The brotherhood of soldiers follows the steadfast edict, “No man left behind.” During combat, one of the worst-case scenarios is leaving behind a fallen comrade. Fighters train for these situations. These warriors are prepared for a variety of battlefields, but nothing can prepare for loss. National Geographic Channel’s new series No Man Left Behind focuses on notorious missions gone wrong, and how soldiers adapt to rescue injured squad members.
Producers of the popular and acclaimed shows Locked Up Abroad and Inside the Hunt for the Boston Bombers bring us this new military history documentary series. Interviews with those involved combine with stunning reenactments and real life footage to tell the story of true heroes. Unlike the caped crusaders that are idolized at the box office, these soldiers are more deserving of audience adoration. They are regular people who train to save their country and help with conflicts across the globe.
With dramatic recreations of actual events, this documentary series won’t be boring at all. This isn’t a case of just watching talking heads tell their story. #NoManLeftBehind transports the audience to the thick of combat, not only to entertain, but also to better demonstrate the dangers and perilous environments these men and women face on a daily basis.
Season one’s stories highlight everything from pilots shot down behind enemy lines, to special agents on undercover assignments. Of course, not everything turns out as expected. Often, these situations spiral into chaos. Other episodes feature a Nighthawk stealth fighter jet shot down over Serbia, a British Special Air Services Operative separated from his squad and forced to escape Iraq through 7 days in the desert, and DEA Special Agents in Colombia with the war on drugs.
More familiar headlines like Black Hawk Down provide a different perspective than we’re used to. Filmmaker Ridley Scott may have turned the battle into a movie, but there’s an extra added amount of gravity when the actual soldiers tell their actual story. There is no fiction involved here. Facts don’t take a background to entertainment. The focus of No Men Left Behind is on the men themselves.
The series gives a look inside the lives of survivors and reveals how they are haunted by the past. It’s not all guts and glory with these heroes, there is also an emphasis on the post traumatic stress of surviving combat and losing friends to battle.
The premiere tells the story of Black Hawk Down, when helicopters crashed in enemy territory. A battle between Somali militia and American special forces turned extremely violent. It’s the perfect scenario to highlight the true meaning of “No man left behind.” Survivors are reunited for the first time on camera as they recount what happened on that bleak day.
For the soldiers involved, NMLB is a more accurate telling of the Black Hawk story. With the movie version, those aren’t the real men. With the docu-series, the actual soldiers tell their own story in their own words. This element really helps bring history to life. The viewer can clearly see what it takes to be a hero, and clearly wonder if they are cut out for war. There are no glamorous embellishments like a Hollywood action flick, this is focused on the horrors of reality and the tremendous cost of true bravery.
While the National Geographic show may not break records with 20 million viewers or something, it performs respectably in the Top 100 for its night. Documentary series like this don’t draw in the biggest numbers, but often deliver on expectations for genre
Do you want to see more first-hand accounts like this on television? Is a short season run not enough? What other missions would you like to see in upcoming seasons?
Subscribe to stay tuned about the future of No Men Left Behind and receive an automatic email when news of renewal or cancellation is released.