Stream It Or Skip It: 'Toughest Forces On Earth' on Netflix, where a group of former special forces officers train with elite military and police around the world (2024)

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In a new Netflix docuseries, three former special forces officers — two from the U.S. and one from the U.K. — train with elite military and law enforcement units from around the world. They may or may not get involved in actual real-life operations with the units they train with. But they learn about the tactics and strategies they use.

TOUGHEST FORCES ON EARTH: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

Opening Shot: A caravan of military vehicles traverses the Jordanian desert.

The Gist: In the eight-episode series Toughest Forces On Earth, three former special forces officers train with elite military and law enforcement units all over the world. Dean Stott is a former officer in the SBS, a British special forces unit. Cameron Fath was a U.S. Army Ranger, and Ryan Bates is a former Navy SEAL.

In the first episode the trio train with the King Abdullah II Royal Special Forces in Jordan. In two desert-based exercises, each of the hosts lead a team of Jordanian officers in a game of cat and mouse; one team is tracking the other two as they try to hide behind rocks and use the terrain to their advantage. The next day, the drill depicts how they’d react to an ambush while riding in armed vehicles in the open desert.

Then the three hosts go to a state-of-the-art antiterrorism training center, where they participate in a drill that has them find terrorists hidden in a building. The next day, the drill is to engage hijackers in an airplane while protecting hostages. Finally, the trio go back out to the desert and participate in a drill where they have to invade a compound and flush out rebel forces who have the ability to escape through a system of tunnels.

Stream It Or Skip It: 'Toughest Forces On Earth' on Netflix, where a group of former special forces officers train with elite military and police around the world (2)

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Toughest Forces On Earth is by the same producers as Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons, and the two shows share similar vibes. It’s also reminiscent of Fox’s Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test, only minus the reality competition element and C-list celebs.

Our Take: Toughest Forces On Earth is about as testosterone-fueled as any show on Netflix; it’s essentially the three hosts visiting different elite forces, whether they be military or law enforcement, and participating in training exercises. Do they go on real operations? Perhaps; in the second episode, they work with the Jungla unit of Colombia’s National Police, and after their training they accompany the unit to what looks like a real cocaine bust. But who knows how that was set up, and if the hosts are ever in any real danger.

There isn’t a whole lot of context in the Jordan episode about the origin of the king’s special forces unit — it’s mentioned that King Abdullah II was in the special forces himself before ascending to the throne — and there’s a glancing reference to the fact that they’re a stable country surrounded by unstable territories and nations. But the show is less about context and more about the operations and how the hosts integrate themselves into the units they’re training with.

We also wanted to see more about the officers in the unit, rather than see them being shown as assisting the hosts. It may vary from episode to episode, but we only see a brief glimpse of the hosts getting into any sort of a conversation with any of the unit’s officers about their reasons for joining the military or about their special forces training or anything remotely personal.

The hosts should be fading a bit into the background to let the people who are actually in the unit get the spotlight, and highlight the tactics and methods they use. Yes, the hosts have a lot of personality, but we wish the producers saw fit to give more screen time to the people the hosts were training with.

Sex and Skin: None.

Parting Shot: The Jordanian unit sends their new “brothers” off using a “VIP” form of transportation: A camel caravan.

Sleeper Star: The men and women in the units the hosts train with are the sleeper stars, because of what they do every day to protect their respective countries.

Most Pilot-y Line: Cameron Fath doesn’t actually physically profile as a special forces guy; he’s short and somewhat skinny. And there’s more than one joke about his relatively small stature. He seems to be good-natured about it, but we’re sure he’s been dealing with short jokes since basic training.

Our Call: STREAM IT. For what it is, Toughest Forces On Earth is well-done; we just wish there was some context and insight to go along with all the tactics and weaponry.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.

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Stream It Or Skip It: 'Toughest Forces On Earth' on Netflix, where a group of former special forces officers train with elite military and police around the world (2024)

FAQs

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Army Green Berets — "Special Forces"

Army Green Berets are among the most elite groups in the world, and provide a pipeline to higher units, like the Army's "Delta" CAG, and the CIA SAD. They have about as much street-cred as numbered SEALs and Force Recon, depending on who's doing the talking.

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What is the deadliest military training in the world? ›

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What is the most elite military unit in the world? ›

Full List
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The Indian Navy MARCOS: Regional Powerhouse​

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Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff is the senior most officer of the U S Military . He holds the rank of a four star General of the United States of America .

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