Coming to Apple TV+ from Executive Producers Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman and developed by John Orloff is the miniseries about World War II fliers who are MASTERS OF THE AIR.
It is World War II and Major Cleven (Austin Butler), Commander of the 350, and Major Egan (Callum Turner) are leading the 100th Bomb Group to join up with the 8th Air Force in England to go up against Germany. Cleven is saying his goodbyes to sweetheart Marge (Isabel May) and makes his way with the group to fly some of the most dangerous missions of the war.
Major Harry Crosby (Anthony Boyle), Capt. John D. Brady (Ben Radcliffe) and Lt. Biddick (Barry Keoghan) are more pilots who meets up with Cleven as the later pilot shows how dangerous landings can be. There is no time for them to learn the lay of the land as their first mission comes in to bomb a U-boat factory. Knowing they are flying into enemy territory; each man prepares in his own way. Cleven comes back from the mission a bit shell shocked wanting to know why buddy Egan didn’t warn him how brutal it could be.
Sgt. Lemmons (Rafferty Law) is a young man who is keeping the planes in the air. He and his on the ground crew patch, fix, repair and send up the planes going on the missions. Those staying at the base would spend every moment preparing each plane and its crew for the next mission, and in this case after German submarines.
Cleven learns who will be going on the next flight to Africa and getting there as a precision placed group of flyers is the only way to make the mission a success. In between friends are lost and captured as the men try to deal with what is ahead. Each mission is different, sending these men into different parts of the world to make it clear to Germany that what is coming toward them from the air is bravery and determination.
This is only a small part of a larger pictures with these masters of the air!
Butler as Cleven is a man who doesn’t indulge in the same things as his fellow pilots. Often made the end of jokes, he takes it all in stride with his very calm presence for his team and those who serve with him. Butler has that down home boy swagger and it comes across on the screen as his character is truly respected among the men.
Turner as Egan is the opposite of his friend Cleven. He is open, opinionated and sometimes can cause a bit of trouble but knows the mission and takes it very seriously. Turner gives his character a presence that enhances the friendship between Cleven and Egan and it works so very well. Boyle as Crosby is a pilot who is part of this group of flyers but there is a quiet about him until he is in the pilot’s seat. Then, Boyle’s intensity comes out as he tries to hold it together for the sake of his crew.
Keoghan as Biddick has his own flying ways and even has a few misses of his own. Keoghan is coming off recognition for his role in the film SALTBURN but in MASTERS OF THE AIR, he is showing his diverse talent in uniform. Law as Lemmons is an extremely young man of 19 who has great responsibility on the airfield. Being a bit of a kid still, he has come to make friends with the kids from the surrounding area. I enjoy when he is on the screen as he adds a little lightheartedness to the story.
It is important to mention as many actors as possible as MASTER OF THE AIR is brimming with talent and they should all be recognized for their stunning performances.
The extensive cast includes Nikolai Kinski as Col. Huglin, Stephen Moore as Major Bowman, Sawyer Spielberg as Lt. Claytor, Nate Mann as Major Rosenthal, Josipah Cross as Lt. Macon, Branden Cook as Alexander Jefferson, Ncuti Gatwa as Lt. Robert Daniels, Kai Alexander as Sgt. Quinn, James Murray as Major Harding, Fred Carter as Lt. Friedkin, Oaklee Pendergast as Sgt. Hinton, and Louis Greatorex as Capt. Payne.
Also, Adam Long as Capt. DeMarco, Jordan Coulson as Lt. Hamilton, Fionn O’Shea as Sgt. Bosser, Max Hastings as Lt. Allen, Nitai Levi as Sgt. Vrabec, Jr., Laurie Davidson as Lt. Nash, Fracis Lovehall as Captain Pruitt, Luke Whoriskey as Lt. Biller, Bradley Banton as Lt. Archer, Edward Ashley as Lt. Kidd, Kieron Moore as Sgt. Starkey, David Shields as Major Blakely, Luke Coughlan as Sgt. Johnson, Neil Pendelton as Sgt. Stewart, Jon Ewart as Lt. Couch, Daniel Briggs as Sgt. Crabb, George Smale as Lt. Nutting, Jonathan Halliwell as Sgt. DeBlasio, John Schwab as Lt. Lann, James Meunier as Lt. Lorch, and Elliott Ross as Lt. Strout.
Sam Hazeldine as Col. Clark, Darragh Cowley as Lt. Graham, Elliot Warren as Lt. Douglass, Adam Silver as Lt. Solomon, Josh Bolt as Lt. Lewis, Louis Sparks as Sgt. Saunders, Sonny Serkis as Lt. Evans, Jack Franklin as Charles Mylius, Kwame Agyei as Lt. Gordon, Phillip Lewitski as Lt. Harper, Alex Boxall as Sgt. Thornton, Rahshan Wall as Lt. Funderburg, Christopher Lakewood as Col. Jeffery, Ian Dunnett as Lt. Bailey, Sid Phoenix as Ralph Nist, Robert Hands as Major Smiloleit, Jojo Macari as Captain Petrich, George Webster as Lt. Dye, John Hopkins as Dr. Stover, Sam Rosenthal as A. Jacobs and Nathen Solly as Lt. Hoerr.
Joanna Kulig as Paulina, Bel Powey as Alexandra Wingate, Lauren McQueen as Rose, Amelia Gething as Isabel and Mimi Slinger as Sally.
Apple TV+ is a video on demand web television that debuted in 2019 viewable through the Apple TV+ app. CEO Tim Cook wanted original content calling it “a great opportunity for us from a creation point of view”. From THE MORNING SHOW to TRYING and THE BANKER and Jason Momoa in SEE, there is plenty of choices for everyone. Plenty of genres? That is exactly what they are bringing to viewers and to see more of what they have to offer please visit www.apple.com/tv/.
The series includes the first four episodes directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, episodes five and six directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, episodes seven and eight directed by Dee Rees and episode nine by Tim Van Patten.
The series is based on the 2007 book by Donald Miller Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany. Executive Producers Steven Spielberg (Amblin Television), Tom Hanks (Playtone) and Gary Goetzman are also responsible for bringing the series BAND OF BROTHERS in 2001 and THE PACIFIC in 2010.
One of the most important things I can say about this film is that the cast is seamless in portraying their characters. It is not only the story of war, but of these men who are trying to live some semblance of a life knowing that with every mission comes the severely high risk of not coming back. There is a camaraderie, even when they are tense with each other, that comes through when it counts the most.
The cinematography and special flying effects are stunning to watch and add richness, and intensity, to the story that is being told. We live in such a modern warfare and technological age that it can be incomprehensible what these pilots, crews and ground crews went through with the crudest of weapons to win the war again a cruel enemy.
Costuming and choice of where shooting the series brought me deep into each episode as I found myself feeling tensed up and a lot of the time with my jaw dropped and strong inhales of ‘whoa!’. I would expect nothing less from Spielberg, Hanks and Goetzman as they have proven with their other collaborations. They are truly interested in the authenticity, depth and intensity of the stories they put on screen and the result is another series that will keep audiences captivated.
This is a very vague review of this series and that is because I honestly believe that the entire series is one worth the time to experience on one’s own. So, knowing that, Apple TV+ brings nine episodes of MASTERS OF THE AIR and you can believe when I say that every single one of these episodes is iconic, historic and stunning!
In the end – join them in the air!