The Brave – New TV Series from NBC

Just checked my blog activity.  I posted a review of The Lava Fields on May 25th, then nothing until a pair of posts in September. Beyond that lots of ‘spam comments’ arrived needing deletion.  Nothing else happened.

Well I’m back. The hiatus or should I say the period of  a near complete lack of inspiration, which was really a nicer way of saying that I was unmotivated – has ended.

We’ll begin with a look at a new series on NBC – The Brave. NBC describes its series … this heroic Special Ops squad of highly trained undercover specialists use their unbreakable bond and commitment to freedom to save lives of innocent people and execute missions in some of the most dangerous places in the world.

From where I sit, The Brave is a new and exciting reworking of the old Mission Impossible TV series – only without any latex masks. Tom Cruise has a solid grip on the MI film franchise with MI6 currently filming – with a release scheduled in 2018. Until then, you action junkies can give this series a shot.

Seven episodes have already aired with the most recent one on Monday the 6th of November. What we basically have is a Special Ops team that normally, at least at the beginning of each episode, is based in Turkey. They live in a large warehouse (or maybe a quonset). There’s 4 guys and one girl. They have their own version of a Batphone (a video sat phone for the all important face time), and when it chimes – it generally means they have a mission to do.

The calls come (not from an unnamed Secretary) but from HQ here known as The Defense Intelligence Agency (which is an actual Washington DC based agency serving the military and founded by Robert McNamara in 1961).

Their boss is Deputy Director Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche has the role) who will not only lay it out for the team on the phone, but will also oversee the operations via the team’s body-cams. They all have a micro-earpiece and mike) so they can all hear from each other. Sometimes the boss will even put her own boots on the ground with her team.

She’s tough, knows all about working in the field, and is a no-nonsense kind of chief who has the skills needed for such dangerous work. If you’re looking for a comparable for Heche’s role – think Helen Mirren in Eye in the Sky from 2015. Oh yes, as character Campbell, she’s also a mother of a son who was KIA in Afghanistan.

Accompanying her in the photo above is her Squad leader Adam Dalton played by Mike Vogel. Captain Dalton is the leader, the comm director and a former member of Delta force. His team calls him ‘Top’ and he makes the tactical decisions when they are in the field.

In the seven episodes I’ve seen, the field has been in Karatas, Turkey, Afghanistan, Paris, Nigeria, Seville, Mexico, and the Ukraine. Sounds impressive doesn’t it? But the reality is a little different. The Afghan  scenes were shot in Morocco. As for the rest – we get some obligatory cityscapes or establishing exteriors of an unnamed Ukrainian city, ditto Seville and Paris – but all of the action and indoor scenes are actually shot in or near a studio in New Mexico, right here in the USA.

Not a real deal-breaker bust still…

The rest of the squads (yes there two as Campbell has her own guys in the sit room at the DIA) deserve mention as they are all good.

Jasmine (Jaz) Khan, the squad’s deadly sniper is played by Natacha Karam. Besides adding the element of the a strong female, she also adds some humor to the goings on.

Joseph (McG) McGuire is the squad’s medic. He’s played by Noah Mills. He gets seduced by a sexy senorita in Seville.

Ezekiel “Preach” Carter is the squad’s demolition guy. Demetrius Grosse has the role. He will rig bombs whenever they need them.

And the last field guy of The Brave is Amir Al- Raisani played by Hadi Tabbal. Of course he speaks Arabic and is the best of the team at looking like a local in some countries. You’ve likely seen him in House of Cards,  Madam Secretary, The Blacklist, and Elementary.

Working back in DC are Noah Morganthau (Tate Ellington) and Hannah Rivera (Sofia Pernas). They are Deputy Director Campbell’s top aides. I would not be shocked to see these two dance around for a while, but it could be that they will become an item.

That’s it. We get new locations and different villains (bad guys) each week. So far the stories have involved a Russian defector, a hostage taking in Nigeria, gun-running in Mexico, the capture and ex-fil of an American-born Taliban, and lots more.

The show has lots of action and enough suspense to keep you engaged. Of course there are more than a few glaring errors that are easily spotted (like in the above picture – Adam Dalton’s hair is far too light brown for him to pass as a local in Afghanistan, and the plots are predictably resolved as one might expect. As you know, with American TV series, there’s a new story each week to change things up, which means you have to work hard to ‘forget’ that despite the appearances of high drama and often ‘edge of the seat suspense’ – we are always aware that the crew will back for the next week’s episode.

But that, in and of itself does not mean that the show is not entertaining.  There are 11 episodes in the can so far with three remaining in the schedule queue. I have not ascertained if there will be more at this time. But if you want a break from TV comedy or the Monday night football game is a drag then this is seriously worth a look just don’t expect perfection