Question: I read your review of The Unit, in which you stated it was "lacking the messy, gritty ambiguities that doomed FX's Over There...." This is not the first time I have seen that phrase used about the best show on television in a long time. Exactly what ambiguities were you talking about? I thought perhaps it was that none of the characters called Dubya an idiot or Rumsfeld a rear end. While I'm on the subject of Over There, did you know it has attracted an almost cult following? Fox still has the message board up and running more than four months after cancellation! Most of us who visit have signed petitions, and we have mailed and e-mailed FX and its president. What else can we do to, at a minimum, get a "closer movie"? My husband was a soldier for almost 30 years and I know we had these young soldiers in our home several times throughout the years. General Hal Moore of my generation said it best: Hate war, love the American warrior. I think FX didn't realize just how much some of us would love the troops on Over There.
Answer: Problem was, there just weren't enough people loving these fictional troops for FX to carry on with the show. The fact that there is a cult and critical following for Over There may account for the entire series being released this month on DVD. But there won't be more episodes, or a TV-movie sequel, at least not that I've heard. And you got it partially right in interpreting my phrase about Over There's "messy, gritty ambiguities." What made the show so interesting, though also probably doomed it, was that it didn't make war look easy (the way the self-contained missions on The Unit kind of do). It didn't try to prettify or soften the harsh realities of the soldier's life in the Iraq War, which (in my experience) tended to infuriate those who still would like to portray it all as a "mission accomplished," while at the same time the show didn't overly politicize the situation by taking cheap shots at the military/executive-branch power structure. So it was never going to please extremists on either side of the issue, and those in the middle just chose not to watch (as they've been choosing not to do for years now).