Pensacola: Wings of Gold (1997–2000)
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So, if I had to recommend the series to anybody, all I'd like to say is: Watch it!!!
That's just my opinion on the show. I've always had a fascination for the military & when P:WOG started here I began watching it because my favourite actress is Brynn Thayer. However, you don't need to like the actors or theme of this show to be totally swept away by it like I was. It's not just a military show for young boys who want to join the army. It's funny, dramatic, classy & timeless, with excellent writing & great storylines. I've watched a lot of television & seen a lot of excellent programs & Pensacola is right up there with E.R. & other shows of its calibre.
I realise I've used words like 'best' & 'excellent' quite a few times & Pensacola is completely deserving of such words. For those of you who have not seen this series, I feel sorry for you, because you have missed out on something truly wonderful.
I also have to put a vote in for the second cast - they were more charismatic than the cast of season one. I would definitely agree that the first season had a more serious vibe than the second two, but I was definitely more sucked in by the latter cast. Even though the series has been off the air for years, I'll never stop hoping that it be released for purchase.
Although I was not a pilot, I served with many pilots both in TBS and at a MCAS. Those reviewers who simply question the inaccuracy of the Florida location are really missing the boat. This show has no accuracy at all about the Marine Corps.
The one reviewer who compared it to Baywatch was right on the button. The inaccuracies as to the relationship between the Navy and the Marine Corps are very simply explained: The Department of the Navy includes both branches, i.e. the Navy and the Marine Corps. And Pensacola is a training base both for Navy and Marine Corps pilots, but...
There is little time for romance and intrigue at Pensacola, it is a highly dynamic, stressful, and competitive training environment. The ludicrous situations that they concoct on this show are an affront to not only TV programming in general, but also to the real pilots that they pretend to depict.
I think it is interesting that there are so few reviews of this show here at IMDB, and even more interesting that not one real pilot did a review. I have to assume that is because none of them ever watched the show.
Here are ways that it does: 1)no mountains, but the only time the actually show the mountains is after they have taken off and have gone some distance to run flights. You don't have to go very far for mountains. Alabama has them. 2)Their beaches....not quite as nice as they really are. 3)palm trees??? if you have ever been to P'cola in the winter, you know that palm trees won't survive that well. I don't think in the 9 years that I lived there I ever saw a palm tree like the ones on the show. Even the ones there now, don't look half as good. 4)They never say that the entire base is commanded by a Marine, just the people they report to... which is the way it would actually be, Marines in charge of Marines. And obviously you have never told these thoughts to a Marine, because I know a few that would kill you for saying that they work for the Navy. They may be branched off of the Navy, but they don't work for them. You aren't military either, because none of the branches work for the other, they all try to work together.
While the show may not have been the best, there were some good aspects of it (both casts). I never got to watch it when it was on because P'cola didn't show it till 2 am on Sat. But now I am getting back into it. And every so often they show something from home. The intro usually has the "City of Five Flags" sign that is at the main way into the city. A few epis ago I saw one of the cast actually reading the Pensacola News Journal in one of the epis. And every so often you get a second or two of footage that is actually from P'cola.
You have to remember it is television. Most shows take place in NYC or LA or a major city cloe to there. P'cola isn't a major city (you're lucky if it is a city) and it is now where near NYC and LA. Most of the show was probably filmed in Cal. somewhere south of LA, probably San Diego. It is cheap to film there and it is only a few hours away. No one would actually want to go out to P'cola and spent 3 months there to film the show. It would cost a fortune. But they tried.
Just give the show a try if you want. It really isn't that bad. Just don't go to P'cola looking for what you see on TV.
The stereotypes of different characters are more influential in the plot than the actual story.
AVOID AT ALL COST!
The subsequent seasons were a gawd-awful attempt of Melrose Place meets Top Gun!
I was a Marine stationed at Miramar at the time and I remember them shooting the show around the San Diego area. I got to talk to Rod Rowland and James Brolin.
Rowland's character was good to go.
Brolin's character was good in the first season only. For some reason he slacked off after the first ep of the second season.
If you want to see a LITTLE of how the Marine Air Ground team operates, then season one is the one to watch.
If you're into Melrose Place and soap opera like plots with an attempt to merge them into Top Gun, then see the last two seasons.
Watch out for that nasty American moralising and cheesing happy endings where it wouldn't happen in real life.