The Lieutenant - The Complete Series, Part 1
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A man of war. A time of fragile peace. This is the set-up for Gene Roddenberry’s The Lieutenant, the tale of a brash and charming Marine lieutenant (2001: A Space Odyssey’s Gary Lockwood) serving at Camp Pendleton under a steely, button-down captain (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’s Robert Vaughn). The Lieutenant is packed full of themes, tropes, and quirks that Roddenberry would further explore in his next series, Star Trek. Lockwood’s William Tiberius Rice (yes, Tiberius!) is every bit the charming devil, but that’s just the glossy veneer that covers his firm commitment to Corps and Country. While Vaughn’s Captain Rambridge has the reasoning and the seasoning to keeps Rice in line when his passions overflow. TV greats James Gregory (Barney Miller) and Richard Anderson (The Six Million Dollar Man) enjoy recurring roles and a young Richard Donner (Superman, Lethal Weapon) directs many an episode. 16-Episodes, 4-Disc Collection.
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Disc 4 has an episode titled "Alien" about Rambridge's inadvertent adoption of a young Korean boy. I watched a few minutes, but it just wasn't stacking up (as cute as the kid was). I was starting to think that I wasn't going to purchase the 2nd DVD series. Maybe the series was getting low ratings and was trying to broaden it's audience? The dull episodes seemed to be getting more frequent as I went on.
Then I watched the next episode titled "O'Rourke." O'Rourke is simply one of the most entertaining television episodes I've ever seen. Eddie Albert steals the show with an amazing performance as an old war veteran turned journalist doing a story on the current state of the Marines. Arnold's character thinks the Marines are going soft, and he doesn't hide his observations. Does O'Rourke have a point? Well, in spite of the intentions of the writer and director to show O'Rourke as a madman motivated by his own securities, I found myself rooting for Arnold's character in the end. After all, this is the Marines people! So, I guess I gotta splurge for Part 2. If anything else comes close to O'Rourke I will be getting my money's worth!
Looks like it got dumped for being a bit too prescient regarding social issues and the military at a time when those things weren't a good fit for popular consumption. Wish it had gone on longer, though. It's a good piece of work.
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