Band of Brothers (2001) – Episodes 1 & 2

In my personal opinion, HBO has some great programming, so we’ve subscribed to HBO on and off for years. we’ve never kept it long-term, due to family cost-cutting. I always like to have more, but we don’t watch too many movies, and when we do, we use Netflix. Sorry, HBO. The problem is that we then miss out on HBO’s great television series. In the intervening years, I believe I’m mostly caught up on The Sopranos, but I’ve missed major portions of Entourage and Rome, and missed the entirety of Band of Brothers and The Pacific. These have all been added to our Netflix queue, so rest assured, I’m taking steps to remediate!

First step was start watching Band of Brothers. I watched the first two episodes of Band of Brothers on Blu-ray. The video quality is very good. Although the picture is washed out in that wartime sepia color, the detail is certainly there. The audio quality is excellent, featuring DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround, and an extremely active surround sound atmosphere. When the bullets are coming in from the left during an intense firefight during the Normandy invasion, or when a tank drives by on the right and it shakes the the room. Excellent, excellent audio soundstage.

Band of Brothers (2001)

Band of Brothers (2001)

The story of Easy Company of the US Army 101st Airborne division and their mission in WWII Europe from Operation Overlord through V-J Day. The cast is large, and there are some interesting favorites in terms of character actors — Ron Livingston, Michael Cudlitz, Kirk Acevedo, David Schwimmer, Simon Pegg, Donnie Wahlberg (yes, NKOTB), Neal McDonough, Michael Fassbender, to name a few. Since there is a large cast, the story basically follows Lt. Dick Winters (Damien Lewis) as the commander of Easy Company.

The first two episodes are “Currahee” and “Day of Days.” The first episode takes place initially in the few days before the Normandy invasion of June 1944, but features flashbacks to basic training back in the States. The drama arises from the reign of terror of sadistic Herbet Sobel (David Schwimmer) who pushes them to excel, but also punishes them with capricious punishment. The episode ends with Easy Company loading up and taking off for the invasion.

In “Day of Days,” the story takes Easy Company into their less-than-ideal drop into the northwest French countryside, scattered and far from the expected drop zone. In the chaos, Easy Company’s paratroopers attempt to regroup and take out a German artillery bunker that are firing on the Normandy beaches. I found the acting and storyline to be good. While I like the large cast, the downside is that it’s a little difficult for me to tell the difference between the soldiers in the heat of battle.

There are a total of 10 episodes in this mini-series, so I’m 20% into this. Next up? “Carentan” and “Replacements.”

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