MASTERS OF THE AIR
Starring: Austin Butler, Callum Turner, Anthony Boyle, Barry Keoghan, Nate Mann, Rafferty Law, Edward Ashley, Jonas Moore, Elliot Warren, Matt Gavan, Branden Cook, Ncuti Gatwa, James Murray, and Josiah Cross
Creators: John Shiban and John Orloff
Serving as a companion piece to Band of Brothers and The Pacific, Masters of the Air isn’t as strong as the former but soars higher than the latter on the strength of its aerial sequences. They are beautiful, visceral, exhilarating, and anxiety-inducing, especially once they establish any character can die. As for the performances, they are solid enough, but this is the type of show where the characters don’t really matter. The real stars are the action scenes that show the horrors of war. Admittedly, it drags some towards the end as it moves away from the bomber missions, but the miniseries remains an overall winner.
Like its predecessors, Band of Brothers and The Pacific, Masters of the Air is a tour de force that sets another bar for what television can be. On a technical level, it's invigorating and jaw-dropping to look at, with some moments feeling like your soul is exiting your body. In terms of the writing, it can fall under typical war story archetypes, but it's captivating nonetheless, successfully displaying the heroism of its subjects with nuance and humanity. Mix that with a cast of talented young actors giving knockout performances, and Masters of the Air is officially the first must-watch show of 2024.
Those who know me know that I'm not the biggest fan of war films (or, in this case, series), but there is something about Masters of the Air that just got its hooks in me. And that something is the visual excellence of the show. Whether it's the exhilarating aerial sequences or the seamless transformation back in time, this thing fires on all cylinders. The story itself may not feel as inspired, but it's helped along by solid performances across the board, anchored by the two Bucks (Austin Butler and Callum Turner). I highly recommend checking this one out, even if war stories aren’t for you.