A&E’s Dogs of War Will Surprise You … In Many Good Ways

Jim Stanek first experienced service dogs after suffering a brain injury and PTSD. But when he tried to get one of his own, the price proved to be prohibitive. That’s when Jim and his wife Lindsey decided to start Paws & Stripes. A new show on A&E, “Dogs of War” premiered on Veterans Day and is one of the new docuseries in the A&E lineup. I finally got a chance to watch it on Friday (after a scare with my living room DVR) and I’m hoping it gets decision makers in the military to sit up and well … salute. It’s just not another one of those roll over and get your belly scratched dog shows. They’re not just rescuing dogs, and they’re not just raising awareness about PTSD. Everyone has a job and they all take it very seriously, the dog included. Each episode will feature a veteran, suffering in various ways with PTSD, being matched with a service dog. And if you think bringing  a dog into an established and often fragile family dynamic is not a big deal, then you’re in for a surprise. That’s where Lindsey comes in. Because there’s nothing better than having been there and sharing it to help the next person move on. Yet this show didn’t have a single bit of predictability in it. I was hoping for the best through the whole 44 minutes, but when you’re dealing with war veterans and the absolute misery and unpredictability of PTSD, you just can’t bet on rainbows and kittens.

Tennessee gets chosen as a service dog in the first episode of Dogs of War ©A&E TV

Tennessee gets chosen as a service dog in the first episode of Dogs of War ©A&E TV

For the premiere episode, Michael chose Tennessee. It was the second dog he saw and when they were about to show him a third, he said “no” he didn’t want to see another dog. He knew that Tennesse was the one he wanted. He immediately changes his name to U_Suda. You can catch the entire first episode at aetv.com plus some clips on upcoming shows. The new night for the show will be Sunday at 9pm CT.

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A&E Greenlights ‘Love Prison’ Reality Series, 3 Others – TheWrap

A&E Greenlights ‘Love Prison’ Reality Series, 3 Others – TheWrap.

Well, fall is here and so are the new shows. I managed to watch two episodes of A&E’s social experiment called “Love Prison” yesterday and was shocked they could find advertisers for that crap.

Reading some of the advanced press online, they stated one out of every three relationships begins online. Really? I did do a little bit of research on my own and unfortunately the state of online dating is not a happy one. There are just as many online dating commercials as there are bladder leakage ones.

Serviss and Siegel, contestants on Love Prison. © AETV.

Serviss and Siegel, contestants on Love Prison. © AETV.

The two episodes I watched were train wrecks … I couldn’t look away. Serviss (42) and Siegel (39) were dating for six months. Siegel is from California; Serviss from Long Island.

The other episode I watched was about Rosie, an LA party girl and Chris, a computer nerd from Iowa. They had been dating online for two years. She was wishy washy and he was way to passive. To give you an example, residents of the Love Prison get one phone call during the week – he called his mother.

All I could think about the entire time I was watching … they dumped Longmire for this … crap. Just to get a better skew in the 18-49 demographic. Yikes!

Rosie and Chris, contestants in Love Prison. © AETV

Rosie and Chris, contestants in Love Prison. © AETV

There is hope, however. Some of the other shows they have planned will appeal to the cerebral part of that demographic.

Dogs of War is about a nonprofit organization that pairs veterans with PTSD with adopted dogs who help the veterans transition back into regular life.

Mark Wahlberg (yes of “The Wahlburgers”) is executive producing a show for A&E entitled Big Brew Theory that follows four quirky MIT grads as they pursue their dream of opening a home-grown micro brewery. I bet their parents are proud.

The “Godfather of Pittsburgh” takes a fascinating look at a truly original character who finds it hard to walk the ‘straight and narrow’ and still succeed in business. (That’s their write-up, not mine.)

Other shows in the works include 8 Minutes (working title) which really sounds promising, The Unproduceables, which sounds hysterical and the new show by executive producer Dick Wolf, Dead Again that has a premiere date of Thursday, Oct. 2 at 9pm CT.

I’m covering Dead Again in another post.

Many say that the unscripted “reality” show came out of the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike when all 12,000 screenwriters and TV writers in the guild went on strike. It started on November 5, 2007 and ended on February 12, 2008.

I would think that by now networks would realize that America has had its fill of reality shows. Love Prison airs on Monday nights, 9pm CT.