With no end in sight to the war on terror, History comes forth with a new drama series that shows the human side of a group of Navy SEALs as they grapple with the enemy and their personal lives.
In "Six," which premieres with the first of eight Season 1 episodes on Wednesday, Jan. 18, Walton Goggins, Barry Sloane, Kyle Schmid and Juan Pablo Raba star as members of Navy SEAL Team Six, who must make life-and-death decisions after a covert mission to eliminate a Taliban leader in Afghanistan goes awry and one of their own is taken captive.
"Six"Premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, on History
But when they're not on missions, these elite warriors are just regular guys.
"Hopefully one of the myths that this show will dispel," says Sloane, who plays team member Joe Graves, "is that nobody really knows what a Navy SEAL is. Most people think it's somewhere between Chuck Norris and Dwayne Johnson, but in reality it's the guy filling up in the gas station next to you or the guy who lives next door to you for 15 years who did this job."
"They're not alphas and they're not betas; they're gammas," adds Goggins, who plays troop leader Richard "RIP" Taggart. "These are individuals who are capable of leading people and following at a given moment. And they're ultra bright; very, very, very smart and are deep. They're people who think in a very specific way and I feel like they all have that in common."
The opening episode establishes the characters. Graves talks via video with his wife, who shows him an ultrasound of their unborn daughter. Alex Caulder (Schmid) is a hands-off father who has trouble remembering his teen daughter's age and making child-support payments. Ricky "Buddha" Ortiz (Raba) has a wife who wants him to leave the military. And Taggart is something of a loose cannon.
The actors had to undergo various types of military training, including weapons and BUD/S (basic underwater demolition/SEAL), which is the entry level training for SEALs. It culminated in something called "surf torture," in which the men sit down on the ocean's edge, link arms, lay down with their backs to the water and let the cold surf roll in over their faces and mouths, compromising their breathing. Then they'd have to get up and drag one of their comrades up a hill. And repeat the process of alternately freezing, drowning and overexerting.
The result brought the actors together in a team not unlike the SEALs.
"We know where the bravado is, we know what our breaking points are, we know who we are as men," Sloane says.
"I mean, I know these guys have my back and I know who they are intrinsically," he continues. "So that's the collective trauma we shared, and it's very evident on the show for me that you can see that closeness and that bond."