– by David Kozlowski

The CW’s new military drama, Valor, premiered last evening. Did you watch, or are you still riding the fence? After all, there are two other military dramas premiering this fall — Seal Team and The Brave — on CBS and NBC, respectively. Each of these new series strives to establish unique takes on the war genre; narratives range from a procedural style (like NCIS), to a mission-of-the-week, and something a little more long-form.

The CW’s Valor focuses upon the latter. The emphasis is placed upon a fictional U.S. Army helicopter unit flying special operation missions overseas (although they’re based out of Georgia, because tax incentives). CW3 Nora Madani (Christina Ochoa) is a combat pilot who, along with her co-pilot, Captain Leland Gallo (Matt Barr), lost their bird and their team during a covert mission in Somalia… and now they’re heading back to find them! Sounds exciting, yes?

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You might be thinking, why is this show on The CW, a network structured around comic-book action-adventures and young-adult dramas? Fair question. However, if you take a step back it’s not actually that far off-brand; Valor is a show about military heroes, who are all young and attractive with a bit of an edge… say, that does sound like something you’d expect to see on The CW.

The trailer does a good job of conveying a look, sound, and tone that you’d expect from a serious military drama. I’ve seen the pilot episode, which is emotional and tense; the combat and flight sequences are also pretty solid. Valor certainly has its share of faults, but it strives to be authentic and sincere in its depictions of the Army’s 7 core values (Duty, Honor, Loyalty, Respect, Selfless Services, Integrity, Personal Courage) — they are a bit loose with ‘integrity,’ however.

It’s also worth noting that Valor’s primary protagonist is a female combat pilot, which is a rather new wrinkle in both our actual military and in TV’s recent depictions of the military. We also get into the details and mechanics of flying helicopters, which most military dramas often gloss over in favor of infantry and close-quarters combat. Time will tell whether Valor can make the cut in an ever-more competitive and fracturing television medium, but there are some interesting elements here to build upon. Check it out!

Does the Valor trailer intrigue you about the possibilities of a serious military drama on The CW? Let us know in the comments down below!

Valor airs Monday nights at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.