Our first glimpse at Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's long-awaited, highly anticipated companion series to "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific" is finally here. Apple TV+ released the first teaser trailer for "Masters of the Air" ahead of Veterans Day weekend.
Starring Austin Butler ("Elvis") and Callum Turner ("Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore"), "Masters of the Air" follows the World War II exploits of the U.S. Army Air Forces' 100th Bombardment Group, which earned the nickname "The Bloody Hundredth" due to its shockingly high casualty rate among World War II bomber crews.
According to the series' official description, the show follows the men of the 100th "as they conduct perilous bombing raids over Nazi Germany and grapple with the frigid conditions, lack of oxygen and sheer terror of combat conducted at 25,000 feet in the air."
"Portraying the psychological and emotional price paid by these young men as they helped destroy the horror of Hitler's Third Reich is at the heart of 'Masters of the Air.' Some were shot down and captured; some were wounded or killed. And some were lucky enough to make it home. Regardless of individual fate, a toll was exacted on them all."
The 100th flew its first combat mission in June 1943, targeting the U-boat pens of Bremen, Germany. It lost three of its B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, along with each of their 10-man crews. From its home airfield at RAF Thorpe Abbotts, the unit would launch bombing runs across occupied Europe, from France in the West to Ukraine in the East.
Apple TV's official description doesn't mention that the 100th flew its missions over Germany in broad daylight and without fighter escorts until the P-51 Mustang was introduced at the end of 1943. Over 22 months and 8,630 missions, the 100th would lose 732 airmen and 177 aircraft. Only four of its original 38 pilots would complete their 25-mission tour of duty.
Like "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific" before it, "Masters of the Air" is based on a masterwork of historical documentation. This time, the foundation is historian Donald L. Miller's book "Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany," which was adapted into the nine-episode series by screenwriter John Orloff, who adapted the Stephen Ambrose book, "Band of Brothers."
With Butler and Turner, the cast of the series includes Barry Keoghan ("Dunkirk"), Anthony Boyle ("Tetris"), Nate Mann ("Licorice Pizza"), James Murray ("The Crown"), Ben Radcliffe ("The Witcher"), Josiah Cross ("King Richard"), Branden Cook ("Chicago P.D.") and Ncuti Gatwa ("Barbie").
The first two installments of "Masters of the Air" will debut on Jan. 26, 2024, on Apple TV+. New episodes will appear every Friday through March 15.
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