PBS documentary some patrons may request:
At first, the 10-hour documentary "Carrier" feels something like a crazy-long Navy commercial.
The camaraderie of the sailors, the giant metal flying toys, aimless teens finding direction at sea, the nicknames and cool tattoos - it all looks like one giant come-on. I wanted to write an eye-rolling review about how PBS has gone into the recruitment business with this miniseries, which premieres tomorrow at 9 p.m. on Channel 2. Vibrant with panoramic shots of the shining sea, "Carrier" starts out like a high-def paean to American military adventure.
But the longer you watch "Carrier," the deeper it goes. What begins as a gung-ho portrait of six months aboard the USS Nimitz develops into a more faceted take on sexism, racism, the strains of hierarchy, homophobia, and the psychic costs of living in an isolated subculture - what one sailor likens to a prison. The miniseries isn't an expose or a political statement, but it is a bottom-to-top warts-and-all profile of a crowded, high-stakes world comprised mostly of 18- and 19-year-olds. The filmmakers deliver a fine balance of both elated big-gun worship and humiliated bathroom cleaning, melting-pot team-making and the cliquishness of ethnic groups.
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