FX will begin reruns of ''Over There'' on Jan. 14. Since fans of the show have been very passionate, including in a lot of comments for this blog, I talked today to Chris Gerolmo, co-creator of the Iraq-war series with Steven Bochco. I expect to have a story derived from our interview in the Beacon Journal next week. But given all the interest in the show in the blogosphere, I decided to post a few notes here.
Who killed Underpants? Gerolmo says the likely candidates were either Dim or Sgt. Scream, although there was an outside chance it was Tariq.
In other words, he doesn't know. He said he learned from Bochco that one of the benefits of a serialized story is that you don't have to answer questions right away -- and he hadn't settled on an answer to the Underpants shooting.
Same thing with the Doublewide nickname. The show hadn't had to explain it -- although it came teasingly close in the final episode -- so Gerolmo and Bochco hadn't worked out an answer.
Now that ''Over There'' has been canceled by FX, Gerolmo said there are no plans for the show to resume production somewhere else. He would like someone to come up with the money for a two-hour movie explaining what happened to all the characters, and thinks Bochco would enjoy that, too. But no one has offered to pay for it. There is a DVD of the show coming out later this year. (Chris thought January, but I've seen a couple of listings saying late March.)
If there had been a second season, Gerolmo has some ideas about where the character were going, although he hadn't discussed the ideas with Bochco, and Bochco was very hands-on about storylines. And with Bochco's long record of success, Gerolmo was happy to have the help. Still, Gerolmo was thinking that:
-- At least one of the regulars would have to die. The show considered killing one in the first season but the producers came to like everyone too much to let them go too soon. A possible fatality in the second season: Doublewide, since she was not a central figure in the infantry stories. (Chris acknowledged the problem of writing the women soldiers into episodes, since women weren't allowed to be in a regular infantry unit in real life, and Bochco insisted the show reflect that.)
-- Bo and Terry's marriage would run into trouble. Bo would get back into the Army but wouldn't be allowed to go to Iraq, working in recruiting instead. Terry, though, would become vocally anti-war and become famous for her stance.
-- Dim's and Brigid's marriage would get stronger.
-- Characters would grow and change, as they had in the first season (with Chris pointing to Smoke as one character who changed noticeably in the first season).
-- Stories being considered for the second year included the group working with upper-middle-class Iraqi expatriates returning from England, interaction between the soldiers and reservists and the platoon protecting a civilian construction crew. (Probably for a generic company. Chris said the show was never allowed to mention Halliburton by name.)
In sum, the show had plenty of places to go in a second season. Too bad FX didn't think there were enough viewers to keep it going.
Chris, by the way, has just finished a pilot for another series for Bochco's company. And people who liked the ''Over There'' theme (which he wrote and performed) may want to look for his CD, ''I'm Your Daddy,'' which is for sale on amazon.com.
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