19 minutes ago
Sunday, July 20
Generation Kill #1
I managed to get my hands on the first episode of Generation Kill, HBO's new 7-part mini series based on the book of Evan Wright, the Rolling Stone reporter who was embedded with the First Recon Battalion of the US Marines in Iraq in 2003. He subsequently wrote a series of articles and released the book. Now, in a lip-smackingly good turn, the crack team from The Wire, of Ed Burns and David Simon, have shot the series based on said work.
This first episode sets itself up with we, the viewers, being shat into a scene we know nothing about, and with exposition being kept to a minimum. A marine's pre-credits take on a destroyed Kuwaiti battlefield is wonderfully Wire-esque and we are introduced quickly to the mixed bag of Marines.
Those familiar with HBO will be glad to see Ziggy from Season Two of The Wire in a lead role as a smart-ass radio operator/driver, joined by Oz's Beecher as the nervous hack arriving in a Superfly t-shirt and quickly winning the grunts over - after initially being treated with contempt - thanks to his stint as a one-time writer for Hustler magazine.
In the next hour we get savvy, sharp, jargon-heavy dialogue with no concessions made for the viewers' civilian status, keen observations of the boredom of army life, black humour, tough-talking and a disregard for authority that McNulty would be proud of. I read somewhere that Simon and Burns could be the goggle box equivalent of Hemingway and their hard-ass literary approach certainly backs up this theory.
There are only 7 parts so I expect things to move swiftly along, the usual HBO heads to pop up and this to be a cracking show, more than capable of filling the Mad Men-sized hole in my television schedule for the next while.
Read more on wikipedia, hbo and buy the book at a dead cheap rate from amazon