Masters of the Air 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online
Before reviewing this production it is necessary to mention the classic drama which preceded it and upon which the producers have chosen to trade to enhance their chances of commercial success. I am of course refiring to Band of Brothers which set the standards for historical WWII drama. I am not an American but once I had watched the first episode of Band of Brothers even the theme music, which is an emotional hook, made me tear up to recognise the bravery and sacrifice of American boys, far from home, fighting in a war that they might have well considered not relevant to them and taking a place in history helping to save Europe and the world. OK that’s heavy stuff but Masters of the Air chooses to compare itself to Band of Brothers and so has to be judged on that basis.
Firstly the producers failed completely to establish any real feelings in their characters. They are stock two dimensional US movie heroes with no depth or emotional reality. The truth is that no drama, no matter how much is spent on locations, effects, capable actors and accomplished cinematography can gel if it doesn’t have a high grade of writing. It is in the lamentable scripting that this drama fails and no amount of excess budget can rescue it. The writing needs to define and display the nature of the characters. It needs to be accurate in historical detail if the drama is a historical drama. It needs to give the audience an understanding of the story it tells and to weld all these aspect together to create a world into which the audience can be drawn and of which they can feel a part. Masters of the Air fails on all these counts and seems like a series of hour long trailers for a comic book.
The writers have no shame about regurgitating outdated Hollywood tropes regarding history. The embarrassing themes undermine the credibility of the drama. The American aircrew are all confidant womanisers, the women are all a collection of pin up starlets, the animosities between nationalities are offensive. Being Irish is close to being a hero without getting out of bed. The English are weak snobbish foolish adversaries rather than allies and for some reason the producers want to believe that all Scots hate the English and love Americans.
The historical background to the day and night bombing campaigns by the USAAF and the RAF are couched in terms which rate the US daylight offensive as inspired, humane and affective while the night bombing by the RAF is portrayed as cowardly, ineffective and lacking a moral purpose. The truth is that in the period covered by this drama, neither were effective and both fell way below the intentions of their planners. What is true is that the high rate of casualties incurred in both campaigns was appalling and the kids who manned the bombers were sent back again and again until they were shot down with the most appalling casualty rate. This applied to the “heroic” Americans and the “cowardly” British and Empire crews. Not all RAF crews were English, a high proportion of aircrew were Australian and Canadian and they were not all officers in dress uniforms. Of course it is highly distasteful that the writers, directors and producers insist on maintaining this offensive and slanderous view of allies who had nothing but respect for each other and sacrificed their lives in very similar manners.
If a drama chooses to set itself in a historical context it cannot avoid criticism if it fails to deliver the realities of the history it choses to portray. The entire US European daylight bombing campaign was based on two criminally ill considered principles. Firstly that the Norden bomb-sight worked, which it never really did despite costs approaching the levels of the atomic bomb programme to develop it and secondly, the belief that large relatively slow and unmanoeuvrable bombers could defend themselves against German opposition by cramming them with crew and machine guns. They could not. So the USAAF ended up area bombing by inability while the RAF just admitted the truth and gave up precision bombing except in a few notable cases.
Masters of the Air glosses over all this but still chooses to utilise the danger of daylight bombing for it’s ability to remove large numbers of unknown characters while leaving the heroes to sail through in time to pick up the best of the bunch of pin ups back in the bar where they methodically alienate their British hosts. That is except for children who for some reason are allowed to wander around a wartime operational airbase as if it were a theme park, which in this drama it surely is.
The CGI of the air warfare is what this production sells as its main attribute and if the rest of the production was acceptable it would be adequate but alone it isn’t enough to save this quaint US xenophobic self congratulatory drivel especially since they chose to compare it with Band of Brothers which delivered most of what it needed to. Masters of the Air does not. Even its title is pretentious in the way that comic book movies adopt such status in their titles to compensate for the fact that they are merely fantasy.
This review is already much too long and so many more detailed criticisms will have to be omitted. If you insist on watching it, look for the real B17s and recognise that they are the only reallity in the whole sad mess.