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New York Times: Iraq war's influence seen in many TV shows

by Meredith O'Brien, posted Mar 20th 2007 5:25PM
Jack Bauer on 24 With the TV news networks dedicating major portions of their broadcasts this week to the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq, a New York Times TV critic says that the war, as well as issues related to terrorism and torture, have become major themes on American television, ranging from dramas like 24, to comedies like Saturday Night Live.

"Television shows process news events much faster than ever before but not much more directly than they did at the time of Hogan's Heroes, M*A*S*H or China Beach," critic Alessandra Stanley wrote, noting that a failed FX program, Over There about soldiers in Iraq "turned a war into entertainment as it was still being fought."

Among the shows Stanley said have incorporated story lines or references to the Iraq war and/or terrorism and torture include: 24, 30 Rock, Brothers & Sisters, Criminal Minds, The Daily Show, Grey's Anatomy, NCIS, Saturday Night Live, Sleeper Cell, The Unit and Without a Trace.

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Another show with Iraq war/terrorism allegories is the new version of Robin Hood currently airing on BBC America. I highly recommend it.

March 21 2007 at 12:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank God the New Suck Times is on the case!!!

March 20 2007 at 9:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm not a regular Battlestar Galactica watcher, but I did catch the first three episodes of this season and was blown away by the parallels between the occupation of New Caprica and the occupation of Iraq. Putrid living conditions. Suicide bombers. Bags over prisoners' heads. This is what good sci-fi does - it transports us to another world, but that world acts as a mirror to our own.

Ironically, the other series that I see making major criticisms against the Iraq war is 24. All the liberals are up in arms because of torture and violence, but they are ignoring the not-so-subtle Bush and Nixon adminstration allegories. Last season's prez was a cross between Bush and Nixon. This season's veep appears on the surface to be a war mongerer, itching to pull the trigger. And James Heller, the Secretary of State in the past two seasons, is obviously based on Dick Cheney (giving Heller a gay child was a nice touch.) In fact, if I'm right about the denouement of this season, the conservatives are not going to be happy. Russians and Chinese=good, Patriots/Neocons=bad.

March 20 2007 at 7:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BC McKinney

"Battlestar Galactica" is a huge omission, as it has been an allegory for contemporary events from the miniseries on. "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" have also had a number of stories involving the Iraq war, terrorism, the PATRIOT Act, etc.

March 20 2007 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Arrested Development has the 'Solid as Iraq' gags, the frequent appearences of Saddam 'NoScar' Hussain, te housebuilding in Iraq, the balls, Uday, and Dick Cheney.
Unfortunately the show was too good so no-one in America watched it.

March 20 2007 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Uh, that's nice, but how about Battlestar Galactica?! The episodes earlier this season on New Caprica were pretty blatant stabs! It's amazing how this fantastic show continuous to get the shaft because it's "sci-fi".

March 20 2007 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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