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Five TV shows to watch after Masters of the Air

More war stories worth binging

Curtis Biddick - Barry Keoghan
Image credit: Apple TV+

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If you've been enjoying Masters of the Air as much as us on Apple TV+ each week, you might be looking to sit through more WW2 TV series. These are our personal picks.

Masters of the Air has become a captivating watch (nearly as much as the two previous WW2 series from executive producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks) thanks to its star-studded cast, top-tier VFX, thrilling yet human narrative, and convincing veteran talent behind the cameras. It's the kind of series we don't get very often, and one that seems to be flying under many people's radars (pun intended)... but it's also a show that has follows in the footsteps of some other amazing dramas from the Second World War. Here are our recommendations.

Band of Brothers (2001)

Band of Brothers (HBO)
Image credit: HBO

We wouldn't be watching Masters of the Air without Band of Brothers. After the success of Saving Private Ryan on the big screen, this is the limited series that started it all when it comes to Spielberg and Hanks' prestige TV shows dealing with the Second World War's different theaters of war.

While the story starts during Easy Company's paratrooper training, it gradually follows the soldiers' participation in the Western Front of World War II until the war with Germany ends. Each episode begins with excerpts from interviews with some of the survivors, giving it a documentary-like touch. As the series reaches its conclusion, they are identified by name.

The Pacific (2010)

The Pacific (HBO)
Image credit: HBO

After Band of Brothers' success, HBO viewers had to wait nearly a decade for a follow-up of sorts, but it was well worth the wait. The second in the 'trilogy' of WW2 miniseries from Spielberg and Hanks as exec. producers explores the US Marine Corps' many actions in the Pacific Theater of Operations within the wider Pacific War, which was especially bloody.

While a bit more scattered when it comes to the narration of events, The Pacific remains one of the finest HBO shows of all time. The production value was really high, and the entire thing was exquisitely crafted. More importantly, the surprisingly intimate human drama still hit as hard as the shocking violence on display.

Catch-22 (2019)

Catch-22
Image credit: Hulu

You maybe haven't heard of it until now, but Catch-22, Joseph Heller's 1961 satirical war novel, was adapted into a pretty solid TV series for Hulu back in 2019. John Yossarian (Christopher Abbott) is a bombardier in the United States Air Force that wants nothing to do with WW2. Thinking the war would end before his training finished, he must now bomb the enemy from his B-25.

It's a brutal but also darkly humorous watch that feels perfect to wash off Masters of the Air's drier, more dramatic taste once you're done with it. On top of that, its cast is pretty great besides Abbott: Kyle Chandler, Lewis Pullman, Hugh Laurie, and George Clooney, among others, round it up.

Das Boot (2018)

Das Boot (TV series)
Image credit: Sky One

It's not all about American-made series, as the German TV show Das Boot, which picks up in late 1942, nine months after the events of the famous 1981 movie by Wolfgang Petersen, focused on the WW2 events taking place on various U-boats and the German perspective at sea and on land.

While the reviews for season 1 in Germany were mixed, it was largely well-received internationally, with critics praising its atmospheric pressure and the weight of its cinematic predecessor as well as the compelling ensemble. The only 'but' is that seasons past the first one are a bit hard to access in the US, but there are options to get around to watching the whole thing (no more seasons past 4 have been ordered).

World on Fire (2019)

World on Fire
Image credit: BBC One

World on Fire is a British war drama TV series that was cancelled in early 2024, but its two seasons are worth your time. It follows the intertwined lives of ordinary civilians across Europe and how they are caught up in the chaos of WW2. The angle alone makes it stick out, and it's got more than enough style to make up for some of its lack of remarkable substance.

Each season feels quite distinct too, with the first series covering from March 1939 to July 1940, and detailing major events such as the Defense of the Polish Post Office in Danzig, the Battle of the River Plate, the Dunkirk evacuation, and the Battle of Britain. The second series covers from October 1940 to May 1941 and features the beginning of The Blitz in Manchester and the often overlooked North African campaign while also returning to occupied France and Nazi Germany, with the resistance movement and Lebensborn program at the center of the narrative.


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Fran Ruiz

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