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1984   1983  

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 First Sgt. Eugene Allard (12 episodes, 1983-1984)
...
 Platoon Sgt. James "China" Bell / ... (12 episodes, 1983-1984)
Shelley Smith ...
 Capt. Carolyn Engel (12 episodes, 1983-1984)
...
 Capt. Steven Wiecek (12 episodes, 1983-1984)
...
 Cpl. Grace Pavlik (12 episodes, 1983-1984)
Peter Kowanko ...
 Pvt. Chris Dolan (12 episodes, 1983-1984)
...
 Pvt. Duke Johnson (12 episodes, 1983-1984)
...
 Pvt. Dominick Petrizzo (12 episodes, 1983-1984)
...
 Pvt. Utah Wilson (12 episodes, 1983-1984)
...
 Sharon (12 episodes, 1983-1984)
...
 Mary Lee (12 episodes, 1983-1984)
Shanna Reed ...
 Phyllis Wiecek (12 episodes, 1983-1984)
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23 September 1983 (USA)  »

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Filling the gap.
3 August 2012 | by See all my reviews

It seems that if we go long enough without a war, the entertainment business has to fill the gap. Prior to the Gulf War, the "military technothriller" was a Very Big Deal in pop literature. Usually awful writing, but the scary part was that the authors, in getting us to the place where they could let off their hypothetical guns, were all too logical in explaining how events move from the here and now to the fighting.

Sort of in this time frame on television, we had "Call to Glory", set in the Viet Nam era, and "Tour of Duty, ditto. And then there was Top Gun.

Since a military soap opera can only go so long, there was a piece in "Love and Honor" where the guys were out on night maneuvers getting struck by lightning. Closest the producers could get to an actual war in those blessed days, but it meant they felt a gap, or felt the audience would feel a gap.

The company commander was a weasel and, while there are incompetent company commanders, at least in comparison to their peers, there are few weasels, since weaselry is detected at lower ranks. Nobody, no battalion commander, nobody wants as weasel working for him and there are ways to see they go nowhere. As one instructor said, there are lots of captains but not many company commanders. Although in this case, he would be a battery commander, since the outfit was "Airborne Artillery".

The writing and acting were superb. I asked a friend, also ex-Infantry, if he thought the dialog was realistic. He thought it was. Was there any profanity? He stared. If you can convince a couple of ex-grunts you're an authentic cannon-cocker doing actual military stuff without bad language, you're a terrific writer and a terrific actor. And the situations were not far off for garrison duty in peacetime.

I'd rate it higher except that I was always aware that we were filling in for real war. Until the real thing came along.


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