Terence Knox, Stephen Caffrey, Miguel Nunez, Jr. A U.S. Army platoon struggles against the merciless, bloody tactics of the Viet Cong-and its own government-while trying to serve their country and keep up morale. 20 episodes on 5 DVDs. 1987-88/color/9 hrs/NR/fullscreen.
The first television series to depict the American soldier in combat during the Vietnam War, producer Zev Braun's Emmy-nominated Tour of Duty
earned critical acclaim during its three-season run. Judging by the number of Internet sites devoted to the program, it also remains a fan favorite more than a decade after its 1989 cancellation; said fans should be pleased with this five-disc set, which compiles the entire 1987 debut season in a slightly altered format. What's untouched on this set is the drama and tension endured by the men of Company B, a racially and socially diverse platoon led by Sgt. Zeke Anderson (Terence Knox), as they serve their twelve-month tour in 1967. The 21 episodes of the first season (largely helmed by veteran TV writer-director Bill W.L. Norton) take the platoon from their formation at Firebase Ladybird ("Pilot") to the brutal battle to take Hill 1000 ("The Hill") that concludes the season on a downbeat note. What's missing, as longtime fans will immediately note, is the theme song (the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black") and much of the vintage rock music that played throughout the series. They've been replaced by generic (if effective) library tracks, which may lessen the impact of certain favorite scenes for viewers familiar with the broadcast versions. Also, no other extras are available on the disc, which is a slight disappointment, but for fans, simply having the entire first season might be satisfying enough. --Paul Gaita