If you have seen Saving Private Ryan and liked it, then you simply must see this series.
Also directed by Steven Spielberg, with Tom Hanks, both from the SPR movie, this all takes place during World War 2. It closely follows ‘Easy Company’, a group of American Soldiers, from their training in the US, to parachuting into France on D-Day, and then through the next few years.
It focuses closely on the individual soldiers, their experiences and friendships, as they fight their battles across Europe. Easy Company was sent into the front and the thick of the fighting, being an exceptionally tough ‘band of brothers’. They suffered many losses over the years, and by being shown on such a personal level, you get a real understanding of what it may have been like to be in the middle of the fight.
Each episode is prefaced by a short intro of the surviving members of the soldiers themselves, now well into their 70's, that all the characters are based on, and this sets the scene for each of the episodes. Knowing this is all based on fact makes it only the more shocking and lends a greater impact.
Like SPR, this isn't always ‘fun’ entertainment. The battle scenes are intense – think the beach landings at Normandy in SPR – so this is not for the faint-hearted. However, this is an important series in that it portrays a pivotal time in the war, and as a historical record it ought to be shown again and again to remind people that war is not glamorous.
I cannot recommend this highly enough – the extras disc has some fantastic behind-the-scenes footage as well of how everything was filmed, longer interviews with the surviving soldiers, and short doco's by one of the actors that were filmed as they shot the episodes themselves.