Pacific Not So Swell

TV One’s flagship HD drama of 2010, The Pacific, didn’t draw the big-gun ratings HBO would have hoped for when it premiered on US TV at the weekend.

It was watched by 3.1 million viewers, which was surprisingly modest given the publicity surrounding the launch of the World War II miniseries — and only a third of the audience that tuned in for the 2001 premiere of its HBO stablemate, Band of Brothers.

One of the 10-episode epic’s biggest flag-wavers, The Hollywood Reporter, called it “a fair start” but speculated HBO would have to be “somewhat disappointed” with the debut of its biggest production yet.

Critics largely gave it the thumbs-up, with raves from Time (“a brutal but eloquent story that’s finally less about how men fight and die than what happens to them when they fight and survive”), USA Today (“the best war movie ever made for TV”), the New York Times (“never less than spellbinding”) and the Wall Street Journal (“even those who know already that the Pacific theater was like no other in the war may be shocked by the harrowing combat re-created here”).

More subdued were The New Yorker (“a series with such an overarching title ought to have more to it than the movements of boots on the ground”) and the Washington Post (“a very good miniseries that fails to arrive at a coherent, artistic sensibility).

TV One will launch The Pacific early next month and expect the Blu-ray to bow here in August, in time for a Father’s Day promotion, which is the strategy HBO is pursuing in the US, where Father’s Day is commemorated in June.

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2 Responses to “Pacific Not So Swell”

  1. “TV One’s flagship HD drama of 2010”

    I’ll believe that when I see it. AC3 audio I think not. 2 channel AAC will be the order of the day for TVNZ..

  2. I’m a bit disturbed to read that the New Yorker and Washington Post are writing off the series only one episode in, although an American audience could certainly be forgiven for a little war fatigue at this stage of the 21st Century. For what it’s worth, I thought the debut was outstanding, far more nuanced and less overtly jingoistic than I feared it could have been (this is not Pearl Harbour: the series), and at this early stage, I’m pronouncing it a fitting sequel to the magnificent Band of Brothers.

    And yes, I did watch with AC3 audio, but not through the usual “channels”.

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