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Pfc. Bo Rider and his wife have sex in every room of their house. Pvt. Frank “Dim” Dumphy and his wife fight. Pfc. Ezmerelda “Doublewide” Del Rio tries to tell her young highchair-bound son where Iraq is. As they all board the plane bound for the war on terror, Rider says, “We into it now, huh?” All nod in agreement.

“Over There,” the newest series for FX president/general manager John Landgraf, producer Steven Bochco and co-creator/director Chris Gerolmo, pushes the envelope yet again by depicting a show about a war still being fought in Iraq.

Because the series is about an Army unit on their first deployment and the families left behind in the States, Gerolmo and Bochco had to be careful.

“We do lots of research. My wife puts articles on my desk and we watch documentaries, but it’s really just all about young people under pressure,” Gerolmo said.

To try to keep a sense of realism on the battlefield, the cast regulars were put through a seven-day “boot camp” organized by the military consultant for the show called Gunmetal Group, LLC.

“For a week before we started shooting, we had three Marines who put us through a crash course in military training. They took a lot of pride to make sure we looked and felt as right as possible,” cast member Josh Henderson said.

But television does have its limits.

“We try to keep it very real, but there are certain things that we can’t do because it’s a TV show. Like stand 15 feet apart as we go over the berm, because we wouldn’t all be in the shot,” fellow cast member Eric Palladino added.

Because the war in Iraq has been a point of contention in the United States since the very beginning, the cast and crew of “Over There” knew they would run into political speed bumps and skeptical viewers, but decided to go on with the series anyway.

“I’ve never been one to share my political beliefs with the world. It’s not my job … but if [the show] is going to make people think about the war more, pick up a newspaper and read about it, I don’t see how that is a bad thing,” Palladino said.

“I know it’s cliché, but if they don’t want to watch it, they can just change the channel,” he added.

The director also pointed out that while the series does keep track of the unit in Iraq, a major part of the show would focus on the families left behind in the States.

“The first episode is more about the soldiers and setting up the scene in Iraq. After that, the ratio changes to about 60 percent about the families at home,” Gerolmo said.

In the end, the cast and crewmembers were most concerned about one thing.

“The whole cast really wanted to bust our butts because we want the people in the military to be able to watch and say, ‘They are doing us justice.’ We wanted to do a show that [the troops] could be proud of, and I think we are achieving that,” Henderson said.

“Over There” debuted July 27th on FX in the States. AFN is still discussing whether it will pick up the edgy series.

Gene Frederickson, of AFN affiliate relations branch TV operations, said it depends on how well the show does in the States and if it meets AFN broadcast standards.

FX isn’t the only network tapping military material for new shows. NBC has just announced a new series called “E-Ring” that will focus on the inner workings of the Pentagon. The cast includes Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper and is set to debut stateside this fall.

The military’s presence on television, past and presentMilitary-themed television shows are nothing new. Here are some of the better-known from the past and present:

Sgt. Bilko (1955-1959): Con artist Master Sgt. Bilko turned Fort Baxter into his personal base of operations for one get-rich-quick scheme after another.

McHale’s Navy (1962-1966): Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale was the commander of a World War II P.T. boat stationed on the South Sea island of Taratupa with one of the strangest, most outrageous crews ever assembled. The show was built on the conflict between the easygoing, regulation-ignoring con artist McHale and his long-suffering superior, Capt. Binghamton.

Combat! (1962-1967): This was TV’s longest-running World War II drama honoring U.S. infantrymen. The show was centered on the lives of men on the front lines who battled their way across Europe, starting with the landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

Twelve O’Clock High (1964-1967): This World War II series follows the 918th Heavy Bombardment Group, part of the 8th Bomber Command. Army Air Force Brig. Gen. Frank Savage is asked to take over the 918th. Savage builds the group into the “best bomb group” in the Air Force. At the start of the second season, Savage is killed and Col. Joseph Anson Gallagher takes over.

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.(1964-1970): Gomer Pyle started as a gas station attendant on “The Andy Griffith Show.” His character became so popular that it sparked a spin-off about Pyle joining the Marine Corps. Stationed at Camp Henderson, Calif., Pyle’s dense nature got him into trouble with drill instructor Vince Carter, whose only job was to make a Marine out of him. Pyle’s antics led Carter to the edge of a nervous breakdown before he decided to be friends.

F Troop (1965-1967): By accidentally leading cavalry the wrong way, Pvt. Wilton Parmenter was given command of Fort Courage. Sgt. Morgan O’Rourke made Parmenter’s life harder by making a deal with local Hekawi Indians to market their wares instead of fighting them off. Meanwhile, Parmenter had to deal with the romantic advances of Wrangler Jane Angelica Thrift.

Hogan’s Heroes (1965-1971): Col. Hogan led a band of Allied POWs in Germany during World War II. The bumbling Germans give Hogan and his crew plenty of opportunities to sabotage their war efforts. Col. Klink is more concerned with having everything run smoothly and avoiding any trouble with his superiors than with being tough on the POWs.

The Rat Patrol (1966-1968): A four-man team of commandos within the Long Range Desert Group tracked the enemy during World War II in North Africa. Armed with jeeps fitted with .50-caliber machine guns, they waged a war against Rommel’s Afrika Korps.

Star Trek (1966-1969): The USS Enterprise, representing the United Federation of Planets, took its well-known mission into outer space to explore new worlds, seek new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no man has gone before! Commanded by Capt. James T. Kirk, the crew battled aliens, megalomaniacal computers, time paradoxes, psychotic murderers and more.

M*A*S*H (1972-1983): The 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital was just behind the front lines of the Korean War. While tending to the war wounded, the doctors, nurses, administrators and soldiers often used practical jokes and revenge to make wartime life bearable.

Baa Baa Black Sheep (1976-1978): Maj. Greg “Pappy” Boyington led VMF-214, a group of World War II fighter pilots who became known as the Black Sheep Squadron. The squadron was made up of men under the threat of court martial for crimes such as drunkenness, fighting and disrespect. Boyington exercised little discipline when the group was on the ground, but he expected much when they were on in the air on the trail of the Japanese.

Tour of Duty (1987-1990): This series followed a platoon through its “tour of duty” during the Vietnam War. It takes a realistic view and showed the main characters facing Viet Cong, social disapproval and sometimes themselves.

China Beach (1988-1991): The series, set in 1967 Vietnam, focuses on a group of nurses trying to survive their tour of duty and serve their country.

Major Dad (1989-1993): Dedicated Marine Maj. John D. MacGillis’ life completely changes when he falls for and marries liberal journalist Polly Cooper. Maj. MacGillis has also become a dad to Cooper’s three daughters. Polly and her kids must learn how to be a Marine family, while Maj. MacGillis has to learn how to be a dad and balance his hectic family life and his chaotic career.

JAG (1995-2005): Cmdr. Harmon Rabb, Jr. and Lt. Col. Sarah MacKenzie are JAG (Judge Advocate General) lawyers, who together investigated and litigated crimes committed by Navy and Marine servicemembers. Occasionally, they engaged in adventurous activities in order to solve their cases.

Pensacola: Wings of Gold (1997-2000): Set at the famed Pensacola Naval Air Station, Col. Bill Kelly was the newly appointed leader of four young officers selected to form an elite military task force. Complicating the task is a strained father-daughter relationship and some romantic interests.

NCIS (2003-present): NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) is about a team of special agents who investigate crimes that have any evidence connected to Navy and Marine Corps personnel, regardless of rank or position. From murder and espionage to terrorism and stolen subs, these agents have plenty to keep them busy.

Information gathered from The Internet Movie Database and

The Cast

Erik Palladino is “Sgt. Scream.”

Lizette Carrion is “Doublewide.”

Josh Henderson plays “Bo.”

Luke MacFarlane as “Dim.”

Kirk “Sticky” Jones is “Smoke.”

Nicki Aycox as “Mrs. B.”

Photos courtesy of FX


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