Television: Missing in Action

FX's daring new Iraq war drama is violent and provocative--but filled with cliched characters

In Over There, the FX drama about an American unit fighting in Iraq, a soldier making a video e-mail complains about being stuck "in the middle of got-damn downtown s___ville." The military censor cuts him off, saying he's not allowed to divulge his location. He's incredulous. "You see any signs for Downtown S___ville?" She's unmoved. "If you can't follow the rules," she says flatly, "you can't send the message."

That, more or less, has been the case with treating any current war on series TV. During Vietnam, M*A*S*H satirized the Korean War, while on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour Pete Seeger...

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