on soldiers, families

July 27, 2005

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Perhaps everything viewers need to know about "Over There" (9 p.m., FX) can be found in the show's official title. In the network's press materials, it's known as "FX & Steven Bochco present 'Over There."' So we already know that the folks behind "The Shield," "Nip & Tuck" and "Rescue Me" have joined forces with the producer of "NYPD Blue" to make a drama about the ongoing war in Iraq. Attention must be paid.

This being a Bochco production, "Over There" kicks off with a scene of frisky and frantic sex, as a soon-to-depart soldier "embraces" his wife in every room of their small bungalow. Each member of the ensemble cast is seen wrapping up his or her domestic affairs en route to their tour of duty, and then, as in "The Deer Hunter," they are thrown directly into the line of violent fire.

Some may consider it daring that "Over There" tries to turn an ongoing conflict into TV drama, but Hollywood churned out dozens of war movies while World War II raged overseas. Of course, those films were reflexively flag-waving and even invited audiences to buy war bonds in the theater's lobby. The combat aspects of "Over There" take their cue from the 1949 film "Battleground" and focus tightly on one particular unit to show how, in the intimacy of hellish battle, jingoistic nostrums and high ideals give way to a struggle to survive and to save the lives of fellow soldiers.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ The fourth season wraps up for "Average Joe: The Joes Strike Back" (7 p.m., NBC).

¢ Fifty hoofers boogie, oogie, oogie, till they just can't boogie no more on "So You Think You Can Dance" (7 p.m., Fox). The show has been expanded to 90 minutes.

¢ Members of the musical group TLC travel to New York to find a new member in the new series "R U The Girl with T-Boz & Chilli" (7 p.m., UPN). Perhaps they should join forces with INXS on CBS; at least they have a vowel.

¢ New England plumbers continue to moonlight as paranormal detectives in the second season of "Ghost Hunters" (7 p.m., Sci Fi).

¢ The teens confront a cliff wall, and their inner demons, on "Brat Camp" (8 p.m., ABC).

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