Army Wives

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Army Wives
Army Wives main cast.jpg
Catherine Bell, Kim Delaney, Sally Pressman, Brigid Brannagh, and Wendy Davis as the seasons 1-5 Army Wives female cast
FormatDrama
Created byKatherine Fugate
Based onUnder the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives by Tanya Biank
Directed byJohn T. Kretchmer
Starring
Theme music composerMarc Fantini
Steffan Fantini
Composer(s)Scott Gordon
Marc Fantini
Steffan Fantini
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes117 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Mark Gordon
Marshall Persinger
Jeff Melvoin
Katherine Fugate
Dee Johnson
Harry V. Bring
Nick Thiel
Deborah Spera
Karen Maser
Debra Fordham
Producer(s)Cynthia Cohen
Karen Maser
John E. Pogue
Alex Shevchenko
Barbara D'Alessandro
T.J. Brady
Rasheed Newson
John E. Pogue
Karen Maser
Editor(s)Briana London
Susan K. Weiler
Sharon Silverman
Chris Peppe
Alan Cody
Kurt Courtland
Peter B. Ellis
Lauren A. Schaffer
Christopher Cooke
Susan Vaill
Meghan Robertson
Location(s)Charleston, South Carolina
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)ABC Studios
The Mark Gordon Company
DistributorBuena Vista Home Entertainment
Disney–ABC Domestic Television
Broadcast
Original channelLifetime
Picture format480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original runJune 3, 2007 (2007-06-03) – June 9, 2013 (2013-06-09)
External links
Website
 
  (Redirected from Lt. Col. Joan Burton)
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For the 1944 film, see Army Wives (1944 film).
Army Wives
Army Wives main cast.jpg
Catherine Bell, Kim Delaney, Sally Pressman, Brigid Brannagh, and Wendy Davis as the seasons 1-5 Army Wives female cast
FormatDrama
Created byKatherine Fugate
Based onUnder the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives by Tanya Biank
Directed byJohn T. Kretchmer
Starring
Theme music composerMarc Fantini
Steffan Fantini
Composer(s)Scott Gordon
Marc Fantini
Steffan Fantini
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes117 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Mark Gordon
Marshall Persinger
Jeff Melvoin
Katherine Fugate
Dee Johnson
Harry V. Bring
Nick Thiel
Deborah Spera
Karen Maser
Debra Fordham
Producer(s)Cynthia Cohen
Karen Maser
John E. Pogue
Alex Shevchenko
Barbara D'Alessandro
T.J. Brady
Rasheed Newson
John E. Pogue
Karen Maser
Editor(s)Briana London
Susan K. Weiler
Sharon Silverman
Chris Peppe
Alan Cody
Kurt Courtland
Peter B. Ellis
Lauren A. Schaffer
Christopher Cooke
Susan Vaill
Meghan Robertson
Location(s)Charleston, South Carolina
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)ABC Studios
The Mark Gordon Company
DistributorBuena Vista Home Entertainment
Disney–ABC Domestic Television
Broadcast
Original channelLifetime
Picture format480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original runJune 3, 2007 (2007-06-03) – June 9, 2013 (2013-06-09)
External links
Website

Army Wives is an American drama television series that follows the lives of four army wives, one army husband, and their families. The series premiered on Lifetime on June 3, 2007. The show had the largest series premiere in Lifetime's 23-year history, and the largest viewership in the 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm time slot since December 2007 for Lifetime.[1] It received favorable reviews and several award nominations, and won five ASCAP Awards and one Gracie Allen Award.

On September 21, 2012, the show was picked up for a thirteen-episode seventh and final season to air in 2013.[2] In November 2012, it was confirmed that Season 6 main cast members Catherine Bell, Wendy Davis, Terry Serpico, Brian McNamara, Kelli Williams, Alyssa Diaz, and Joseph Julian Soria would return as regulars. Kim Delaney's character, who did not appear in the final episodes of the sixth season, was written out.[3] Season seven premiered in the United States on March 10, 2013, at 9 pm Eastern on Lifetime,[4] and concluded on June 9, 2013.

On September 24, 2013, Lifetime canceled the series after seven seasons.[5][6] The network confirmed a two-hour retrospective special with cast members to celebrate the series that aired on March 16, 2014.[7]

Overview[edit]

Based on the non-fiction book originally titled Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives, by Tanya Biank, the series is set at fictional Fort Marshall, at the old Charleston Naval Base, in North Charleston, South Carolina, home to the also fictional 23rd Airborne Division, a component unit of the XVII Airborne Corps. The show itself is filmed in various locations such as the Charleston Air Force Base (now Charleston Field) and the sound stage off Dorchester Road in the City of North Charleston. Some scenes have been shot in and around the City of Charleston. In Season 5 the 23rd is disbanded and the 32nd Airborne Division becomes the new resident unit, having moved to Fort Marshall from the fictional Fort Hope. The 23rd Airborne Division, XVII Airborne Corps and Fort Marshall are presumably based on the actual 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps based at Fort Bragg, home of the airborne divisions and the United States Army Special Operations Command. In Season 7 Fort Marshall was merged with an Air Force base, mirroring the mergers of several Army posts with nearby Air Force bases as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. Mercer Army Medical Center is the fictional hospital on post where some of the characters work at.

In the pilot episode of Army Wives, "A Tribe is Born", Roxy (Sally Pressman) impetuously decides to marry Private First Class Trevor LeBlanc (Drew Fuller) and moves with her two children to his Army post. Floundering in her new life as an Army wife, she takes a job as a bartender at a local joint known for being a Jody bar (where civilian men go to hit on enlisted men's wives). While on the post, Roxy meets Claudia Joy Holden (Kim Delaney), who believes that her husband Col. Michael Holden's (Brian McNamara) recently missed out on a promotion because of base politics. Another Army wife, Pamela Moran (Brigid Brannagh), is pregnant with twins; she is secretly acting as a surrogate to get her family out of debt. Pamela's husband Chase (Jeremy Davidson) is a non-commissioned officer assigned to the highly secretive and often deployed special operations unit Delta Force. Meanwhile, psychiatrist Roland Burton (Sterling K. Brown) is trying to reconnect with his wife, Lieutenant Colonel Joan Burton (Wendy Davis), who has just returned from Afghanistan. Denise Sherwood (Catherine Bell) is dealing with her son Jeremy's anger issues and her strict husband, Major Frank Sherwood (Terry Serpico), is about to be deployed. The unlikely group bonds when Pamela unexpectedly goes into labor at Claudia Joy's wives' tea party and subsequently gives birth on the pool table in the bar where Roxy works. Not wanting everyone to know her family's dire financial situation, Pamela relies on these new friends to keep her surrogacy from being exposed.

As the first season progresses, the four women and Roland all become close friends. Along with their spouses and other characters they face issues such as deployments, abuse, hostage situations, adultery, post-traumatic stress disorder, death and loss of friends and loved ones in combat, homophobia in the military, financial problems, and alcohol and prescription drug addiction.

Though the show is based on the book of the same name, and some of the characters echo their book counterparts, significant differences exist. For example, in the book, Claudia Joy loses her husband in a helicopter crash during a mission to find the remains of soldiers in Vietnam.[8]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast and characters[edit]

ActorCharacterSeasons
1234567
Drew Fuller2nd Lieutenant Trevor LeBlancMain
Jeremy DavidsonMSG Chase MoranMainGuest
Brian McNamaraLt. General Michael James HoldenMain
Sterling K. BrownDr. Roland BurtonMainRecurring
Catherine BellDenise SherwoodMain
Wendy DavisColonel Joan BurtonMain
Sally PressmanRoxanne Marie "Roxy" LeBlancMainSpecial Guest
Brigid BrannaghOfficer Pamela MoranMainRecurring
Kim DelaneyClaudia Joy HoldenMain
Richard BryantSPC Jeremy SherwoodMain
John White, Jr.Finn LeBlancMain
Luke BartelmeToby Jack "T.J." LeBlancMain
Connor ChristieMain
Jake JohnsonLucas MoranMain
Chloe J. TaylorKatherine Eileen "Katie" MoranMain
Kim AllenAmanda Joy HoldenMainGuest
Caroline PiresEmmalin HoldenMain
Katelyn PippyRecurringMainSpecial Guest
Terry SerpicoColonel Frank SherwoodRecurringMainRecurring
Erin KrakowSPC Tanya GabrielRecurringMain
Kelli WilliamsJackie ClarkeMain
Alyssa DiazGloria CruzMain
Joseph Julian SoriaCPL Hector CruzMain
Torrey DeVittoMaggie HallMain
AshantiLatasha MontclairMain
Elle McLemoreHolly TrumanMain
Brooke ShieldsAir Force Colonel Katherine "Kat" YoungMain

Recurring cast and characters[edit]

The characters listed have appeared in multiple seasons, or for story arcs lasting at least three episodes:

Production and development[edit]

Conception[edit]

Army Wives filming at the Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina.
Army Wives filming a season 2 episode on Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina.

Army Wives was created by Katherine Fugate, based on the book Under the Saber: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives by Tanya Biank. Fugate told she received the book from The Mark Gordon Company and first thought it was to be adapted as a movie, since she had mostly written movies during her career. She met with Deborah Spera, the president of The Mark Gordon Company, and pitched a film adaptation of the book, which would begin and end with a murder. They presented the series to ABC and then to Lifetime.[13] Fugate commented on the book: "I read that book, and it was very traumatic and very difficult, but it also opened the gates of a military post. We drive by them all the time, but we don't know what goes on inside".[14]

Fugate expressed her desire that the show remain accurate: "It's extremely important that I portray them accurately. I have great admiration for the wives. It's the last untold story, about how they maintain relationships and how they are single mothers much of the time. That story is why I created the series."[15] The cast and crew have visited the army installations at Fort Bragg and Fort Belvoir and talked to army wives.[16] The Department of Defense lent Black hawk helicopters and humvees used in production.[17]

Filming locations[edit]

Principal photography takes place in a sound stage while some outdoor scenes and shots are taken at the former Charleston Naval Shipyard, parts of Charleston Field and in the city itself.[18][19] Local landmarks prominently featured include the Unitarian Church in Charleston and parts of the city's waterfront.

Production team[edit]

Army Wives is produced by The Mark Gordon Company in association with ABC Studios. In December 2006, Samantha Corbin-Miller was named executive producer/showrunner of the show, which was at the time in development.[20] However, by March 2007, it was announced that she had left the then upcoming series and was replaced by Jeff Melvoin. In August 2007, Dee Johnson took over Army Wives for Melvoin, becoming the third showrunner.[21] She departed in March 2008, and Nick Thiel came aboard.[22] In August 2008, the series' creator Katherine Fugate also left, stating: "With the show [being] such an established hit, now seems like a logical time for me to step away and focus on developing new projects."[23] Melvoin returned in 2009 and has been the showrunner since then.[24]

Each script is supervised by two advisers from the Army.[15] Additionally Tanya Biank, whose book inspired the series, serves as a military consultant on every episode. Lt. Colonel Todd Breassealle has also been enlisted to provide insight on the military life.[16] Cast member Brian McNamara (Michael Holden) has directed several webisodes and two full episodes, the tenth episode of the fifth season and the eleventh episode of the sixth season.[25][26]

Spin-off pilot[edit]

In September 2009, a survey to see which character should get its own spin-off was posted on Lifetime's Army Wives blog; Pamela Moran (Brigid Brannagh) was one of the most-chosen characters.[27] On June 13, 2010, Deadline.com reported that Lifetime was pursuing a spin-off procedural drama television series for Army Wives featuring Brannagh's character, police officer Pamela Moran.[27] It was reported that an episode of the fourth season would serve as a backdoor pilot for the proposed spin-off.[27] The seventeenth episode of the season, titled "Murder in Charleston", served as the backdoor pilot, airing on August 15, 2010. Written by Bruce Zimmerman and T.D. Mitchell, the episode sees Moran teaming up with detective Gina Holt (Gabrielle Union) on a murder related to a case Holt has been working on for the past three years in Atlanta. At the end of the episode, Holt tells Moran she should take a detective's exam and to look for her if she is in Atlanta.[28] In September 2010, however, Lifetime did not pick up the spin-off series.[29]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Army Wives holds a score of 65 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on fifteen reviews for the first season.[30] Writing for Cinema Blend, Kelly West found the series positively portrays real army wives through its main characters who are "all strong women with a good sense of the importance of friendship, love and appreciating the time they have with their husbands, who are often being deployed overseas for months or longer." She described the series as "engaging", adding: "As a drama about the bonds of friendship and the importance of family, Army Wives works. Is it a total chick show? Yeah, I’d say so. It gets a bit soapy but overall, it’s well written, the premise is original and the acting is good."[31] New York Post's columnist Linda Stasi gave Army Wives three-and-a-half out of four stars, referring to it as a "sexy, smart, compelling series", and also lauded the acting and the writing.[32] The Chicago Tribune praised Lifetime for tackling, through Army Wives, the effects war has on the families "in a surprisingly straightforward manner."[33] Reviewing the premiere, Michelle Hewitson of the New Zealand Herald wrote: "Anything with 'wives' in the title must mean cat fights. Anything with 'Army' in the title must mean some musing on the cost of war."[34] Brian Lowry of Variety was less enthusiastic upon screening the first episodes, describing Army Wives as "a stereotypical sudser that wants to be From Here to Eternity but feels like All My Children: Military Edition."[35] Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Rob Owen was negative about the show's storylines as they "leave talented actors in their wake"; he described the storylines as "uninspired" and "unimaginative" and wrote that the show's format evokes the home-front portion of The Unit.[36]

The Chicago Tribune called Catherine Bell who "uses her typical subtlety and grace to give an intriguing interior life to Denise Sherwood," and Kim Delaney who portrays Claudia Joy Holden "the best two things about the show" while the newspaper deemed Roxy (Sally Pressman) "the most problematic character" because she does "preposterous and downright stupid things" in the first episodes.[33] On the contrary, Rob Owen found Denise Sherwood and Claudia Joy Holden "the most passive, least interesting characters" and considered Roxy and Trevor (Drew Fuller) "the liveliest couple", adding the show "sparks to life anytime these two are on screen."[36] Michelle Hewitson of the New Zealand Herald described Roxy as "a slapper with a heart of gold".[34] Linda Stasi called Frank Sherwood, portrayed by Terry Serpico, a "rivetingly wonderful character."[32]

The second season received promotion from Barack Obama and John McCain who were running for President in 2008.[37]

Ratings[edit]

The series opened its third season with 3.5 million viewers and a 2.4 rating among women 18-49, and a 1.0 rating among men 18-49. That made Wives the top-rated drama premiere in Lifetime's key demographic for 2009, though the show declined 22% among total viewers later in the year.[38]

The series opened its fifth season with a total of 4.2 million viewers, up 27% from the fourth season premiere, and it scored a 1.4 rating among women 18-49. The episode is Lifetime’s second most watched original season premiere among the key demos, including Women 18+ (3.0 rating) and Adults 18+ (4.0 rating), behind only the season two debut of Army Wives.[39]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Awards and accolades for Army Wives
YearAwardCategoryRecipientsResultRef.
2008ASCAP AwardsTop Television SeriesMarc Fantini, Steffan Fantini, Scott GordonWon[40]
2008Gracie Allen AwardsOutstanding DramaWon[41]
2008NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding Actress in a Drama SeriesWendy DavisNominated[42]
2008PRISM AwardsMental Health Depiction AwardNominated
2008PRISM AwardsPerformance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode StorylineWendy DavisNominated
2009ASCAP AwardsTop Television SeriesMarc Fantini, Steffan Fantini, Scott GordonWon[43]
2009NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding Actress in a Drama SeriesWendy DavisNominated[44]
2010ASCAP AwardsTop Television SeriesMarc Fantini, Steffan Fantini, Scott GordonWon[45]
2011ASCAP AwardsTop Television SeriesMarc Fantini, Steffan Fantini, Scott GordonWon[46]
2011NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding Actress in a Drama SeriesWendy DavisNominated[47]
2012ASCAP AwardsTop Television SeriesMarc Fantini, Steffan Fantini, Scott GordonWon[48]
2012NAMIC Vision AwardsBest DramaNominated[49]
2013Young Artist AwardsBest Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actress 11-13Annika HorneWon[50]
2013Young Artist AwardsBest Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actress 11-13Taylor BlackwellNominated[50]
2014Young Artist AwardsBest Performance in a TV Series - Supporting Young ActorMcCarrie McCauslandPending[51]

Soundtrack[edit]

Main article: List of songs heard on Army Wives

DVD releases[edit]

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has released the first seven seasons on DVD.

Army Wives - The Complete First Season
Set details[52]Special features[52]
  • "Have at It" With the Army Wives - A Q&A session with the cast
  • Wives On the Homefront
  • Deleted Story Line (with producer commentary)
  • Bloopers
  • Audio commentaries
  • Deleted scenes
Release dates
United States USACanada CanadaUnited Kingdom UKAustralia Australia
June 10, 2008N/ANovember 11, 2008[53]
Army Wives - The Complete Second Season
Set details[54]Special features[54]
  • Active Duty: The Cast Of Army Wives At Fort Bragg
  • Operational intelligence: Getting the Army's support
  • The tribe
  • Army Wives Gives Back
  • Deleted scenes
  • Bloopers
Release dates
United States USACanada CanadaUnited Kingdom UKAustralia Australia
June 2, 2009N/AN/A
Army Wives - The Complete Third Season
Set details[55]Special features[55]
  • Webisodes - Featuring Joan and Roland Burton and Jeremy Sherwood
  • Stationed in the South - Behind the scenes visit with the cast and crew
  • Army Wives Gives Back
  • Deleted scenes
  • Bloopers
Release dates
United States USACanada CanadaUnited Kingdom UKAustralia Australia
February 9, 2010N/AN/A
Army Wives - The Complete Fourth Season
Set details[56]Special features[56]
  • Safety first
  • Army wives get cooking
  • Military jargon
  • Deleted scenes (18)
  • Bloopers
Release dates
United States USACanada CanadaUnited Kingdom UKAustralia Australia
December 14, 2010N/AN/A
Army Wives - The Complete Fifth Season
Set details[57]Special features[57]
  • Hangin' At The Hump With the Cast
  • A heartfelt conversation reflecting back on the past five seasons
  • Deleted scenes (18)
  • Fun On Set: Bloopers, Babies, Ballroom And Brian McNamara
Release dates
United States USACanada CanadaUnited Kingdom UKAustralia Australia
September 27, 2011N/AN/A
Army Wives - The Complete Sixth Season
Set details[58]Special features

N/A

Release dates
United States USACanada CanadaUnited Kingdom UKAustralia Australia
September 18, 2012N/AN/A
Army Wives - The Complete Seventh and Final Season
Set details[60]Special features

N/A

Release dates
United States USACanada CanadaUnited Kingdom UKAustralia Australia
September 10, 2013N/AN/A

International airings[edit]

The series began airing in Ireland on Monday, October 15, 2007, on TG4 (in English) and in New Zealand on Thursday, June 19, 2008, on TV2. The series began airing in Australia on December 1, 2008, on Network Ten and currently on pay TV provider Foxtel. South African network M-Net also airs the series; the second season ended on M-Net on Monday, January 5, 2009.[61] Sky Living in the United Kingdom broadcast the first three seasons. However, in February 2012, it was announced that the channel had not purchased the rights for the fourth season.[62]

The series also airs in Israel in the winter of 2008 on Yes stars Drama. In the French-speaking parts of Canada, Historia started airing the first season on January 4, 2010.[63] The series was then brought to an associated channel, Series+, and which started airing from season 1 again on November 4, 2010, on a daily basis.[64] The series began airing in the Netherlands in 2008 on NET 5, while the second season aired starting April 26, 2010.[65] In the French-speaking part of Belgium, Wallonia, the first season began airing on RTL-TVI on August 3, 2008[66] whereas the second season was shown on cable television network BeTV starting from December 26, 2008.[67] The first season and the first 13 episodes of the second were aired in the Arab World on MBC 4 while the third season began on Tuesday, May 11, 2010, on Fox Series. The series airing in Russia on FOX life and in Sweden the series is aired on Sjuan. In France, the show retitled American Wives was first broadcast on Monégasque channel TMC on November 27, 2008.[68] His sister channel TF1 started airing the first season on August 13, 2012.[69]

References[edit]

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