Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ultimate! Force!

(Screencaps courtesy of Violet Anchovy)

Knowing of my well-documented fondness for Sendhil Ramamurthy, best known as lovely Mohinder on Heroes, the peerless Morgan Dodge recently gifted me with Season One of Ultimate Force, a 2002-2006 ITV series focusing on Red Troop, a division of the Special Air Service (SAS), the secretive and elite special forces unit of the British Army. From the painfully generic title (honestly, Ultimate Force? Doesn’t that sound like a mid-nineties straight-to-DVD Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle?) and the jacket photo of Ramamurthy et al posing stoically with assault rifles and flak jackets, my expectations were low.

You know what? It’s not bad. It was co-created by Chris May, a retired SAS member, and there’s no reason to doubt the authenticity of the portrayal of elite military operations. Much of the entertainment value comes from the genuine pleasure of watching people who are damn good at their job, even if their job is, y’know, shooting people in the mouth. It’s not a great show -- it’s not terribly thoughtful or ground-breaking, and it undoubtedly glamorizes violence -- but, speaking as someone who grew up finding far too much entertainment value in The A-Team, I give it a jaunty thumbs-up. If you’re looking for old-school action television with a decent sense of humor, you could do worse. It’s got some cute moments, an abundance of unfathomable British slang, and a slew of guest appearances from the cast of Hornblower (which also aired on ITV). What more could you want?

Here’s a rundown of who’s who in Red Troop: