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Feature: Primetime

Over There

In the line of fire…

NYPD Blue producer Steven Bochco turns his sights on the realities of the Iraq War…

Steven Bochco’s new series Over There, set in Iraq, has been praised by critics as ground-breaking, fictionalizing a real war that is being played out nightly on the news.

Bochco is very clear that he doesn’t want to “politicize the show in any way. From day one that’s been a very strong concern of mine, because I don’t think it’s relevant to the dramatization of this war, and of the men and women who are in uniform and in harm’s way. I think the moment you take a political position, you’re not doing what art is supposed to do, which is to ask provocative questions. The moment you take a political position, you’re providing answers. And inevitably, when you provide answers, half the people say, ‘That’s the wrong answer’. And suddenly, you’re involved in a debate about is this the right answer or is that the right answer, and nobody is paying attention to the fundamental drama of this situation.”

Executive Producer Chris Gerolmo agrees, adding, “We’re telling these stories about these six or eight young people on the ground in Iraq and their loved ones at home. And I find that to be the stuff of really compelling drama. I believe that war is a natural subject for television, that it has all the drama of Law and Order, all the action of 24, and all the blood, for better or for worse, of CSI. What we want to write about are these experiences and these kids.”

Bochco also acknowledges that he is very careful to shun stories that are ‘ripped from the headlines’. “I think particularly in an environment of fast-moving events, you really do run the risk of getting dated quickly, so we tend to avoid that.”

by Judy Sloane

Read the full Primetime in
TV Zone #198

Photo © Fox Television
Feature © Visual Imagination 2006. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #198
February 2006
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