A nonprofit group pushing for an accurate portrayal of veterans by the entertainment industry found a lot to like in recent months.
From superhero shows to blockbuster movies, and even Broadway, Got Your 6 announced Tuesday that 13 productions have earned "6 Certified" status, meeting at least some of the organization's criteria for a balanced representation of former service members.
It's the fourth such list offered by the group as part of the "6 Certified" effort, which launched last year at an event featuring first lady Michelle Obama. To qualify, productions must either consult with veterans or veterans groups, cast a veteran or hire one as a writer, portray a multidimensional veteran character, or include a plotline with veteran-based themes.
As with past winners, the recent selections include both productions with heavy military focus and those where the notion of veterans or service is part of a larger story.
Among the former category:
- "Hacksaw Ridge," the Mel Gibson-directed film about Pfc. Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to earn the Medal of Honor. It premieres nationwide Friday.
- "Citizen Soldier," a documentary featuring soldiers from an Oklahoma National Guard unit and their experiences in Afghanistan.
- "No Greater Love," another documentary set in Afghanistan, this one featuring the fighting through the eyes of an Army chaplain.
- "Reparation," an independent film co-written by an Air Force veteran, builds its suspense when the main character’s friend from his days in the Air Force brings unwelcome memories into what had been a happy life after service.
- "Roadtrip Nation: The Next Mission," co-produced by American Public Television, features three veterans who begin their newfound civilian life by traveling the country and speaking to fellow former service members.
- Broadcast productions of the Invictus Games, an international competition featuring wounded warriors, and the Power Triumph Games, a contest taped at the U.S. Military Academy over the summer featuring 10 wounded warriors battling for a $50,000 grand prize.
" Bandstand," a musical set to open on Broadway in April, also features veterans central to the plot, but not for their combat experiences -- they've joined forces to win a swing band competition.
Other "6 Certified" products outside the war-story genre:
- "Cast Me!": A reality-TV series featuring daily goings-on from a Los Angeles casting agency owned by a Marine Corps veteran.
- "Hap and Leonard": A dark buddy-comedy series in which one of the leads – a gay, black, Vietnam War veteran – is "portrayed as a skilled and resourceful problem solver," according to the news release announcing the selections.
- "Justified": The FX series based on an Elmore Leonard novella includes a supporting character who draws on his background as a former Army Ranger.
- "Marvel’s Luke Cage": The protagonist in this Netflix series is a former Marine who fights to save his Harlem home … with the help of superpowers from an experiment gone wrong.
- "Sully": Tom Hanks portrays Air Force veteran Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, whose military experience helped him pilot his commercial aircraft and its 155 passengers to safety in what would become known as the "Miracle on the Hudson."
Past "6 Certified" programs have also run the gamut of veteran involvement, from military-themed blockbusters ("American Sniper") to comedies ("Modern Family") to shows featuring real veterans in starring or supporting roles (Army veteran Noah Galloway on "Dancing with the Stars," Marine Corps veteran and aspiring Sith lord Adam Driver hosting "Saturday Night Live").
The latest selections
as part of the nonprofit group’s 2016 Storytellers event in Los Angeles.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.