THE RUNWAY – YOUR 2017 PILOT SURVIVAL GUIDE: CBS DRAMAS

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Unt. Navy SEALs

Logline: Follows the lives of the elite Navy SEALs as they train, plan and execute the most dangerous, high-stakes missions our country can ask.
Cast: David Boreanaz, Jim Caviezel, Max Thierot, Neil Brown Jr., A.J. Buckley, Toni Trucks, Jessica Pare
Creators: Ben Cavell (W / EP), Sarah Timberman (EP), Carl Beverly (EP), Ed Redlich (EP / SR), Chris Chulack (D / EP)
Studios: CBS TV Studios

Like For God & Country, Unt. Navy SEALs is about a bunch of American heroes rescuing an American hostage in hostile territory, with the main dilemma being an ethical one: Should the hostage be sacrificed for the sake of nabbing a high-value terrorist target who might be a huge asset, intelligence-wise? Or should the extraction mission be jeopardized for the sake of bringing a young, innocent woman back to her family?

CBS is really winning me over with its heroic procedurals this year. Penned by Homeland and Justified alum Ben Cavell, the pilot boasts of an assured style, a strong and diverse ensemble with root-worthy relationships, and potent action. The writing never lets its patriotic themes overshadow the characters and story, making Unt. Navy SEALs feel much more nuanced than the other aspirants to this trend.

Honestly, to find faults with the writing here would be to nitpick. The network had some trouble casting the lead, but with David Boreanaz now toplining instead of Jim Caviezel, CBS might actually have lucked out. I’d be very surprised if this didn’t go to series.

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