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Masters of the Air is an American war drama television series that premiered on Apple TV+ in 2024. The show is based on the book Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany by Donald L. Miller. It was created by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks as a follow-up to their 2001 miniseries Band of Brothers and 2010 miniseries The Pacific.
Masters of the Air follows the true story of the Eighth Air Force of the United States Army Air Forces, who flew daylight bombing missions over occupied Europe and Nazi Germany during World War II. The series focuses specifically on the experiences of the men in the 100th Bombardment Group of the Eighth Air Force, nicknamed the Bloody Hundredth due to the extremely high casualty rate amongst its heavy bomber crews.
Over the course of ten episodes, Masters of the Air depicts the camaraderie, bravery and horrors faced by the young American bomber crews as they conduct increasingly ambitious bombing raids deep into enemy territory. Despite flying in daylight without fighter escorts for most of their missions, these men helped cripple the German war machine through the destruction of industrial targets, preparations for the D-Day invasion, and attacks on Berlin.
However, the heavy casualties suffered by the Bloody Hundredth serve as a constant reminder of the terrible cost of aerial warfare. Besides enemy fire, the bomber crews also battle extreme weather, mechanical failures, oxygen deprivation at high altitudes, and physical and mental fatigue. The series authentically portrays the air war through tense bombing run scenes, air combat, and emergency bailouts over Nazi-held territory.
Back at their base in England, the fliers of the Hundredth try to live normal lives amid the chaos and uncertainty of war. The diverse ensemble cast allows the series to explore the motivations and backstories of the men who risk their lives on each mission, as well as examine their interactions and bonds with each other.
With production overseen by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, Masters of the Air features high production values to vividly recreate the air war, along with nuanced writing and performances to bring the characters to life. While paying tribute to the brave airmen of the Mighty Eighth, the series also uncompromisingly depicts the horrors of war without glorification.
By dramatizing the true stories of the Eighth Air Force bomber crews who helped take the war to Hitler's Germany, Masters of the Air provides an immersive and unflinching look at the air campaign that played a vital role in winning World War II.
Masters of the Air is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (9 episodes). The series first aired on January 26, 2024.