From life-and-death conflicts on the battlefield to domestic drama at home, the new TV series Six has it all.
To catch an authentic glimpse into the world of America’s elite Special Operations unit, the Navy SEAL Team Six, in a new TV series on the History channel.
Titled Six, it is inspired by real missions and told in eight episodes, which airs every Thursday.
“The show allows viewers to appreciate the impossible balance between these men’s home lives as fathers, husbands and regular guys with soldiers who do these amazing and dangerous operations.
“It’s that back and forth. We really want the audience to appreciate the cost that that lifestyle carries,” said Six producer Mitchell Hall in an interview.
A retired US Navy SEAL, Hall currently consults for various companies in the entertainment, outdoor and defence industries.
Having worked on three Hollywood films – Act of Valor (2012), Zero Dark Thirty (2012) and Lone Survivor (2013) – he added: “We had long research sessions and purposely did not want to tell a story that had already been told.”
The first season of Six begins with SEAL Team Six troop leader Richard “Rip” Taggart (played by Walton Goggins) making a questionable decision while on a mission in Afghanistan.
Two years later, Rip is captured by Boko Haram and it’s up to his former SEAL Team Six brothers – led by Joe Graves (Barry Sloane), Alex Caulder (Kyle Schmid) and Ricky “Buddha” Ortiz (Juan Pablo Raba) to put aside their differences in order to locate and rescue their former troop leader.
“The main characters struggle with their father figure, since what he starts out being is one thing and what he ends up as is another.
“Essentially Graves and Caulder are two brothers who debate and fight over what they believe their father did,” said Hall, a Silver Star recipient.
His military career, spanning 21 years, included nine deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and numerous other locations.
“There was a lot of respect for the stories we were attempting to tell,” he said.
Authentic and dramatic storytelling
In order to add to the authenticity the cast were put through some intense SEAL training.
Hall explained that the cast held the gruelling sessions in high regard.
“We tackle a subject matter where the brotherhood is such an intricate part of the story.
“So when you have these guys going through a crucible, it’s unlike anything else, and strong bonds are formed,” he said.
As for the film crew, Hall said that Six features fine storytelling, with highly technical and stylistically impressive work from a set of directors that include Lesli Linka Glatter (of Homeland fame) and Alex Graves (Game Of Thrones).
While the SEAL members are considered heroes, sometimes unsung, Hall said that they’re certainly not superheroes.
“People think we’re crazy and off-the-charts amazing,” he said about a common misconception regarding the highly versatile SEAL personnel.
“And while the work sometimes is quite amazing, oftentimes we actually look very normal. Not all are buffed, burly or over six feet tall. Most times, you won’t even realise you’re standing right next to an off-duty SEAL in public,” said Hall.
Fear of failing
When asked if there’s anything he’s actually afraid of, he says: “It’d be foolish to say that we’re not afraid of anything. But we’ve established a unique culture where one facet of fear is the fear of failure itself.”
“We uphold very high standards and we hold each other accountable, so these guys will do nearly anything to succeed since failing is culturally like the kiss of death,” he said.
“There’s always the standard type of fear, like during intense firefights I’ve been in, but you don’t let fear dictate what happens.
“You acknowledge it, tuck it away and rely on your training and the culture we’ve created to get out alive with your teammates,” he added.
So how does Hall handle the high stress and mental challenges?
“For me I think it’s a combination of nature and nurture. I’m naturally calm and don’t rattle easily, some of it thanks to my parents.
“The other part is the culture created within the SEAL team, where you rely on skill sets to learn and build confidence,” he said.
As for Six, Hall said that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
“The show is designed for a broad audience, both male and female, since it focusses on home life as well as operational life.
“Teenage boys and gamers will love the action as well but it’s not just a war show,” said Hall.
Six premieres on January 19 at 11pm on History (Astro channels 555 and 575).