March 11, 2013



ARMY WIVES:  Sunday 9PM on Lifetime

Lifetime’s venerable ARMY WIVES returned for its seventh season tonight, but really this will be the 2.0 version of the show.  Most of the original cast is gone this season or minimized to recurring (only Catherine Bell, of the original core group of spouses, is returning as a regular), and several new actors are joining the cast, a process that began last season with the arrivals of Kelli Williams and Alyssa Diaz, both now regulars, and will continue with Ashanti, Torrey DeVitto and Elle McLemore, not to mention Brooke Shields and Jesse McCartney, who are both entering as recurring guests.

However, tonight’s season premiere was more of a transition hour, written by Consulting Producer James Stanley and directed by Kevin Dowling.  It was almost exclusively concerned with the death of Claudia Joy Holden (Kim Delaney), the original doyenne of the series, in a development that was far from a surprise, even though the show tried to fake viewers out a bit with last season’s cliffhanger, which seemed to indicate that bad news was coming in connection with a troop transport plane flying through heavy weather with several cast members aboard.  In fact, Delaney’s appearances on the series had been more and more sporadic over the past couple of seasons (Claudia Joy spent chunks of last year on a supposed European trip with the First Lady), for reasons that seemed to have more to do with the actress than with the creative choices of the show.  In any case, this “premiere” wasn’t much more than a clip show, as the various original cast members gathered for Claudia Joy’s memorial service and reminisced their memories of her.  All the new characters have yet to be introduced.  Therefore, we’ll return to Army Wives for more of a judgment in an episode or two, once its new staff personnel have arrived on the base.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."