TV Show

SIX – Stunning Navy SEAL Team TV Show

We already wrote about a similar TV show “SEAL Team”, and in the comments section, most of the audience claims that History Channel TV show “Six” is far better than “SEAL Team”. Here is a review of the “Six”. It is a History’s scripted drama about special-forces operators, has a lot in common with its characters, who often have a clarity of purpose in the field that they struggle to find in other areas. The show’s directors are adept at shooting action, and when the men of Navy SEAL Team Six are on missions and in other high-risk situations, their motivations and actions are usually rendered with taut energy and fluid economy.

Walton Goggins, a late addition to the cast of History’s SEAL drama, proves to be the best reason to watch this awkward brew of fact and fiction.

It’s when the story returns to the home front, or carefully stitches together its overarching terrorism plot, that the show feels most predictable. Just as several of the operators excel in the field even as they flounder in their personal lives, “Six” works best as a portrait of military brotherhood and the cohesiveness of a unit under pressure. When it’s observing the rituals and training processes that turn these men into the warrior elite or depicting the fraying of the tight-knit team’s internal loyalties, it achieves a sense of moderate momentum. But it’s less successful, at least in its first four episodes, when it comes home.

The story starts with Goggins who plays Richard “Rip” Taggart, leader of the military counterterrorism unit known as Navy SEAL Team Six. You know the real version of U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six from such operations as the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, but this particular group of fictionalized warriors has been intimately involved with a long stretch of America’s longest deployment. As we initially begin in 2014 in Afghanistan, Rip has been in-country for too long and, still smarting from the recent end of a relationship, he’s lost his moral filter, which doesn’t bother trusted right-hand Joe “Bear” Graves (Barry Sloane), but gives pause to Alex “Apparently No Nickname” Caulder (Kyle Schmid). An operation goes pear-shaped and a possibly innocent (but possibly not) man is killed, leading to future ripples.

Two years later, Rip has become a private contractor in Nigeria when the oil company he’s protecting runs afoul of Boko Haram, which attracts the attention of both his former squad and a terrorist with personal motivation for vengeance. Who will get to Rip first? Well, that’s the plot of the show, which comes from creators David Broyles and William Broyles.

Walton Goggins of ‘Six’ (Photo: History Channel)

The drama’s signal achievement — and it’s not a small one — is that it depicts the day-to-day work of these men without being either hagiographic or overly harsh about what they do and why they do it. It’s not within this show’s mission to question the overall architecture of the United States’ war on terror.

The personal lives of a number of Navy SEAL team members are depicted, but there’s not enough real estate to give the majority of the supporting characters the kind of depth or nuance they need to be memorable. There are two different bratty teen daughters on the scene, and though there are attempts to give two or three of the marriages some heft and texture, those are rarely the show’s most convincing moments.

Despite its rudimentary and superficial elements, there is something engaging about the earnestness of “Six,” which respects these soldiers enough to make them imperfect (even so, the use of racial slurs, while realistic, is jarring). Ultimately, however, the show’s only successful in a few of its chosen theaters of conflict, and it’s difficult not to long for the kind of hard-edged insights and the spontaneous energy of Goggins’ previous shows, “Justified” and “The Shield.”

The performances and the above-average directing team may lure some viewers who will then get irked by the rah-rah “America, hell yeah” bellicosity and those who come for the “America, hell yeah” bellicosity will probably get ticked off by all the pesky feelings, and by the suggestion that sometimes soldiers do bad things in war. Perhaps Walton Goggins will become the thing that unifies our nation.

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