A drama series set at an American base during the Vietnam War. Rather than focusing on the battle scenes that made up most other portrayals of the war, this show looked at the everyday ... See full summary »
Lt. Col. Iceal "Ham" Hambleton is a weapons countermeasures expert and when his aircraft is shot over enemy territory the Air Force very much wants to get him back. Hambleton knows the area... See full summary »
Combat!, a one-hour WWII drama series on television, followed a frontline American infantry squad as they battled their way across Europe. With mud-splattered realism, the show offered ... See full summary »
Impressive performance by unknown actors in this low-budget Vietnam drama. The story is being told in the form of a documentary; a camera team follows an Army unit in pursuit of 'Charlie'. ... See full summary »
Patrick Sheane Duncan
This series offers an unflinching look at the "tours of duty" of several members of a platoon during the Vietnam War. Death is inevitable in war, and major characters do die. The protagonists face the Viet Cong, social disapproval, and sometimes themselves over the course of the series. Written by
Jason A. Cormier <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The end credit black-and-white photos are by David Hume Kennerly, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography during the Vietnam War. See more »
In the pilot episode, with a background of 1967, all of the characters wear helmets with helmet covers issued in 1970s. See more »
[The area behind the platoon is swarming with V.C.]
Lt. Myron Goldman:
We got to check our rear.
Pvt. Alberto Ruiz:
Lt. Myron Goldman:
I can't do that to you, Ruiz.
Pvt. Alberto Ruiz:
Don't worry about it, sir. It's like a walk through Central Park... Only half as dangerous.
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This series could have been titled COMBAT! THE NEXT GENERATION, and lived up to that status. Zeke Anderson was a next-generation Chip Saunders and Myron Goldman a next-generation Gil Hanley. In fact, I'm surprised and disappointed that the producers didn't have Rick Jason do a guest appearance as COLONEL Gil Hanley (and it's too bad Vic Morrow was no longer alive to show up as Sergeant Major Chip Saunders)!
I think one of the reasons this series wasn't as popular on its original run as it is in syndication today is precisely because it was essentially COMBAT! with M-16s and Hueys: a lot of people in the 1980s were still of the mindset that those who fought in Vietnam were all baby killers; they couldn't accept the simple fact that the Myron Goldmans, Zeke Andersons, Alberto Ruizes, Danny Percells, Marcus Taylors, Scott Bakers and Marvin Johnsons of Vietnam, 1967 were the same ordinary American boys as the Gil Hanleys, Chip Saunderses, Cajes, Littlejohns, Braddocks and Kirbys of France, 1944, doing their best in an ugly situation that was not of their making.
TOUR OF DUTY was one of my all-time favorite series, right along with another contemporary New World Television production also set 20 years in the past, THE WONDER YEARS; . I've always seen these two series as two sides of the same coin, i.e. the battlefront and home front of the Vietnam War. It's fitting that in the TOD episode "Soldiers" (where three of the cast regulars go to Hawaii for R&R), Olivia d'Abo of THE WONDER YEARS had a guest appearance essentially playing the same character.
[For the record, I did not go to Vietnam; I was still an ROTC cadet when the war ended. That does mean, however, that I got my share of the "baby killer" epithets and spitting upon my uniform during that era! ]
Having said all that, the series was not without flaws. The first flaw was the entire 2nd season with the introduction of the female love interests for Anderson and Goldman, coincident with the start of the competing ABC series CHINA BEACH. This is a classic example of the original trying to imitate the imitator and nearly ruining itself in the process. (Anyone remember Coke vs Pepsi, New Coke and the return to Coke Classic?) My second major criticism is that although this was still one of my all-time favorite series, there's no denying that elements of just about every Vietnam War theatrical movie of that era found their way into episodes of TOUR OF DUTY; the finale of the first season was essentially a condensed, cleaned up for network TV version of HAMBURGER HILL. There were so many cases of this that, at times, I felt the series should have been titled APOCALYPSE OF THE FULL METAL HAMBURGER PLATOON AT FIREBASE GLORIA! ;-)
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