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another over there article

'Over There' still top rank











Whether Scream (Erik Palladino) fights on remains to be seen.

OVER THERE.
Tonight at 10, FX.

The FX series "Over There," the first to dramatize a war still being fought, ends its first season tonight at 10. If it isn't renewed, it won't be because the show failed creatively.

"Over There" goes out as it came in: as a daring, different drama that draws you in, shakes you up and leaves you thinking. Co-executive producer Steven Bochco's recent defection to "Commander in Chief" doesn't bode well for this show's chances, nor does the fact that FX, to this point, has been mum on renewal.

The average audience for "Over There" is 2 million viewers - a marginal but not insignificant number. But if those viewers have been watching faithfully, as I have, they've been seeing a series that makes you lean forward in your chair as you watch, and often slump back in it afterward.

Since the show's opening episodes, when I last reviewed it, things haven't gotten any easier for Sgt. Scream (Erik Palladino) and his "squad of virgins" - raw recruits assigned to the same unit in desolate Iraq. The men and women have bonded and gotten battle-scarred, and every dire situation in which they find themselves has a pulse-quickening tension rare to television. Even the regular characters can be killed at any time. They know it, and so do we.

"The lucky ones live to feel guilty," Scream tells his men tonight after one typically brutal ambush. That's an indictment not of this war, but of war itself - and "Over There" manages to explore conflict without damning this particular one.

Maturing as it progressed, "Over There" made outstanding use of guest appearances by former Bochco stars on "NYPD Blue." Mark-Paul Gosselaar played an embedded TV reporter who was captured by the enemy, who threatened his execution on an Internet TV feed. Scream's squad found and stormed the location - but as they did, one of the kidnappers beheaded the reporter.

In another episode, Currie Graham (the last-season "NYPD" boss) played a medic with a death wish. Before that hour was over, his wish was granted - when he punctuated a tense confrontation by killing himself.

Regular squad members dealt with their respective demons, whether recovering from injuries, fearing or reacting to the infidelity of spouses back home, or doing their best to achieve and survive each week's assigned objective. Everything was presented boldly, including the unprecedented decision to end, rather than begin, each week's show with the theme song.

I want these soldiers to survive, and I want them to be happier. If they don't return for a second shift on FX, I'll think a lot about what might have happened to them. That alone should be enough for renewal - but if it's not, everyone involved with "Over There" can pack it up with pride.

Originally published on October 26, 2005
i got this article off of nydaily news site...

article by David Bianculli
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