"Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan" on G4 Channel.

"Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan" on G4 Channel. Credit: G4 TV/

DOCUSERIES PREMIERE "Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan"

WHEN | WHERE Tonight at 10 on G4

REASON TO WATCH You'll feel like your butt is on the line, too, as an elite American team tries to find and clear hidden explosive devices in Afghanistan.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Wanna play video games, G4 fans? We'll give you some video games. Either correctly control a remote robot to find a suspected IED (improvised explosive device), or get yourself blown up. Way fun!

The show's premiere hour does start like a thrill ride, with camera shots flashing fast, adrenaline pumping and incoming wartime fire -- in fact, an immediate casualty.

But then "Bomb Patrol" jumps back five months, sending us off on deployment with the eight men of Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Platoon 342. The pace chills enough to let us get to know the guys -- from a vigilant chief who has survived five combat gigs to a cocky new bomb tech who "thought it'd be fun to play with explosives and blow stuff up."

We're right there with them inside the cramped tank-like JERRV (Joint EOD Rapid Response Vehicle), creeping across narrow Afghan bridges, fording washed-out roads, checking containers for booby traps and generally hoping we don't "go boom."

MY SAY Gamers do get their day here, as the new kid uses a video game controller to send out a small robot to save two larger ones he's already marooned in a sticky situation. Seeing it unfold via split-screen computer monitor is cool.

But very, very real. As our newbie learns, these "games" have serious stakes. And "Bomb Patrol" turns out to be an intensely human documentary. It's economically edited and well explained (Josh Duhamel is the narrator) by producers who know how to grab your guts and not let go.

BOTTOM LINE Explosions, yes. But emotions, too.

GRADE A

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