A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in addition to the violence inherent in its military action sequences, this unexciting series deals with adult themes of adultery, domestic violence, drinking, and miscarriage. Women and men hold stereotypical roles, and children are mostly seen but not heard. Terrorists, at least early in the first season, are Muslim only.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE UNIT, an elite military special forces team fights terrorism at home and abroad while, back at the base, their wives hold down the home front while worrying about their husbands' safety. Dennis Haysbert leads the team as Jonas Blane, backed by his crew, which includes newbie Bob Brown (Scott Foley from Felicity). Back at the base, Molly Blane (Regina Taylor) serves as the matriarch, helping to acclimate Kim Brown (Audrey Marie Anderson) to the secretive life of a special forces wife while keeping an eye on the emotional and spiritual lives of the rest of the women. Playwright and filmmaker David Mamet writes and directs some episodes and shares executive producing credits with Shawn Ryan, creator of the Emmy-winning The Shield.
Is it any good?
The show's male-female dichotomy, while potentially realistic in some military homes, isn't portrayed with any critical distance. The idea that the woman's role is to care for the home and family while providing an emotional safe haven for her stoic, hard-working husband is only reinforced by the dialogue ("If he's anything like mine, he's gonna need a little space.") and the action (when the new guy looks at photos of his wife and daughter before beginning a dangerous mission, Blane tells him the best way to get home to them is to put the photos away and concentrate on the mission).
Violence plays a big part in the show, though it doesn't reach the graphic heights of 24. Guns are big and plentiful, and in the first episode, Brown slits a terrorist's throat rather gruesomely and Blane shoots a mule point-blank as a distraction device. The violence doesn't end back at home, either, with hints of domestic violence complicated by adultery. Despite the mostly strong actors and the talent behind the camera, The Unit rehashes familiar territory, adding only the female aspect to the mix, and doing it without panache.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about traditional male and female roles and how they've changed in the last several decades. Why don't we see women in more combat roles? And what about killing and torture? Under what circumstances are these acts acceptable? How different do you think the real-life military is from the fictionalized military portrayed in television and movies?
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