Why 'The Pacific' Is Legions Better Than 'Band Of Brothers'

Mandatory Fun

Band Of Brothers is an iconic series. It has great action, compelling story arcs, and, most importantly, all-American characters fighting a morally justified war. Yes, bad things happen, and it isn't all sunshine, but the prevailing sentiment of the show can perhaps best be described as "inspired."As in: It often inspires people to contact their nearest U.S. Army recruiter.


The Pacific, on the other hand, has no such effect. Quite the opposite, really. Which is why it's a more important and all around better series. Just hear me out.

While Band Of Brothers tends to leave viewers awash in a glowing aura of American exceptionalism, its spiritual sequel evokes more complicated feelings. The war depicted in The Pacific is downright hellish, replete with deep emotional trauma and random acts of brutality, sometimes carried out by the protagonists themselves.

In Band of Brothers, the best mankind has to offer is on display. In The Pacific, the worst takes center stage. Like the scene of Pfc. Shelton (Rami Malek) tossing rocks into a half-destroyed human skull, for example. Audiences might find that a bit less uplifting than, say, French soldiers executing German prisoners.

Rami Malek was amazing as 'Snafu'HBO

Major differences in how the war was fought and experienced by American troops in the two theaters may have a lot to do with it.

Unlike in Europe, the traditional laws of armed conflict were very rarely adhered to in the Pacific. That isn’t to say that atrocities weren't committed by both Axis and Allied troops on the battlefields of Europe, it's just that in the Pacific theater, war crimes seemed the norm  at least according to The Pacific, which reminds us of war's dehumanizing effects early and often.

When a Japanese soldier is toyed with by machine gun fire after a failed assault on Marine positions and then unceremoniously executed, the point gets nailed home that this isn’t going to be a trip to Disneyland. The show’s very soul is dark, and the crawl towards greater meaning is much slower than in Band of Brothers. That is probably why it had a significantly smaller audience share during its premiere run on HBO compared to the original Tom Hanks-led juggernaut.

Ultimately, The Pacific achieves a momentum that its more popular companion piece never achieves, even during the much-beloved Bastogne episode. Despite The Pacific's accomplishments, it appears that this 250 million dollar production became a footnote in military history. Just like some of the island battles it depicts.

Jungle warfare never looked and sounded so good.HBO

SEE ALSO: This 70s Marine Recruiting Video Wants To Take The Hippie Out Of You

(DoD photo)

President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."

Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.

Read More Show Less
An F-16 Fight Falcon is parked outside the U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel at Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the winter of 2015. (U.S. Air Force/Mike Kaplan)

An Air Force Academy sergeant will face an evidence hearing Friday on a string of charges including 10 counts of assault.

Staff Sgt. Mariano Jackson, assigned to the academy's 10th Surgical Operations Squadron, is accused of a series of assaults between 2016 and 2019, most of which involve a victim described as his "intimate partner."

Read More Show Less
(Wikimedia Commons/Hossein Velayati)

DUBAI (Reuters) - The commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps said on Tuesday that Iran's ballistic missiles were capable of hitting "carriers in the sea" with great precision.

Read More Show Less
An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the Guantanamo prison against critics who want it closed by saying U.S. taxpayers have a big financial stake in it and no other facility could replace it at a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. (Reuters/Jason Reed JIR/CN)

The Pentagon is sending nearly 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as part of an escalating crisis with Iran that defense officials are struggling to explain.

While the U.S. government has publicly blamed Iran for recent attacks on merchant vessels in the Gulf of Oman, not a single U.S. official has provided a shred of proof linking Iran to the explosive devices found on the merchant ships.

At an off-camera briefing on Monday, Navy officials acknowledged that nothing in imagery released by the Pentagon shows Iranian Revolutionary Guards planting limpet mines on ships in the Gulf of Oman.

Read More Show Less
(Rafael/Task & Purpose photo illustration)

Scary, Sport, Baby, and Ginger are back and ready to bomb unsuspecting targets back to the Stone Age.

Read More Show Less