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Movies & TV

26th Jan 2024

One of the most anticipated shows in years has finally been released

Stephen Porzio

masters of the air

Over a decade in the making, its first episode has been made free to watch.

One of the most-anticipated series in years, Masters of the Air, has finally been released on Apple TV+.

First announced as being made by HBO all the way back in 2013, in the over 10 years since, the war drama series has switched networks and suffered numerous Covid-related delays.

On Friday (26 January), however, the show’s first two episodes dropped on Apple TV+ with the rest of the nine-episode season to be released weekly.

So, why should you be excited to check out the programme?

It is a stand-alone follow-up to Band of Brothers and The Pacific

Masters of the Air is produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, who were also involved with the acclaimed World War II dramas Band of Brothers and The Pacific.

And their new show can be considered a stand-alone follow-up or companion piece to those previous series.

Whereas Band of Brothers was land-set and The Pacific was sea-set, Masters of the Air is about the sky as it follows the actions of the 100th Bomb Group of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.

This is as they “conduct perilous bombing raids over Nazi Germany and grapple with the frigid conditions, lack of oxygen and sheer terror of combat conducted at 25,000 feet in the air.”

“Portraying the psychological and emotional price paid by these young men as they helped destroy the horror of Hitler’s Third Reich, is at the heart of Masters of the Air,” the plot synopsis from Apple TV+ reads.

“Some were shot down and captured; some were wounded or killed. And some were lucky enough to make it home. Regardless of individual fate, a toll was exacted on them all.”


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Masters of the Air has a strong Irish connection

Irish star Barry Keoghan is widely-considered one of the most exciting young actors in the world, thanks to his recent roles in The Banshees of Inisherin and Saltburn – the former earning him an Oscar nomination.

His ascent looks set to continue as he is part of the main cast of Masters of the Air playing Lt. Curtis Biddick, a flyboy with the 100th Bomb Group, who are also known as the “bloody hundredth”.

This is because of the devastating losses they suffered.

Also, one of the main cast members on the series is Northern Irish actor Anthony Boyle (Tetris), while Irish actor Fionn O’Shea (Normal People) has a supporting role in the show.

O’Shea previously spoke to JOE about working on Masters of the Air – you can read his comments here.

Masters of the Air

Masters of the Air’s other major talent both on-screen and off

Oscar-nominated actor Austin Butler (Elvis) is the lead of the series, alongside rising star Callum Turner (The Boys in the Boat).

Also part of the cast is Ncuti Gatwa, the current incarnation of the titular Doctor on Doctor Who.

On top of Hanks and Spielberg producing, the show is co-written by Graham Yost (Speed, The Americans, Justified), with episodes directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (No Time to Die), Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Captain Marvel), Tim Van Patten (Game of Thrones) and Dee Rees (Mudbound).

It has already been receiving very positive reviews

At the time of writing, the show holds an 83% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rating it 5/5, Empire Magazine said in its review: “This is another blockbuster TV smash: a dazzlingly vital history lesson that summons the best tension, drama and emotion of Band Of Brothers.”

Also handing it a perfect score was The Guardian who raved: “With a sublime, star-studded cast and the backing of Hollywood royalty, this extravagant, thrilling series is finally here – and it’s worth the wait.”

In another glowing review, Inverse stated: “Its sprawling sets, picturesque photography of warm sunsets and frigid snowfall, a cast of would-be matinee idols, and tasteful grasp of war’s abject ugliness all collectively set a new bar for period dramas in the streaming age.”

Masters of the Air

Apple TV+ has made the first episode available to watch for free

The first two episodes of Masters of the Air are available to stream now for those with an Apple TV+ subscription.

However, the streamer has also made its first episode available to watch for free to those even without one.

All you have to do is sign up for an Apple ID. No payment is required.

Apple TV+ is also offering a seven-day free trial to those who sign up for a streaming subscription.

Images via Apple TV+

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