It’s ironic that a show about secret missions is this year’s best kept TV secret.
The fall finale of The Brave airs this coming Monday and is likely an explosive end to an exciting first chapter. The show centres on an elite team of Defense Intelligence operators and the expert analysts who support their covert missions around the globe. The operators each have a certain set of skills, with an intelligence operative, a sniper, an ordinance expert, a medic, and all-around badass each represented. The analysts too each have their own strengths, and offer guidance to the team in locations as varied as France, Mongolia, and China.
The Brave is a stellar show, with a fascinating ensemble cast, excellent writing, with torn from the headlines style stories, but it hasn’t gained as much traction as it should.
There’s a few reasons why.
First, it has an unfortunate time-slot. It’s been slotted in against freshman ratings juggernaut The Good Doctor, which has been both a critical and audience darling since it premiered in September.
Second, on the surface, The Brave is similar to SEAL Team. For some, there may be confusion about the differences between the two shows, and given the latter’s success thus far (it’s already received a full-season order), The Brave might be getting somewhat lost in the avalanche of new fall shows.
It’s hard to compete with the breakout hit of the season; that`s just a fact. But, fortunately, most PVRs can record more than one show at a time, which means there`s no excuse for not giving The Brave a try.
And really, SEAL Team and The Brave are only similar on the surface. While the former has a fine supporting cast, there`s no question David Boreanaz carries the show on his ample shoulders. It’s a Boreanaz vehicle and Seal Team makes no apologies for that. (I’m not maligning SEAL Team, You can read my full review of that show here.)
What The Brave, does exceptionally well on the other hand, is that it revels in its ensemble. It features a terrific cast starring the inimitable Anne Heche as the all-knowing Patricia Campbell, Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and Mike Vogel, perhaps best known for his role in Under the Dome, as Adam Dalton, team leader of Campbell`s most trusted operations team.
Featuring team members Preach (Demetrius Grosse), Jaz (Natacha Karam), McG (Noah Mills), and Amir (Hadi Tabbal), The Brave gives its cast plenty of opportunities to shine. The show takes great pains to ensure that there are no caricatures amongst its characters, and featuring stereo-type busting portrayals including a Muslim-American hero, which we need now, more than ever. (See an excellent article in the New York Post about Tabbal’s performance as Amir here.)
Tate Ellington and Sofia Parnas round out the cast as two of Campbell’s top analysts.
The Brave is an excellent show. It’s well written, it has never inappropriate flashes of humour, and it’s visually interesting. But one thing the show is doing far better than most of its competitors is offering a diverse cast. Three of its eight leads are women, one is African-American, one is Muslim-American, and one (Jaz Khan) may be of Indian descent.
For this inclusivity alone the show deserves praise.
Unique combination of tension and character
One thing that`s remarkable about The Brave is that it does not glorify violence. The world its characters live in is gritty, and dangerous, and many of the show’s action sequences are up-close, brutal, and desperate. There’s no celebration in what they’re doing; they get the job done through gritted teeth and with dirt under their fingernails.
“It’s more Jason Bourne, than G.I. Joe,” said Mike Vogel.
It’s a fitting description. It’s real, it’s raw, and while the show doesn’t celebrate the work they do, (it certainly isn’t a rah rah type of superhero show) it doesn’t shy away from the crippling moral decisions that come with operating in this world, either. Nothing comes easily to Dalton and his team.
The Brave is a blend of character drama and action, and it effortlessly connects the two. The show offers the right amount of tension, and the chemistry between the cast is top-notch, they perform like it’s season three or four of their show, not season one.
Ultimately, The Brave is one of those shows that will only get better with time; but it needs that time to grow. Hopefully viewers will find this show and give it the audience it deserves because The Brave is a show that you just need to watch.
The Brave airs on Mondays at 10 on Global in Canada and on NBC in the United States
Unless otherwise indicated, all pictures are copyright NBC