Given the nature of my blog, I obviously do a lot of reading but sometimes a TV show comes along and demands my attention. NBC’s The Brave has done that, hook, line and sinker for me. I’ve spent a few months trying to figure out why I love this show and I can’t seem to come up with just one reason, so grab a cup of whatever gets you through the day and let me tell you about The Brave and why you should be watching it.
I’d be a big fat liar and I know you’d call me out on it if I didn’t come clean with this right up front. I have a type, tall, dark, handsome, scruffy, broody…and I’m pretty sure if my type had a dictionary entry, there would be a picture of Noah Mills next to it. When the commercials started bombarding my tv screen, I noticed The Brave but didn’t think it was really in my wheelhouse. Then, Mr. Mills sauntered across my screen and I sat up straight and tall to set my DVR. I’m not even going to apologize for objectifying, we live in a world that likes to look at pretty and imagine “what if…” love it or hate it, it’s just a fact. I also happen to know a collective sigh of giddy hit my friends in Romancelandia when they saw him in the promos, too. Clearly, I am not alone in my “type”. Having said that, I may have originally tuned in for Noah Mills, but I can safely say, I stayed for the stories. Just like our book world, an intriguing cover will catch our eye but if the story isn’t there, we are quick to discard. The Pilot episode of The Brave hooked me from the very first scene. In fact, I don’t think I exhaled until the first commercial break. It was that immediate for me. I could feel the camaraderie of the cast, their connection was palpable from the get-go and the storytelling was gripping. When I say gripping, I don’t use that word lightly, I mean, grab you by the short hairs, edge of your seat, holy shit what are they going to do next, level of suspense. Everything, the grit of the realistic settings, the cinematography, the music and sound, all of it was and still is, just so damn compelling, I can’t get enough. This show is, quite simply, a party for your senses.
So, a heart-stopping level of suspense and Noah Mills are two reasons to love The Brave, but the entire cast and their interpersonal dynamics are the bigger reason. Many ensemble shows like this lose me when they show too much of the personal lives of our core characters. The Brave keeps us in the moment. Yes, we know Preach has a family full of daughters, we know Amir comes from money, Patricia’s son was killed in action and some seriously bad shit went down with Hannah. We’ve gotten little nuggets of info about each member along the way but we always stay in the current story. Think back to a show like ER, the core of that show happened at the hospital, more than enough drama and intrigue went down on the job. Over time more personal storylines were filtered in (and some boning, of course) but we were pretty much always in the ER (even with some of the boning). We learned about the heart and soul of our characters through their actions on the job. This is how The Brave does it and it’s also why I like this show more than its similar rival show on another channel. I don’t want to see you fight with your wife, you’re Special Forces, you’ve got bad guys to fuck up. That’s why I’m here, show me that shit, give me the raw details of how we stop the bad guys. The Brave gives us two complementary groups led by two different but equally competent leaders. I call them The Nerd Crew and the Killer Crew, both have ice in their veins, nerves of steel, and are badass rock stars. Anne Heche’s Patricia leads the Nerds back home and Mike Vogel’s Dalton heads up the Killers in the field. They are a seamless team of expertise. Heche and Vogel are the leaders we hope to have running this ship of ours. I’m glad Tate Ellington found a new home after his stint on Quantico but let me tell you who I’m most excited about. Natacha Karam’s Jaz steals the show every damn episode. She’s especially important to us in Romanclandia so I’m going to give Jaz, her own paragraph.
If you’ve made it this far in my post, and you’re a romance reader, you’ll understand why a character like Jaz is so important. You will celebrate Jaz when you see and feel her confidence onscreen. Whomever cast Natacha Karam in this role deserves a fucking pay raise. She is sublime perfection. We in Romancelandia love a strong, capable, smart woman. A woman secure in her body and confident in her skillset. A woman that brings more than just sex appeal and a witty quip to the table, Jaz is a sniper, no, she is THE motherfucking sniper. The only woman in the field, her role is doubly important and exceptionally tricky to portray. Jaz is completely equal in the field with her guys. They don’t treat her like some delicate flower that can’t hold her own. They trust her regularly with their lives and safety, just as she does with them. There’s an equality in this set up that you don’t often see on the screen. I can’t express the importance of this type of agency, this inclusion, enough. Jaz is no damsel in distress, she didn’t get this spot on the team because they had a quota to fill, she is the best at what she does, just like her male counterparts. Jaz is vulnerable, just as her male team members are. Yes, they are trained killing machines but they aren’t robots, they have a soul and sometimes that soul makes them better fighters. Even though the series took a winter break leaving us on one hell of a cliffhanger with Jaz in trouble, and I know many were thinking the worst of her captors because of her gender, I didn’t go there…all I could think was they are going to beat the shit out of her and then cut her fucking head off for the world to see. I’m certain her team members have a special protectiveness for her, especially Dalton, but they never once treated this situation differently because she’s a chick. Jaz was simply another valued team member in need of saving, they would’ve done the same thing for McG, Preach, Dalton or Amir, with the same level urgency. No one gets left behind, ever.
I am a romance reader to my core, so of course, I have an opinion on the possibility of love on this show. In fact, I have mixed feelings about what may or may not be happening romantically between Jaz and Dalton. On the one hand, I don’t really think the show needs the complication of making Dalton and Jaz an item. There, I said it. I kinda’ dig the idea of the underlying hum of possibilities between the two. Sexual tension for the win, yo. On the other hand, the sizzle of chemistry between these two is unmistakable. I am not opposed to a little sexytime should the moment present itself. These folks have damn stressful jobs and we all know a well-placed orgasm does wonders to cool the demons when the going gets tough. Plus, imagine the drama of Preach stumbling upon that tryst. I mean, we all had an opinion about McG getting his mack on in Ep6: The Seville Defection and she was supposed to be just a one night stand he’d never have to see again. Best laid plans McG, best laid plans. On the third hand, we all have a third hand, right? Sex sells so it’ll probably happen, I just hope it doesn’t jump the shark. Regardless of which hand wins out, I’m so invested in this story, I’ll watch whatever happens there and I’ll trust the show’s creator to not lead us astray. OR…I could also just chalk this up to wishful thinking and an oversexualize imagination on my part, we all know how much I love it when the boning happens. I guess we will just have to wait and see.
Now that I’ve teased some possible boning and I have my romance readers on the hook, let’s bring this all back to books. Fans of romantic suspense will enjoy The Brave for all of the points I’ve mentioned above and a few more that I’m certain I’ll think of once I hit publish. Fans of The Brave that are interested in dipping their toes into the world or romantic suspense, will appreciate the tie in with books. While the books I’m about to mention don’t fit The Brave exactly, the sentiment is there and these titles/authors rarely disappoint. The most recent military romance I’ve read that tripped my switch was Monica McCarthy’s GOING DARK (The Lost Platoon #1), but let’s hope our crew from The Brave isn’t betrayed, left for dead and out for revenge because of a failed mission and bad agents. You could also consider Elle Kennedy’s Killer Instincts series for a tight-knit group of fighters and some interesting love connections. Cindy Gerard’s Black Ops series and of course, Maya Banks’ KGI series fit the bill as well. If you want a paranormal spin, honestly, go with me here, it’s an oldie but a goodie, JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood is a natural fit. Think about it, they are a group of highly trained, elite warriors, ridding the world of deadly bad guys that threaten their way of life. The Lessening Society makes no qualms about killing innocents, all of which bears a striking resemblance to what our Brave heroes are up against on the regular. An added bonus of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, they have females in their ranks that are rightly treated as equals. Xhex and Payne are forces of nature and no one would dare doubt their rank amongst the warriors. Don’t sleep on BDB folks, The Warden has been kicking ass and taking names with her shit stompers for a long time now! I did struggle, sadly, to find a book with a female sniper character, so I turned to my handy dandy favorite librarian, Frannie, and of course, she set me right up. (side note: everyone needs to make friends with an awesome librarian, they know things, all of the things) Funny enough, Frannie’s suggestion was written by a man, not a woman…
“Bolt Action” Mary is a former Special Forces sniper and she’s finally teamed up with former Navy SEAL Ben. While working deep undercover to root out gun runners in the dangerous Morris Flats, their aliases begin flirting among prying, suspicious eyes. Soon, their cover identities begin to fall for one another. Even though the sexual tension, their sensibilities sometimes prevent them from acting on it when stakes go from high to worse. While Ben lives up to being a perfectly suited counterpart and partner…it’s “Bolt Action” Mary’s total badassery that’s the main event here. From her blaze-of-glory entrance toward the end of Countdown to Zero Hour to this, Rosso crafts his heroine with a genuine sweep of cinematic scope.
I’ve told you all about the greatness that is The Brave and I’m strongly encouraging you to watch this show. Seriously, I can’t recommend this show enough. I’m even going to go out on a limb to compare the visuals in this series to be on par with Showtime’s Outlander series. Yep, I’m going there, I said what I said. The Brave doesn’t have the grand period piece costumes but it is aesthetically stunning in its reality of details and absolutely worthy of your attention. The Brave is the height of suspense. Each episode crafts a story that will have your heart and mind racing while leaving you too keyed up to even exhale. I love live-tweeting this show. Sometimes I have to tweet because I’m too damn nervous to watch and sometimes I can’t tweet until a commercial because I cannot look away. Oh, and don’t think for one minute you can rest just because it looks like there are only 5 minutes left and everything is pretty much tied up. Oh no, the evil genius behind the show, Dean Georgaris, not only surrounds himself with an impossibly glorious cast, he has a crew that has taken its research to a whole other level making the reality of The Brave’s situations even more believable. And just for shits and giggles and because he’s an evil genius, Georgaris likes to throw in what I consider for all intents and purposes, a fucking jump scare at the end of pretty much each episode that will leave you gasping for air and wishing for Monday night to hurry up and come back around. The Brave gives us an inside view of the complex world of our bravest military heroes, both at home with The Nerds gathering intel and literally mapping out plans and in the field with the Killers physically kicking asses and blowing shit up. They risk their lives for the greater good, protect innocents, build international goodwill while strengthening their diverse familial bonds with each other along the way. The Brave comes on Mondays at 10 PM EST and I cannot for the life of me understand why NBC hasn’t picked them up for Season 2 – that will be a ginormous miss if they don’t, clearly, they’ve tapped into an eager audience. This is must-see tv in all of its beautifully scripted glory. Maybe we should all collectively tweet at @NBC and let them know our feelings on this subject.
Smooches,Tags: Books, military suspense, NBC, romantic suspense, suspense, The Brave, TV shows