The Brave: “Pilot” – Review

The Brave premieres September 25, 10pm on NBC.

The Brave is best understood as an attempt by NBC to dramatize the counter-terrorism efforts of America that CBS has managed to homogenize and turn into a network cash cow by churning out various iterations that your parents and grandparents apparently love. The difference being, The Brave actually manages to tell that same story albeit with a different perspective. However, showing unique perspectives can’t be the only thing to make a show successful and in this case, it isn’t.

Stop me if you’ve heard this description before…

Anne Heche plays Defense Intelligence Agency Director, Patricia Campbell, who leads a team of too-pretty-to-actually-be-believable analysts that I’m sure we’ll get to know better over the course of the show as they attempt to aid the elite group of boots on the ground Special Ops that’s lead by Captain Adam Dalton (Mike Vogel). Together, they work in tandem to provide counter-terrorism across the Middle-East in an attempt to take the fight to the enemy’s backyard while trying to maintain any semblance of humanity and morality. Where the show is most successful in its efforts is the perfect balance showing both sides of the stories and not relying too heavily on either the analysts or SpecOps, doing its best avoiding the pitfalls of shows that have come before and done similar storylines to the point of exhaustion.

Both leads (Heche/Vogel) have a commanding performance on screen and the ultimate crux of the pilot is to introduce you to the main cast, their plight, how they handle and interpret what they’re doing as people fighting for a common goal and how they come out on top in the end, but just as The Brave begins to paint with the aforementioned same broad strokes as other shows it manages to throw a wrench in all of that just before the pilot’s credits which caused me to wonder where they are going from here. I must admit that for a show that would typically find its way on my watchlist, then slowly fall through the cracks of my viewing schedule, The Brave managed to have me wanting to stick with it for several more episodes just to see where the story will lead because they could actually to be onto something interesting if they continue down the path they have set forth. At the risk of sounding overly cryptic, spying on their IMDB page shows that some of the cast changeover could lead to very interesting plot developments which is new for a show of this genre. Another aspect of this show that could play largely in its favor is its episode order being only six episodes. I’m hoping this will cause the story to be tighter and more conscious of how the screen time will be used and could prove very beneficial for making this show standout amongst other new products, while allowing for viewers to find it and stick with it week to week with little exerted effort.

I know that might be hoping for a lot from a fledgling show that by all accounts looks like something you’ve seen before, but I’m trying to remain positive and hopeful. In the end, I would recommend giving The Brave a chance. I’m warning you now the pilot will feel familiar but I’m advising to push through it and try to see the show it’s trying to be. I’m planning on sticking with it after the first episode in hopes that it pulls itself out of the pit of averageness and to a place that leaves an impression on the viewer. I know this requires an element of patience that typically isn’t practiced by today’s viewers. Mix that with my atypical review and timid recommendation, but I would argue that those who have truly been entertained by TV know the feeling of finding a show and watching it grow into something better over time. While the pilot will have several moments that aren’t exactly the most groundbreaking in terms of television and storytelling, I also believe that its depiction of both the analysts and spec ops are entertaining and left me curious as to where the story would go from the first episode. {Side Note: I would also attribute this to very stylistic editing.} There’s not much more you can ask from a pilot.

I give The Brave a B.

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