TV: Band of Brothers

I used the recent Blu-ray re-release of Band of Brothers (2001) as an excuse to watch the entire run over again. This 10-episode miniseries almost single-handedly triggered my fascination with World War II history when I first saw it several years ago, and it still holds up very well after repeat viewings.

The series is a dramatization of Stephen Ambrose’s non-fiction book of the same name, which depicts the exploits of one remarkable company of paratroopers from their formation in the States in 1942 through until the end of the war in Europe in 1945. Although at times it’s structurally hamstrung by its historical accuracy, and at other times it takes liberties with it, it provides a revealing look at combat and what the soldiers went through, and for the most part it makes for stirring drama. The combat sequences are realistic and harrowing, and some of the episodes, particularly “Day of Days,” “Carentan,” and “Bastogne” (to me, the jewel in the series’ crown) are simply superb. There’s solid ensemble acting from the entire cast, including Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Donnie Wahlberg, Rick Gomez, Shane Taylor, Ross McCall, Dexter Fletcher, and more. (There are also interviews with the real-life soldiers depicted in the series, and the actors do an impressive job capturing their mannerisms and bringing them to life.)

If you have any interest in WWII history and you haven’t seen this yet, I’d call it a must. (And even if you don’t, you might want to try it anyway!)

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