If you survived The Pacific - and the ratings suggest many didn't - here's another call of duty with the United States Marines. But this time it's the leathernecks of the First Reconnaissance Battalion in the early weeks of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, an HBO dramatisation of the 2004 book of the same name by reporter Evan Wright, an embedded Rolling Stone magazine reporter with the troops.

This seven-part mini-series was produced and co-written with Wright by David Simon and Ed Burns (The Wire).

It's not the first TV series about the invasion - there was Over There in 2005 by producer Steven Bochco (the creator of LA Law, NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues). And given all that has happened in the wake of the invasion, might it feel a little dated going back to the beginning?

"It's for viewers now to make of it what they will," says British director Susanna White, who helmed the first three episodes of Generation Kill, quite a departure from her previous work on period dramas Jane Eyre and Bleak House.

White lists the production's many challenges, including computer-generated imagery, stunt sequences, the various Africa locations and unpredictable weather. But the biggest task was casting. More than two dozen featured roles had to be filled, mostly, as it turned out, by unknowns - apart from Lee Tergesen from the prison drama Oz who plays Wright, and Alexander Skarsgard (Eric Northman in True Blood) as Sergeant Brad "Iceman" Colbert.

And it's not all action, White says. "During war the majority of your time is spent waiting for things to happen. The boredom of war - that was something we really wanted to portray."

The first episode also suggests that Operation Iraqi Freedom's planning was not all it could be. The troops start to suspect that military leadership didn't fully think things through and were not giving them sufficient support. They inquire about the missing maps. They patch together their rattling Humvees. And spearheading an invasion force isn't usually in the job description for these elite troops.

"Rolling through Iraq in open-top Humvees is completely outside what First Recon does," declares Lieutenant Colonel Stephen "Godfather" Ferrando. "But the general has asked this battalion to be America's shock troops, and Godfather can't tell the general we don't do windows."

Hoo-rah, indeed.

LOWDOWN
When & Where: 8.30pm, Monday, TV One
What: From the halls of Fallujah ...