As the Holidays draw near and new episodes of TV shows become scarce, I’d like to take a moment to step back and see where we stand so far in this 2017-18 television season.
Last week, I took to Twitter to conduct a series of super scientific tests, to gauge the opinions of the masses on what they are enjoying most so far this season.
The question posed for this post: What is the Best New Show on NBC this season? Read on for the not at all surprising results …
The Brave wins it by a landslide!
Now, if you follow me on Twitter you know I am a big fan of this show. From A-Z, its everything you want in an hour long drama: an amazing cast, a deep cast of characters you care about, stories that keep you engrossed, and just enough serialization to make you want to come back week after week to see how things are progressing.
— Pop Culture Review (@AdminPopCultRev) December 12, 2017
In the intro, I said the poll results were unsurprising. Perhaps you assumed Will & Grace (which isn’t really a new show but I included it because, well its my poll, I can do what I want) would win hands down; I mean it already has another season locked up and has done consistently well for NBC ratings wise. The Brave, on the other hand,is only slated for a 13 episode Season 1, hasn’t yet been picked up for a season 2, and has struggled in the ratings – its consistently shed too much of its The Voice lead in and has not been able to reliably break through the 1% share of the coveted 18-49 demographic (to be fair, its also going up against ABC’s The Good Doctor, one of the highest rated new shows on TV this season).
But! From a social media perspective, the fans of The Brave are a vocal bunch. From live tweeting in such volume that it regularly gets the show trending on a new episode nights to the current hashtag phenomenon, “#TheBraveHiatusSupportGroup,” fans of The Brave are a fiercely dedicated bunch. Feeding off of that fan-based energy, the creator (and co-showrunner and executive producer) of The Brave, Dean Georgaris, and several of the cast members are extremely accessible to fans and regularly interact with them on the show, stories and characters.
So, with this in mind, once the word got out I was running this poll, it should be no surprise that the fans flocked to vote for their favorite new show. The Brave took 88% of the 164 votes cast with NBC darling, Will & Grace, pulling 9%, Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders pulling an anemic 1%, and the remaining 2% made up of Other (though no Other show was actually mentioned in the comments). On the latter, that means, “Nothing” did twice as well as Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders. Sad.
So, what makes The Brave so good? What makes it the Best Show You’re Not Watching? Good question, lets talk about it a bit. Starring Anne Heche, Mike Vogel, Tate Ellington, Demetrius Grosse, Natacha Karam, Noah Mills, Sofia Pernas and Hadi Tabbal, The Brave follows the story of Captain Adam Dalton (Vogel) and his elite undercover Special Ops unit, as they travel the world attempting to complete dangerous missions deemed extremely important to the vital national security interests of the United States but are either too difficult, complex or sensitive to be trusted to any other operators or military units. Controlled from Washington, D.C. by Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Deputy Director Patricia Campbell (Heche), Dalton & Co also rely on overwatch assistance from 2 DIA analysts, Noah Morgenthau (Ellington) and Hannah Archer (Pernas). Morgenthau and Archer are in mission control with Campbell while missions are active and Morgenthau has even run point when Campbell has been unavailable, making him an unofficial second-in-command of sorts. Also, we’ve learned Archer was previously a deep cover operator but her backstory has so far remained shrouded in mystery.
On the ground, Dalton’s team is filled out by an elite squad of Tip of the Spear warriors. Filling the role of “fiercest woman warrior on TV” today, Sgt Jasmine ‘Jaz’ Khan (Karam) handles sniper duties for the team and also bears the brunt of all of the female undercover work needing to be done. Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Ezekiel “Preach” Carter (Grosse) is the wizened moral compass of the team and Dalton’s Number 2. Sgt Joseph “McG” McGuire (Mills) is the team’s combat medic and a general operator (and rogue ladies man). Rounding out the team is the newest member, Amir Al-Raisani (Tabbal) who is former CIA and fills in the intelligence role for the team’s operations.
In the first 9 episodes, The Brave has traveled throughout the Middle East (not surprising in a show depicting our country’s present day military obstacles and threats), but has also gone to Mexico, Nigeria, Paris, Spain and Mongolia. Wherever America’s enemies are, Dalton & Co are there to meet the challenge head on.
In a TV season that saw three military dramas debut (SEAL Team on CBS and Valor on The CW round out the group), The Brave is the undisputed best of the bunch. Valor is in its own soap opera, CW-ish, category for military drama and is really not even worth talking about, but SEAL Team and The Brave deal in the same world and occupy the same space. Disclaimer – I watch both shows and both are enjoyable. But, if push comes to shove, The Brave is better. Why? The characters. Georgaris has crafted a deep bench of characters, all of which you care about, all of which you’re interested in, and most importantly for the overall longevity and likability of a show, if one character died or an actor left the show, the show would not collapse – the story could continue.
By contrast, SEAL Team is wholly dependent on the strength of David Boreanaz’s shoulders to hold the show up. Should he decide he doesn’t feel like playing a Navy SEAL anymore, SEAL Team collapses because while the supporting cast is fine and entertaining and compelling in their own ways, you are not invested in them. SEAL Team is told through the lens of SEAL Team Leader Jason Hayes (Boreanaz) as he directs his team and experiences life and its struggles, and the supporting cast is there solely to support his story. If Anne Heche said “fuck it” and quit, The Brave could continue because you care about the story as a whole and each character’s place in it.
With the amount of TV available to watch, you must be careful how you allocate your time. For me, there is no better hour spent than watching The Brave. Here’s to the Twitter fans pimping the #RenewTheBrave, your cause is just and righteous. Hopefully NBC hears your pleas and grants this fantastic new show a Season 2.