This post is sponsored by NBC Universal. All work and opinions are my own.
A common criticism of movies and TV shows from our community is that there are few accurate or diverse representations of the veteran and military population. Often, veterans are portrayed as damaged from their service or are ignored. Active duty families are rarely seen.
The Night Shift, on NBC, is aiming to change that. The show surrounds the night shift of an emergency room team at San Antonio Memorial. Characters in the show find themselves in emotional and hectic situations. One character, TC, is in Syria while another, Dr. Jordan Alexander, finds herself treating more veterans and active duty military members. Another character is an Army veteran, as well.
Now in Season 4, the show is making a brilliant and meaningful choice: Every episode this season will feature a veteran’s story that dovetails with the main plot line. And they’ll be featuring issues surrounding the Veterans Administration and military medicine throughout the season, too.
Probably most exciting is the announcement that The Night Shift will air an all-veterans episode on August 10. Cool, right? Wait. What does that mean? It means that show will be written by veterans and will have veterans playing all of the guest roles for that episode.
While it is a fantastic move, this isn’t a crazy leap for The Night Shift. Last year, the show featured Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden on an episode that focused on veteran health issues—something that both women had been advocating for through their Joining Forces initiative.
I cannot wait to see how this season unfolds—and how the writers and actors of The Night Shift will represent the diversity of the military community. I’d love to see the health and wellness issues of military spouses and kids be brought to light as well as see how different kinds of veteran characters are treated and given a voice.
From anxiety to PTSD to prenatal health to the importance of improving the military health system, there are so many topics that The Night Shift could introduce the wider civilian population to. This could be a tremendous tool in breaking the stigma when it comes to the hard topics the military community faces. And that isneeded as ramp ups in ops tempos seem to be inevitable and as more active duty folks leave the military for civilian life.
Check out the video of The Night Shift and #JointheNightShift on NBC, Thursdays at 10/9c!