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The line of thinking says that characters have to operate completely autonomously to be considered heroic. The comments I've seen point out that Bratt and his colleagues (including boss Dennis Hopper) direct others to do the work but need to get approval from above for that work to be carried out. In other words, they don't DO anything themselves.
I watched the episodes I've seen with a jaundiced eye, the critics' words in mind. But Bratt comes off as, while slightly arrogant and naive, a true crusader who is learning to work the system to get very heroic things done. Along the way he designs some pretty creative military missions.
Jerry Bruckheimer may be stretching himself a little thin, but this one is pretty darn good. I would give it 7 out of 10. For one thing, the acting and writing (discounting a few egregious clichés) is better than CSI: Miami.
Love the rule-breaking for the right reasons and the loyalty. Loyalty is big in my book. Sorry, but there are a lot of us old-fashioned types still out here!
Also, like the bike-riding to the Pentagon! That is GREAT stuff.
The feisty Pierce is probably my favorite character so far. She stands up to the big boys and delivers a lot of tough love.
Hopper surprised me as McNulty. I like him.
Tisnewski is appropriately sexy, completely good and right. In short, he's courageous as a Gryffindor (can't resist the Harry Potter references you know).
The other characters aren't developed enough yet, but I'm convinced so far.
Bring on the white hats.
Sharing the same network as the hugely successful "West Wing," "E-Ring" draws inescapable comparisons to its popular predecessor. Simply put -- what "West Wing" did for the White House, "E-Ring" does for the Pentagon.
Helmed by Hollywood uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, E-Ring is set in the all-powerful outermost ring of the Pentagon's five concentric corridors, where special-ops military responses to the ever-changing world situation are planned and executed. As one might expect, such an open-ended, dynamic setting lends itself to an almost limitless list of scenarios -- ripe for the traditional hour-long TV drama format.
The basis for "E-Ring" centers around a newly-assigned special-ops Army major, Jim Tiznewski, or "J.T.," played superbly by Benjamin Bratt. The series follows Tiznewski from his initial posting to the Pentagon from his former field-operations status as he reports to his new C.O., played by film veteran Dennis Hopper in a canny bit of casting. Along the way, the pair deal with up-to-the-minute intelligence reports from around the globe, determine which are deserving of immediate military attention and then apply the appropriate response.
Bratt and Hopper are joined by a well-placed supporting cast, including Anjenue Ellis as the tough-as-nails Marine Sargent who serves as the logistical guru who holds the Spec-ops planning office together; Kelly Rutherford, who plays the high-ranking civilian counsel acting as a legal liaison between the Pentagon and the White House; Joe Morton, as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Spec-ops who serves as the ranking decision-maker for Bratt and Hopper; and, in another bit of brilliant casting, former "Brat-Packer" Andrew McCarthy as a slippery Congressional liaison (a casting choice not unlike that of Rob Lowe in the early seasons of West Wing).
Although original plans for the series apparently called for Bratt's character to be married, those plans were changed in favor of having "romantic interests." It is hard to imagine that the first of these "romantic interests" could be improved upon -- at least from a plot standpoint -- as his first live-in girlfriend is a covert CIA operative who sometimes "unofficially" hands him key bits of intelligence. This development should remain an interesting sub-plot for many episodes to come.
What impresses me, as a viewer, is that the show has the ring of authenticity. Although I have never served in the military, a friend of mine has -- even spending time in the Pentagon itself -- and reports that, although the show has the usual amount of TV glamorization added to it for dramatic purpose, it has enough accuracy to hit close to the mark. Characters in the show might bend the rules occasionally, but respect for chain-of-command is inherent throughout.
Also impressive is that the show does not take on a level of high-handed moral "preachiness" which might mar a lesser show. The main theme to "E-Ring," if there is one, is that the military takes care of its own -- because others won't -- and this is done with a minimum of political strings attached.
Between the excellent cast, intelligent story lines which are suitably complex without being burdensome and the high-quality Hollywood-like production values undoubtedly insisted upon by Bruckheimer, "E-Ring" has the potential to be a sure-fire hit -- providing NBC gives it enough of a chance for it to find its audience.
Grade: 9, out of 10.
I have not heard if the show is coming back and would be extremely disappointed if NBC does not bring it back.
All the actors are superb and I have been a huge Dennis Hooper fan since the 60's. Benjamin Bratt is very talented and does add a lot the the show. The rest of the cast are superb also.
Please bring back.
I enjoy E-Ring and hope NBC or another network picks it back up and continues to run it. (It would be amusing if E-Ring were to go the way of JAG, which started on NBC, was dropped at the end of the first season, and then ran for nine additional, successful seasons on CBS.) Whoever runs it, I certainly hope the show is not killed for good.
Thanks for reading.
User Rating: 9/10
BOTTOM LINE: ANOTHER PIECE OF GREAT WORK DONE BY JERRY BRUCKHEIMER!