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Review – Band of Brothers

The story of Easy Company and their missions in WWII, from Operation Overlord to V-J Day.

This is the story of ‘E’ Easy Company, the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, stretching from the first days of training right up to the end of World War Two. During the early hours of D-Day, they parachuted behind enemy lines to support the landings at Utah Beach. They then went on to liberate Carentan, and then parachuted into action in the midst of Operation Market Garden. The tale ends with the closing of the war after the company liberates a concentration camp near Hitler’s mountain retreat.

It would appear that I’m on a mission to watch some of the greatest TV shows ever made at the minute. After The Wire, I attempted Oz but couldn’t get into it, and while looking to see if Boardwalk Empire was being re-run anytime soon, I noticed Band of Brothers was being repeated. After seeing the ratings, I decided to give it a spin. What an excellent life choice I made!

The story of Band of Brothers is a retelling of events undertaken by Easy Company throughout WWII. I should think the plot was very reflective of the real thing due to the script being passed to the veterans portrayed in the show before production began. I do feel that it was handled very sensitively, and that the production team really wanted the heroes whose stories they were telling to have an active role in the mini-series. I found it very touching how each episode was introduced with a short commentary from the real Easy Company soldiers. This really authenticated the program for me, and I would say that this is the reason the series was so well received. The short introduction to each episode served to remind how each member of the company was just an extraordinary man doing extraordinary things.

Acting for a show like this has to be good in my opinion, as it stands to provide a tribute for all of the lives affected by the events. I can’t say I can complain about the quality of the performances on show here. A couple of stand-outs include Damian Lewis as Winters and Donnie Wahlberg as Lipton. Both provided rip-roaringly terrific performances as they truly revealed the characteristics of these men that got them and their troops through the war.

The show also introduced a number of today’s biggest stars. Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Andrew Scott and Tom Hardy – the latter of which was actually awarded his first screen credit – all played significant parts in the series. Obviously now, due to their many successes, these are all household names, but at the time when the show was first aired, the anonymity of many of the show’s cast would have worked very well in its favour, as audiences would view the actors only as their characters, and not as Michael Fassbender or Tom Hardy playing soldiers, if you know what I mean.

All in all, I would highly recommend watching Band of Brothers. It is a truly fantastic series that is well worth committing to. The authenticity surrounding the story is what makes the series stand out, and also means that it would be great for anyone who is interested in history or WWII. That was my excuse for recording the show. “It will benefit my education” – always works a treat!

9

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