Must See: Frontline: A Company of Soldiers

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Rob TT, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. Rob TT

    Rob TT Stunt Coordinator

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    This was on PBS last night, and it blew me away. If you want to get a good idea of what really is going on in Iraq, you will have to check it out. There is also another one called Frontline: A Soldier's Heart, coming in March. You can also watch this on-line starting Friday, if its not being shown in your area.


    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/company/

    This is one of the best things I have seen on TV in a long time. Be careful, it is graphic
     
  2. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    This was yet another positively fantastic Frontline episode, one of the only news programs that really matters anymore. (The episode about the new al-Qaeda front in Europe and the previous one about the history of US relations with the Saudi royal family are my favorites so far this year.)

    But, unfortunately, only a small portion of you will get to see this week's episode "uncut". It was broadcast without censorship in Boston, and I'm shocked that anything could be cut from it... but that's the way it is today.

    Story here: http://slate.com/id/2113918/
     
  3. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    Yes Frontline is excellent and I agree with Rich Malloy, it is one of the very few worthwhile news programs.

    They aired the censored version here. No big deal really as it was obvious what was bleeped out. Still its pathetic that the FCC has become so overbearing that PBS feels the need to bleep words like "shit" or "damn" in a powerful documentary about soldiers engaged in urban warfare.
     
  4. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    The producer did an on-line chat for the Washington Post yesterday which was very enlightening. I recommened checking it out here (registration required).
     
  5. KyleC

    KyleC Supporting Actor

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    Can anyone record this to their HTPC? I'd like to send it to a friend who's in Mosul.

    Edit: I just checked any my local PBS listings don't show it for tomorrow night. [​IMG]
    Edit: Found it, next airing in the NY area is 1am on 2/27. I see they aired it at 3:30 today so I don't think we're getting the unedited version unless they show both.
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    The uncensored version is airing here in Los Angeles on Saturday evening at 11:30. Last Tuesday's edition was the censored version. Looking forward to Saturday's!

    Agreed, this program -- Frontline -- is among the very finest offerings on television.
     
  7. KyleC

    KyleC Supporting Actor

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    Jack is there a way to tell by the listings if it's censored or not?
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Don't know, Kyle. Generally, most PBS affiliates seem to be airing the censored version. You'll have to check your local newspaper for any information, or log onto PBS.org.
     
  9. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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    Most PBS affiliates are censoring everything from Auschwitz, Frontline, Buster, and the Dirty Bomb doc. It's like AMC all over again. So much for good reasonable TV.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Except that AMC destroyed itself by selling out the fanbase in search of a mainstream audience, whereas PBS is reacting to the FCC's heavy hand (not to mention the new Head Prude of the Education Dept.) amplified by Congress's recent passing of enormous fines should one run afoul of the FCC. In other words, the former was self-imposed and the latter due to outside censorious elements.

    Hard to say which is the sadder.
     
  11. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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    But they're not really reacting at all to reason, they're playing chicken for publicity or other unknown reason. The stations that have aired the above uncensored have not had one issue with the FCC.
     
  12. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    Yet.
     
  13. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Why don't you go air something for which you could be fined $500,000 per infraction, and take a chance as to whether the FCC will decide to go after you?

    Playing chicken for publicity "or other unknown reason"? Gimme a break. Sometimes things are real damn simple, and this is one of those times. It's simply too big a risk for most local PBS affiliates to afford, and the FCC (and the Dept. of Education) have been notably heavy-handed of late.

    Here in Boston, WGBH (which produces Frontline) probably feels it could weather the storm as it's one of the bigger and more successful PBS affiliates, and the local populace isn't exactly the sort to file complaints with the FCC over high-minded news journalism. But that little station in Fort Paudunk, Middle America, the one with 5 regular viewers that gets complaints every time Ernie and Bert hold hands? Well, they're apparently a good deal savvier about their potential exposure to massive fines than you are.
     
  14. BartJY

    BartJY Extra

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  15. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    What? Ernie and Bert are just roommates, aren't they? I mean all they did is show Ernie taking a bath and playing with his rubber ducky, while Bert, uhhhm, ahhh, ohhhh...My childhood is officially soiled.[​IMG]
     
  16. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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    The FCC said flat out no stations would be fined for SPR. There's no way they would get away with fines for an actual war documentary, when they said they wouldn't fine for pure fiction with vulgarity and violence.
     
  17. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    Can we not violate forum rules here? I dont like the recent trend with the fcc either, but I think there is something to be said that some networks are complaining about fcc pressure whether it exists or not for publicity purposes. I would be very surprised if the government fined a pbs station for airing an documentary about the current war.

    I also feel that the idea that all publicly aired television and radio has to be family friendly is something that often comes from both sides of the political spectrum.
     
  18. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    It's a shame they didn't make any such statements before the SPR broadcast was cancelled (and on a holiday commemorating veterans, for crying out loud!). Even the Boston affiliate canceled that one.

    The point is, the Bono precedent makes the station strictly liable for any profanity. But the FCC won't act without receiving a complaint, and the FCC doesn't make pre-broadcast "pronouncements of decency".

    I think this slide into a politics discussion is unfortunate, though perhaps inevitable given the uncertainty and dismay that many of us feel about such a core issue as freedom of the press and speech generally. But we needn't go there in this thread, and I'd just encourage everyone to see this program (and all the excellent Frontline episodes) regardless of whether your local station chooses to "bleep" the occasional profanity. Yes, I'm certain many may feel embarrassed at being treated in such a juvenile manner while viewing an utterly adult program, but in this instance it will detract very little from the experience.
     
  19. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    To echo Benson (and Rich): Please, no political commentary. JB
     
  20. BartJY

    BartJY Extra

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