Thursday, May 27, 2010

Operation Home Base: A New Military TV Series

Operation Home Base: A New Military TV Series
Stephen Mitchell

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to writer Theresa Chaze about her new military series, Operation Home Base, and her other upcoming projects.

Stephen: I’ve read your proposal, pilot and the first season. You have been describing Operation Home Base as the newest military series, yet most of the stories are civilian based.

Theresa: First and foremost, OHB is about people. Although, I decided focus on military personnel, vets and their dependants, civilians also faces the same issues. I know the military and I care. I never really had the discipline to enlist myself, but I have a great deal of respect for those who do put their lives on their line. Like so many people, I never really considered what the families go through when their loved ones are deployed. Those who have loved ones who serve pull double duty with one foot in both military and civilian worlds.

Stephen: What inspired you to create OHB?

Theresa: A very good friend of mine used to volunteer for the Red Cross. The stories I heard planted the idea. But passing messages wasn’t active enough to create an hour drama. After doing research, I found several organizations who were helping military families, including one called Operation Homefront.

Stephen: From where do your your story lines come?

Theresa: From the back pages of newspapers. Unless a vet or military personnel does something really naughty, their stories don’t make the front page. I will also be using history. WWII, Korea, and Vietnam--they all have stories that need to be told. Some of them won’t be so nice to hear. But the healing has to start somewhere. So many vets came back and just buried what happened. But no matter how deeply they dug or how much denial they dumped on top of it, those experiences don’t just disappear or heal themselves.

Stephen: Can you give a few more examples from the first season?

Theresa: A Marines therapy dog was killed by two people just for the hell of it. His story will not only raise awareness about therapy dogs, but it is also the basis of a fund raiser on the show that I would really like to see blend into real life.

Someone in the had intercepted letters sent to military personnel, serving over seas, and wrote “Returned to sender. Deceased.“ Can you imagine what it felt like for the friends and family members to get their letters back? The Post Office traced the letters back to one of their hubs. Toward the end of the first season, this real life event will become Michael’s obsession.

Stephen: How does OHB compare with other dramas?

Theresa: I looked to the most successful dramas as my models: MASH, Medical Center, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, The CSIs. I took the best pieces of all of them, added in real life and mixed well.

Stephen: I'm surprised to hear you list Little House and The Waltons.

Theresa: Both shows were about family. That is the foundation OHB is build on. Not only the families of vets and military personnel, but the brother and sisterhood of the military. The Marines say Semper Fi, but the concept applies to all the branches as well as to service in general. The Army vs. Navy game might have them fighting on the playing field, but when push comes to shove there is only one team--The United States.

Stephen: Which is your favorite character?

Theresa: I love them all, but I have a special fondness for Walter. He is going to be a lot like JR; the viewers will love to hate him. The thing about Walter is that he is all about family and country. Everything he does is motivated by those two things. It is the blind spot that others will use against him. He is the apex of the conspiracy or so it will seem, but even Walter doesn’t know who he is actually working for. But that is further down the road than I would like to talk about.

Stephen: I’ve noticed that most of your cast choices are older. Why?

Theresa: The characters and actors have to be older to have the experience to truly understand. Until you lived a little life, there is no way you can bring that kind of wisdom to the table. It would be very easy to bring beef cake and bikini’s to the table; that is what most shows are doing these days. But OHB is swimming in the deep end of the pool. The characters have issues. They are damaged on many levels, but in spite of all their pain, they still are willing to help others heal even if they can’t help themselves.

My site address is It’s the best starting point to learn about me and Operation Home Base.

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