Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Short TV Blog

Over There started tonight (Wednesdays on FX at 10 (except in Denver)). It was OK and looks to get a lot better. I don't care about any of the people in it yet. In fact, except for the women, (how did they get in combat?) the guys are all stereotypes that were a little tired in Mailer's The Naked and the Dead or Webb's Fields of Fire.

Let's talk about weapons.

Private Williams (the hard black guy from Compton) carries a SAW, the Squad Automatic Weapon (M249) light machine gun (the modern BAR). It fires the little .223 (5.56 mm NATO improved) at a pretty good clip (over 700 cyclic) either from a belt feed (the big box full of 200 rounds on disintegrating links) or from the same clips that fit into the M-16s (or whatever they're called now) which don't go full auto anymore (just 3 round burst). That's what the SAW makes up for with fully sustained automatic fire.

The insurgents? had what looked to me like a DShK 38/40, the Russian .50 caliber machine gun (12.7 x 107 mm), which has been around from before WWII. The bad guys in the Mosque were firing it at our guys behind the berm but nothing seemed to be happening. The Russian .50 will go clean through the top foot or so of the berm. Our guys seemed absolutely fearless in the face of such lethality. Thus, the first hint of strain to credulity begins.

In one scene, which they showed often in the previews, one of the Iraqi bad guys has his AK-47 jam and the Cornell guy with a bad marriage shoots him dead. I have never fired a real (full-auto) AK-47 but everything I've been told and read makes me think that an AK jam is more likely to exist in the mind of a Hollywood type writer than in reality. I'll buy it this one time, don't let it happen again.

I guess I'll watch this show.

UPDATE: On second viewing, the AK-47 does not jam, the clip empties and the Iraqi fumbles putting the new clip in. I was left thinking that these guys (the enemy) are very brave and very stupid. There wasn't a lot of cover out there, but even lying down makes you harder to hit than standing up. They stood up like targets in a midway shooting alley.

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