In 1998 we attended the war show from ‘Saving Private Ryan’, perhaps one of the most acclaimed films of the genre of recent times. Three years later the duo formed by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks signed what is one of the best series in history: ‘Blood Brothers’ (‘Band of Brothers’), which for nine weeks kept the HBO audience captive with the history of the Easy Company.
We could say that ‘Blood brothers’ It came at a very difficult, dangerous but paradoxically opportune moment. Its triumphant premiere on the eve of 9/11 (10 million viewers on September 9) was marred by the tragedy of the Twin Towers. Reason for which the chain of cable decided to stop all publicity on the series.
But, as the premiere of ’24’ on FOX would demonstrate a few months later, at that moment the country needed a good dose of patriotic sentiment. If the shadow of the Towers is elongated, This portrait of brotherhood in dark times, of literal warfare, and of the heroic deeds of a group of soldiers, had a profound effect on the population, giving birth in dark times.
Dose of crude realism
It also helped that as producers (their traces are unmistakable) Hanks and Spielberg decide to have the veterans of the Easy Company to introduce the different episodes of the fiction, recounting in the first person the difficulties, sufferings and joys in the day-to-day life of the war. From his period in the training barracks to the liberation of extermination camps.
This trick, so to speak, gave a greater dose of realism so that, if we had not already done so, connect completely with the different members of the battalion in a series that follows the main lines of the eponymous book by Stephen E. Ambrose, published in 1992 and somewhat lengthy in military strategies.
On the screens we had a large cast of faces at that time semi-unknown in which the villainous David Schwimmer as Sobel was the most famous: Damian Lewis took on the role of the leader as Dick Winters, leading, worth the redundancy, a cast that made up Ron Livingston, Donnie Wahlberg, Kirk Acevedo, Eion Bailey, Michael Cudlitz and many, many more.
The protagonist is war
Which is difficult to see at the beginning. Many faces, all in uniform and it must be recognized that it takes a little while to get to the top. However, Hanks and Erik Hendersen manage to give a touch here and there so that we do not focus so much on a who’s who (their presentations are subtle but effective) and more on the formation of this group of blood brothers and the certainty that here, the protagonist, is war.
Far from what it might seem, with that inspiring introduction and epic touch, in each long hour of episode there was no place for romance. The war is raw. The Normandy landings, those battles, those transports, they were loud and ultimately it’s all shit where you just have each other.
The series is overwhelming. In every sense. Knowing very well to play with his budget (125 million dollars, which was the highest in television at the time) to throw a splendid production design, nailing the battles (but without abusing them) with a firm direction (Phil Alden Robinson, David Nutter …) that casts ambition in its staging.
An ambitious masterpiece
In fact, I would dare to say that, even today, nothing like it has yet been done. Or at least that stand out at both these levels of breadth and cinematic ambition. If at the beginning of the two thousand there was a certain break in the series with the stiff codes of television language, in ‘Blood Brothers’ it went much further embracing the war cinema.
We can take a look at how the medium has evolved over the years, with absolutely excellent productions. But ‘Blood Brothers’ is still a unrepeatable and unequaled phenomenon two decades later. And that candidates have not been lacking from the same people. There is ‘The Pacific’, which did not have the same recognition, perhaps for wanting to concentrate the focus on a couple of characters.
In these times of series consumption, where we have a huge amount of fiction within our reach (more than five hundred a year in the United States alone), it is curious to start watching ‘Blood Brothers’ again and enjoy it like the first day.
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the best series in the history of television is still an unrepeatable masterpiece