Since you’ll probably hit the “skip” button when the real show finally arrives, here’s a chance to dig into the opening title sequence of the upcoming World War II miniseries Masters of the Air, which debuts January 26 on Apple TV+.
The title sequence was released Wednesday afternoon, and — like previous trailers and teasers — it’s full of roaring B-17s, kinetic World War II air combat and shots of pensive and terrified soldiers, all in the tradition of its on-screen siblings, Band of Brothers and The Pacific. There’s also, as in those shows, a slow-burn orchestra theme as the credits roll.
In short, it’s a title sequence exactly on-formula with those earlier legendary World War II series from the same creative team, which includes Steve Speilberg and Tom Hanks.
The release of the Masters of the Air credits is the latest in a line of previews Apple TV+ has put out on the show, and, like in previous trailers, there are spoilers. One major reveal points toward the mostly-forgotten fates of over 35,000 airmen who were shot down but survived to be captured in Germany. Most went to German Stalag Lufts, prison camps for aircrews. There are several hints in the credits — a train guarded by a German soldier, an air raid over a fenced perimeter — that at least some of the show will be spent with flyers who became POWs.
But most of the sequence is what you’d expect — some glances at the young crews and then unceasing barrages of shrapnel and enemy bullets, a true-to-life illustration of the violence and death that aircrews faced over Germany. Over 26,000 airmen were killed in the 8th Air Force’s bombing missions.
“Masters” is based on a book of the same name by historian and professor Donald L. Miller, which followed the 100th Bomb Group — known as the “Bloody Hundredth” — within the Eighth Air Force. Miller’s book relied on interviews with about 250 veterans of the Eighth Air Force, along with archives and memoirs, similiar to “Band of Brothers” by Stephen E. Ambrose and the four books on which The Pacific is based.
Unlike the Band of Brothers and the Pacific, Masters of Air will air on Apple TV+ rather than HBO and run for nine episodes instead of 10. Previous announcements about the show included word that the production will use the same on-set virtual production system used by Disney+’s The Mandalorian to simulate action inside the the cockpits during bombing runs and dogfights.
The cast includes Austin Butler (Elvis, Dune Part 2), Barry Keoghan (The Green Knight, The Banshees of Inisherin) and Ncuti Gatwa (Doctor Who) among the leads.
Masters of the Air will premiere on Apple TV+ on January 26, 2024 with the first two episodes, followed by one new episode every Friday through March 15, 2024.
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