Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Although suffering from many first episode attempts to explain both the premise and the characters, the first episode of THE UNIT was generally a fulfilling one. It now becomes the first major television drama to deal with military responses to terrorism in the changing world as a weekly series.

And it presents another major TV network first, the first use of the fine actor Dennis Haysbert as the first major Black lead actor in TV drama. Generally Black actors have had some strong supporting roles that are not only memmorable, as well as EMMY worthy, but the role of Haysbert, who has one of acting's finest voices, now represents an authoritive actor who conveys a real sense of wisdom and leadership as the commander actor in THE UNIT.

Generally there is a great divide in the viewing habits of Black and Whie viewers according to weekly Nielsen ratings reports. And hopefully Haysbert will inspire more major networks to develop programming around a strong Black lead character. Right now the urban comedies on UPN draw much of the Black viewership, with only the CSI MIAMI drama on CBS making much of a dent into Black viewership demographics.

The Latin market is the other largely untapped market by the major networks, with only George Lopez making much a dent into this market. Normally Latin programming on UHF and Cable draws much of this market.

But besides the very strong acting abilities of Haysbert, THE UNIT features veteran actor, Robert Patrick, who played in T2, but he seemed a little underutilized so far in the first UNIT episode. But as the series extends on, hopefully all these first episode rough spots will iron out as THE UNIT finds a smooth flow and continues the evening's military oriented themes of the highly successful NCIS 8pm opener.

The opening episodes action in Afghanistan, as well as the aircraft hijacking main story, certainly had many good moments. And far from being a recycled version of the older action film, THE DELTA FORCE, this CBS offerings modern weekly tackling of terrorism issues should quickly find an audience. However, it was surprising when the very fine Iraq War drama on Cable, OVER THERE, failed in the ratings.


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