I don't know if you've been able to tell, but you're about to be bombarded with a glut of military-themed shows this fall. Well, relatively. Network television is about to go from zero to three series about the armed forces, with NBC's The Brave, CBS' SEAL Team and The CW's Valor all marching for your eyeballs this fall.
But how will you tell them apart? Valor looks to be the easiest to stand on its own thanks particularly to one major factor: it's a female-driven show (which also helps The CW in its attempts to skew a bit more female). Christine Ochoa (Blood Drive) stars as a new member of an elite helicopter pilot squad, one of the first groups of special forces to allow women in its ranks.
"We're very aware of how many military dramas there are," executive producer Anna Fricke (Wayward Pines) said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. "What drew me to this and why I was so excited to work with [executive producer] Kyle [Jarrow] and this great group is that this is a female-driven military drama, which I do think does set it apart."
And that's true. The Brave stars Mike Vogel as its manly combat man, and SEAL Team has women on its team, but they're not on the field of combat. Ochoa's Nora Madani is right up in the business, on par with her male counterparts and fighting not just to belong, but to be the best.
"It's incredibly timely," Ochoa said. "I'm very excited and proud to be part of a community that wants to post-election mobilize in any way they can, and for us that's storytelling. So I think that bringing strong, empowered females to the forefront in telling these stories, and their plight and showing them as nuanced and filled with subtleties and kind of the challenges and everything that they go through is incredibly important especially these days."
"There's also reality here," Jarrow said. "There are women in the armed forces, and we feel like that's a story that's true and hasn't been told a lot. We're not making this up, we're shining a light on something that is real and is an emerging trend."
But this is a show on The CW, and the producers are open about including some "soapiness." However, it's nothing that is out of bounds in the military.
"Folks in the military ... are human beings," Jarrow said. "They are sleeping with people, they are cheating on people, they are struggling with questions of personal morality and personal choices, just like we all do. And it felt really important to dramatize that in telling a full story of what it's like to be someone in the military. So in terms of delivering those soapy elements, it actually feels like it's being honest about what it is to be someone in the military. So hopefully we can get some good soapy intrigue in order in a way that feels authentic and true to the lives of military folks."
Valor premieres Monday, Oct. 2 on The CW.