Generation Kill (miniseries)
Generation Kill is an American seven-part television miniseries produced for HBO that aired from July 13 to August 24, 2008. It is based on Evan Wright's eponymous 2004 book about his experience as an embedded reporter with the United States Marine Corps' 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and adapted for television by David Simon, Ed Burns and Wright. The miniseries was directed by Susanna White and Simon Cellan Jones, and produced by Andrea Calderwood. The ensemble cast includes Alexander Skarsgård as Sergeant Brad 'Iceman' Colbert, James Ransone as Corporal Josh Ray Person, and Lee Tergesen as Wright.
|Based on||Generation Kill|
by Evan Wright
|Written by||David Simon|
|Directed by||Susanna White|
Simon Cellan Jones
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||7|
Oral Norrie Ottey
|Running time||470 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Company Pictures|
Blown Deadline Productions
|Original release||July 13 –|
August 24, 2008
The cable channel HBO gave the go-ahead to a seven-part miniseries, based on Evan Wright's book about his experiences as an embedded reporter with the U.S. Marine Corps' 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the Iraq War's first phase. The series is set during the invasion of Iraq, from late March to early April 2003. The miniseries was shot over a six-month shoot from mid-to-late 2007 in South Africa, Mozambique, and Namibia. The primary production value aspired to was authenticity. The miniseries was produced on a budget of $56 million.
David Simon and Ed Burns co-wrote and executive produced the miniseries alongside Company Pictures' George Faber and Charles Pattinson, and HBO's Anne Thomopoulos. Andrea Calderwood was the producer; Nina Noble served as co-executive producer; author Evan Wright was credited as a consulting producer; Susanna White and Simon Cellan Jones directed the episodes; and a former U.S. Marine, Eric Kocher, served as the production's military advisor as well as starred in the series.
Cast and charactersEdit
There are 28 starring cast members with a large supporting cast. The majority of the characters were drawn from the Second Platoon of the First Reconnaissance Battalion's Bravo Company. Lee Tergesen played embedded reporter Evan Wright. Wright was assigned to the lead vehicle of Bravo Company, which he shared with Staff Sergeant Brad "Iceman" Colbert, played by Alexander Skarsgård, Corporal Josh Ray Person, played by James Ransone and Lance Corporal Harold James Trombley, played by Billy Lush. To prepare for their roles as Recon Marines, the cast attended a six-day boot camp led by Eric Kocher and Rudy Reyes.
Other starring characters, from 2nd platoon include:
- First Lieutenant Nathaniel Fick, played by Stark Sands
- Gunnery Sergeant Mike "Gunny" Wynn, played by Marc Menchaca
- Sergeant Antonio "Poke" Espera, played by former U.S. Air Force airman, Jon Huertas
- Sergeant Leandro "Shady B" Baptista, played by a U.S. Army soldier, Mike Figueroa
- Sergeant Larry Shawn "Pappy" Patrick, played by Josh Barrett
- Sergeant Rodolfo "Rudy" Reyes portrays himself
- Hospital Corpsman Second Class Robert Timothy "Doc" Bryan, played by Jonah Lotan
- Corporal Evan "Q-Tip" Stafford, played by Wilson Bethel
- Corporal Walt Hasser, played by Pawel Szajda
- Corporal Gabriel "Gabe" Garza, played by Rey Valentin
- Corporal Daniel Redman, played by Sean Brosnan
- Corporal Jason Lilley, played by Kellan Lutz
- Corporal Anthony "Manimal" Jacks, played by Rich McDonald
- Corporal James Chaffin, played by Eric Ladin
- Private First Class John Christeson, played by Daniel Fox
- Major General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, commanding officer of 1st Marine Division, played by Robert John Burke
- Lieutenant Colonel Stephen "Godfather" Ferrando, commanding officer of the First Reconnaissance Battalion, played by Chance Kelly
- Major Todd Eckloff, executive officer of the battalion, played by Benjamin Busch
- Captain Bryan Patterson, commanding officer of Alpha Company, played by Michael Kelly.
- Captain Craig Schwetje, commanding officer of Bravo Company, played by Brian Patrick Wade
- Captain Dave "Captain America" McGraw, the erratic commanding officer of 3rd platoon, Bravo company, played by Eric Nenninger
- Sergeant Major John Sixta, a loudmouth Battalion SNCO, played by Neal Jones
- Gunnery Sergeant Ray Griego, Bravo Company's operations chief, played by David Barrera
- Sergeant Eric Kocher, a long-suffering team leader under the command of "Captain America", played by Owain Yeoman. (The real-life Eric Kocher portrays another Marine (Gunnery Sergeant Rich Barrott) who drives Captain Patterson's command Humvee in Alpha.)
- Corporal Jeffrey "Dirty Earl" Carazales, played by J. Salome Martinez Jr.
- "Meesh", the battalion translator, played by Nabil Elouahabi
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Get Some"||Susanna White||David Simon & Ed Burns||July 13, 2008|
|Marines prepare to invade Iraq at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom; while the Marines wait to receive their orders at Camp Mathilda in Kuwait, they learn that a Rolling Stone columnist, Evan Wright, will be embedded with them.|
|2||"The Cradle of Civilization"||Susanna White||Story by : David Simon & Ed Burns |
Teleplay by : Ed Burns & Evan Wright
|July 20, 2008|
|With the invasion of Iraq now in full swing, Sgt. Colbert tries to keep his unit focused. First Recon Marines adjust to shifting attack plans while anticipating their first contact with the enemy in Nasiriyah and Al Gharraf.|
|3||"Screwby"||Susanna White||Story by : David Simon & Ed Burns |
Teleplay by : Ed Burns
|July 27, 2008|
|Bravo Company await their next orders for a recon mission, having survived its first trial by fire; Fick tries to take control of a dangerous situation; Lt. Col. Ferrando issues a new, more urgent order shortly after Alpha Company shells Ar Rifa.|
|4||"Combat Jack"||Simon Cellan Jones||Story by : David Simon & Ed Burns |
Teleplay by : David Simon
|August 3, 2008|
|Grumbling in the ranks about the abandoned supply truck occupies time to kill at the captured airfield, but Bravo is soon on the move again, heading north, clearing villages and setting up a roadblock outside Al Hayy. Meanwhile, Alpha is ordered to find the body of a Marine in Al-Shatrah, but their mission is delayed by a CIA operation.|
|5||"A Burning Dog"||Simon Cellan Jones||Story by : David Simon & Ed Burns |
Teleplay by : Evan Wright
|August 10, 2008|
|Despite an armored division's punishing response to First Recon's intelligence-gathering about an ambush-in-waiting at a strategic bridge, Bravo still meets stiff resistance while making several attempts to cross it; a survey of the battlefield prompts more questions than answers about the enemy; a roadblock in Al Muwaffiqiyah tests the Marines' ever-changing rules of engagement.|
|6||"Stay Frosty"||Simon Cellan Jones||Story by : David Simon & Ed Burns |
Teleplay by : Ed Burns
|August 17, 2008|
|After First Recon is assigned the unfamiliar mission of escorting hundreds of civilians fleeing Baghdad, they begin to wonder if their part in the war may be ending. Lt. Col. Ferrando has other plans to get his men back into the battle.|
|7||"Bomb in the Garden"||Susanna White||Story by : David Simon & Ed Burns |
Teleplay by : David Simon
|August 24, 2008|
|Having reached Baghdad, Bravo Company is shocked at the size of the city; while First Recon begin doing their daily patrols in Baghdad, they find out the obstacles that they and the Iraqis face are much greater than they could have imagined.|
Although the series has no score, it features a large collection of music, much of it songs that were popular among the American populace in late 2002 and early 2003. The newer music (in the show's context) serves to illustrate pop culture during the time of the invasion. All of the songs are sung a cappella by cast members, with the exception of Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around" and Josh Ray Person's "Re-Up Time".
Episode 1: "Get Some"Edit
- "Merry Christmas from the Family", by Robert Earl Keen
- "Sk8er Boi", by Avril Lavigne
- "Lovin' You", by Minnie Riperton
- "Use Me", by Bill Withers
Episode 2: "The Cradle of Civilization"Edit
- "Beyoğlu", by D.J. Kambo
- "The Marines' Hymn", Traditional
- "Smoke Signals", by Dada Flair
- "Complicated", by Avril Lavigne
- "Bodies", by Drowning Pool
- "Boyz-n-the-Hood", by Dynamite Hack
- "Hot in Herre", by Nelly
Episode 3: "Screwby"Edit
Episode 4: "Combat Jack"Edit
- "The "Fish" Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag", by Country Joe and the Fish
- "Attahaddiat", by Kadhum Al Sahir
- "Entaha Almeshwar", by Kadhum Al Sahir
- "Copenhagen Song", by Josh Ray Person
- "Teenage Dirtbag", by Wheatus
Episode 5: "A Burning Dog"Edit
- "On the Road Again", by Willie Nelson
- "Sundown", by Gordon Lightfoot
- "My Cherie Amour", by Stevie Wonder
- "Gangsta Gangsta", by N.W.A
Episode 6: "Stay Frosty"Edit
- "It Ain't Easy", by Tupac Shakur
- "Let Me Ride", by Dr. Dre
- "Fuck tha Police", by N.W.A
- "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys", by Ed Bruce
- "Can I Kick It?", by A Tribe Called Quest
- "So Fresh, So Clean", by Outkast
Episode 7: "Bomb in the Garden"Edit
Generation Kill was nominated for 11 Primetime Emmy Awards and won three in 2009, in the miniseries categories. Nominations included Outstanding Miniseries, Outstanding Directing (Susanna White for "Bomb in the Garden"), and Outstanding Writing (David Simon and Ed Burns for "Bomb in the Garden"). It won for Outstanding Special Visual Effects, Outstanding Sound Editing, and Outstanding Sound Mixing. It was nominated for two awards by the Visual Effects Society in the categories of Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or Special and Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Broadcast Program or Commercial.
The miniseries received very positive reviews from critics. On Metacritic, it received a score of 80 out of 100 based on 27 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Entertainment Weekly gave the series an "A-" rating, and critic Ken Tucker remarked favorably on its avoidance of cliché, self-consciousness, and agenda-driven storytelling, and praised its execution, nuance, and verisimilitude. Robert Bianco of USA Today wrote: "the seven-part Generation Kill is what you'd hope for from the people behind The Wire: an honest, barely adorned, sometimes painfully vivid representation of life as we live it now. It's journalism converted to art, with both benefiting". Austin Smith of the New York Post, however, was not as impressed; he described the series "as dull and throbbing as a severe headache".
A red carpet screening of Generation Kill was held for U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton in California, where the series was favorably received. On Rotten Tomatoes, the miniseries has an approval rating of 86% based on 42 reviews, with an average rating of 9.1/10. The critical consensus reads, "Generation Kill plunges the viewer into war with a visceral force that's still somehow reined in by masterful storytelling and a strong command of period details."
- Smith, Lynn (July 15, 2008). "Ensuring a Series is Combat Ready". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- Finer, Jonathon (July 12, 2008). "Generation Kill Captures War's Lulls and Horrors". Washington Post. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- Billen, Andrew (January 15, 2009). "Generation Kill: the new Wire". The Times. London. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- Generation Kill: "Eric Ladin's Video Diaries" featurette (Blu-ray/DVD). HBO. December 16, 2008.
- Robinson, John (October 2, 2009). "Calling the shots on Generation Kill". The Guardian. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- Andreeva, Nellie (June 1, 2007). "HBO drafts cast for 'Kill' mini". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
- Clark, James (August 1, 2016). "10 Facts From 'Generation Kill' That Make Us Love The Series Even More". Task & Purpose. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
- "Generation Kill". Emmys.com. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
- "7th Annual VES Awards". visual effects society. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
- "Generation Kill". Metacritic. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- Tucker, Ken (July 14, 2008). "Generation Kill". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- Bianco, Robert (July 11, 2008). "HBO scores a direct hit with Generation Kill". USA Today. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- Smith, Austin (July 9, 2008). "War Bonding". New York Post. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- "Generation Kill: Miniseries". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 5, 2019.