Best of the Small Screen, Limited Run Series No. 1
Over the next 21 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.
Today the Limited Run Series section concludes with an absolute gem from HBO.
Band of Brothers (2001)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 1/10
Starring: Damien Lewis, Ron Livingston, Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Cudlitz, Shane Taylor, Scott Grimes, Neal McDonough, and Matthew Settle
Creator: Stephen Ambrose, Steven Spielberg, and Tom Hanks
Favorite Season/Episode: 1.05 "Crossroads," 1.07 "The Breaking Point," 1.09 "Why We Fight"
About: If you're talking about mini-series, limited run series, or anthology series, the gold standard is "Band of Brothers." Released in 2001, and based on Ambrose' non-fiction book, it tracked the exploits of Easy Company, a crucial part of the 501st Airborne Division, from their training through the end of World War II. The 10 episodes captured the whole of their involvement in World War II, helping you get to know the men and their contributions. The episodes included real-life interviews from the survivors, including learning who was who at the end of the 10 episode run. Coming from producers Spielberg and Hanks, this was an inspired piece. It debuted three years after "Saving Private Ryan," and is a big part of Spielberg's WWII collection. The acting and production is incredible, as is the storytelling. I've probably seen the whole thing through a dozen times, and I still get choked up. It's hard to pick a favorite, but the three I listed stand out. "Crossroads," directed by Hanks, is focused on Richard Winters (Lewis), my favorite character in the series. It's a powerful and introspective episode that has always stood out. "The Breaking Point" is the culmination of two long episodes in the Ardennes Forrest as part of the Battle of the Bulge and features an interesting turning point for Easy Company. Finally, "Why We Fight" comes near the end of the war and features the members of Easy Company coming across a concentration camp. It is perhaps the most emotional of the series, and could be argued is the best. If you haven't seen "Band of Brothers" it is well worth your time to find it.