Masters of the Air

Unexceptional and fizzles out


3/27/20243 min read

From the same producers who brought you the widely acclaimed Band of Brothers and The Pacific, the announcement of Masters of the Air came with high expectations along with excited fans "me included". Unfortunately, there were a few glaring issues that cropped up during the trailer, and unlike the other two shows, the inception of Masters of the Air came with a structural problem.

In Band of Brothers, we have a clear narrative to follow. Easy company, follow a simple to grasp trajectory. Starting with training, followed by jumping into France, later liberating Holland then into Germany, ending in the Berchtesgaden with the capture of the of the eagles nest. It gave you ample time to get acclimated with it's characters, to drawn them out and develop them , so when things happen, you actually feel something. It was also punctuated with the interwoven testimonials and accounts from some of the actual easy company soldiers, in some cases breaking down and brining an irreplaceable authenticity that could never have been replicated by a show made in 2024.

Another important difference to note is, unlike with the aforementioned shows, a story told from the perspective of WW2 bomber crews is quite hard to arrange in a coherent format. Having no clear progression, instead we get random and changing objectives that feel almost meaningless even when they weren't. They start to get repetitive and almost blend together. With the contrasting fatality percentages bombers faced compared to an infantry unit, we get left with another SERIOUS problem. The turbulent and fluctuational nature of personnel turnovers mean we meet A LOT of tertiary characters that mostly exist for just a moment before they explode or nose dive a few scenes later. I personally think that, (relatively instant death) isn't very conducive when it comes to character growth. But I'm young.

When you think, this show had the same potential to be on par with The Pacific.. it just hurts. You feel misled, left with the uneasy knowledge that you've just been robbed. In this case, of your time. This show has predictable outcomes and unsatisfying climaxes that either feel unearned or underwhelming. The show jumps around and over key moments and almost rushes over the payoffs; glossing over the parts they needed to focus on. They also overlook the important aspect of (build up). There's almost no weight or magnitude loaded onto anything, so when something happens you rarely care.

Don't bother watching Masters of the Air simply for any "historical accuracy" based reasons either, because "and this only becomes truly abhorrent closer to the end of the series", we are faced with some .. "historical inaccuracies"; Like when they're told that the strategy would now swap from bombing runs to.. using the B-17 bombers "as bait" to draw the Luftwaffe into combat with the fighter pilots..

I will say, Masters of the Air isn't complete trash. It just leaves a lot to be desired. I think if they had focussed on a few key characters, instead of trying to cover the entire American air campaign of the war, we would have had a far more memorable story, even without the testimonials of the real pilots and crew. In my opinion, this show should have either been done right or not at all. If not for its predecessors, I doubt Masters of the Air would have even been on my radar; unable to stand on it's own merits, this show is only slightly vindicated by it's aerial action scenes. Definitely the Godfather lll of its trilogy; not completely horrible, but when stood along side its precursors, it sticks out like the bearded middle-eastern man on my plane.