Masters of the Air “does one thing better” than Band of Brothers

Cameron Frew
Austin Butler in Masters of the Air and a still from Band of Brothers

Masters of the Air is a spiritual successor to Band of Brothers – but according to fans, there’s one thing the new series does better than its acclaimed predecessor.

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg’s small-screen trilogy began with Band of Brothers in 2001, following “Easy” Company from their paratrooper training in the US through their traumatic, extraordinary missions in Europe. Nine years later, the Hollywood titans reunited for The Pacific, switching the lens of the conflict to marines overseas.

While moving from HBO to Apple TV, none of the quality has been lost in their newest series: Masters of of the Air, revolving around the “Bloody Hundredth” bomb group who took immense losses during its calamitous missions in the war.

The show has been broadly praised – you can read our five-star review here – and despite it being a high bar, it even does “one thing” better than the first series.

Band of Brothers fans say Masters of the Air does “one thing better”

On the Masters of the Air subreddit, u/begerege praised the series for highlighting the futility of war and illustrating just how narrowly the men of the 100th survived anytime they took to the skies.

“The moment they are called on a mission is a moment from which they are like Schrödinger’s cat – they are alive and dead at the same time in those planes. Their lives are almost completely left to chance, their path is linear, towards one point and goal – to release bombs on a specific spot,” they wrote.

“And when they embark they are not saying farewells, they are not sad or showing fear, yet they go knowing the hell route is sky high ahead of them and death will take its own no matter what.

“Yes, everybody did die in a war, guys in tanks, ships, infantry, but their path towards death’s face was rarely so clear like for these guys up in the air who were just expecting hell to break lose at some point. This show portrays perfectly why war shouldn’t exist.”

The cast of Masters of the Air in Episode 3

Others agree. One user said The Pacific “did a good job with this as well”, showing how “horrifying, deadly, and demeaning” the war became, while Band of Brothers “suffers the most in retrospect.”

“The ‘tone’ of that series justified the fighting more. It makes for a more satisfying narrative, but the horror of the fighting for Easy Company was diminished by the way the series romanticized the journey of the main characters,” they added.

Another commented: “The loss of control would be mind shattering. At least infantry has the option to surrender or even run away. In a plane it is pure chance. Every mission is akin to standing in a field during an artillery barrage for hours. 25 separate times.”

“I had the same thought. Each man is f**ked from the moment he gets into the air until he lands, at which point he becomes unf**ked again,” a fourth replied. “I agree with you, the show is doing a very good job of showing all the risks the crews are facing and how it’s all random,” another wrote.

Masters of the Air Episodes 1-4 are streaming on Apple TV+, which you can sign up for here. You can also check out our other coverage below:

Review | Premiere recap | Episode 3 recap | Episode 4 recap | Release schedule: Dates & episodes | Cast and real-life characters | Filming locations | Is it a Band of Brothers sequel? | Soundtrack & songs | Is Barry Keoghan’s Curt dead? | Did Buck die? | What happened to Babyface?

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