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January 17, 2017 at 07:17 AM EST

Having scored hits with Hatfields & McCoys and Vikings, the History channel expands its scripted offerings with Six, a meatheaded action series about a squad of Navy SEALs. Created by screenwriters William Broyles Jr. (Apollo 13) and his son David Broyles, the show allegedly aspires to be realistic, an insider’s take on their hush-hush heroism and the human cost of warfare and morally murky wet work. But Six is as authentic as a videogame, and just as sensationalistic.

The usually reliable Walton Goggins is wasted as Rip, a SEAL-turned-private security goon who gets abducted with a village of Nigerian schoolgirls by a faction of Boko Haram. His former squadmates have to rescue him. Also hunting Rip: a terrorist (Dominic Adams) with a vendetta against him. The action scenes are either incoherent or mildly compelling, and every opportunity is taken to make the SEALs look stormtrooper-cool. The effort to humanize them by peeking into their private lives relies on familiar scenarios, though props to a committed cast for trying to make it work. Bear (Barry Sloane) and his wife are struggling to get pregnant; Alex (Kyle Schmid) is a deadbeat divorced dad. There’s no equal attempt to humanize the villains. They’re just raping, slaving, Christian-hating monsters. Every episode seems to ensure at least two sex scenes and plenty of bloody violence. This isn’t history, this is military porn and cheap terrorsploitation. Sorry, Rip, but I don’t give a rip. D+

Six premieres Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 10 p.m. ET on History.

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Barry Sloane,
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