Masters of the Air: Part One
January 26, 2024 6:44 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Led by Majors Cleven and Egan, the 100th Bomb Group arrives in England and joins the 8th Air Force's campaign.

Brought to you by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, the third series of WWII action drama, after Band of Brothers and The Pacific, Masters of the Air looks at the people involved in the US strategic bombing campaign in Europe, based on the book by Donald L. Miller.

The series opener in 1943 tries and fails to distinguish a large cast of guys in uniform and oxygen masks. Old School aviation is highlighted in an age with limited weather forecasting, unreliable equipment, polar temperatures, and no satellite positioning, adding an element of terror to what today would be considered basic flying and navigating.

Random observations:
  • More than the other series, this series shows the unforgiving learning curve in war
  • Chekhov's vomit bag, and vomiting CO
  • Pastoral England, looking like the Shire
  • The shittiest apology for breaking a narwhal's tusk
  • Team America taking over from the fading British Empire, with Spielbergian metaphors literally punching people in the face.
posted by cardboard (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
On Apple TV. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:55 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]

I'm going to watch this and I know, just like the book (and the history) it's going to make me very angry at the Eighth's command for absolutely refusing to learn lessons from the meat grinder they were sending those young men into.
posted by drewbage1847 at 8:41 AM on January 26 [5 favorites]

Will this add anything to the Memphis Belle discussion, tho'. In all seriousness, this was my thought when I watched the trailer. I think as drewbage1847 pointed out, unless the show seriously goes into the horrors in the air and on the ground of indiscriminate bombing of cities, is it going to bring anything new worth watching that we didn't get in the aforementioned film?
posted by Atreides at 9:18 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]

The book is brutal in terms of its depiction of the cost, waste, loss and sometimes stubborn idiocy that plagued the American air war in Europe. It's also peppered with stories of heroism and POWs that feel more classically "heroic WWII"

(Also, the book has a whole stretch that excoriates the Swiss for their "neutrality")
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:55 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]

No escorts? Jesus.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 4:16 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]

The vomit bag and helmet just seemed really clumsy.

I don't think I am going to like Austin Butler. There's something about him which just seems insincere.
posted by biffa at 4:40 PM on January 26

This is a hard sit for me, as any program about a) the military b) a large group of men and c) WW2 as a crucible for heroism fucks me right off. Combining all three into one program is usually a clear sign that it’s not for me, but the reviews have been great, and…

… it’s exactly what I feared. Identikit young men dying. No female characters. Don’t tell me this multi-million dollar series isn’t glorifying war; unless this pulls something very different in the rest of the series, this is solid ‘boys own’ storytelling, with no surprises.
posted by The River Ivel at 10:41 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]

River Ivel, the book (as said above) is very clear about how bad the war was for everyone on all sides. It's a far cry from the Greatest Generation hagiography we have seen so much in the past.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:08 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]

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