anybody remember this TV Series from 1987-1990?
it wasnt so much a big-budget one man army show, it focused on a single platoon in Vietnam. Tour of Duty was great not to politicize the war in the same way We Were Soldiers shows the glory, or how Platoon paints the US as just as bad as the Vietnamese. Tour of Duty showed each character as a person, not the robot-like Marines of Full Metal Jacket. it portrayed a lot of what a typical soldier in the 'Nam would go through, too much for one platoon maybe? reguardless, Tour of Duty drove home the point that most Vietnam films were trying to make; dont tar every soldier as a babykiller, look at them as people doing their jobs.
Tour of Duty wasnt so much about big names, Carl Weathers took a role in the last season as Colonel Brewster, and Ving Rhames took a lead role in one episode as Specialist 4 Tucker. Michael Madsen has also been featured as Sergeant Block.
the series also didnt show America as the ultimate fighting force, they f*ck up in firefights and pay for it. you're guaranteed one firefight per episode for the most part, but these arent raging battles with napalm and mortar fire, the platoon fight the war for themselves and do sometimes lose people, same as the Viet Cong and NVA lose people. there is one scene where a wounded Captain, Captain Rusty Wallace(Kevin Conroy) fires his M16 Carbine one handed as he goes down in typical 1980's action hero fashion, but for 90% of the series, the platoon are shown to be adept with their weapons and it didnt rely on huge explosions and air support to get the viewer interested.
Tour of Duty played out, in parts, a lot like the Michael Herr book Dispatches. the characters are authentic, their conversations dont feel forced and they know their place. there's no fresh faced recruits leading charges or medics instanting bringing people back to life. the platoon's Sergeant, Staff Sergeant Zeke Anderson(Terence Knox) is considered the lead character, and is probably one of the best portrayals of what a Sergeant should be, rivalling Generation Kill's Sergeant Brad Colbert.