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Plot Summary: 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.
Stars: Scott Grimes, Matthew Leitch, Damian Lewis
Serious Jest: (Watch It Live) As a former Marine who deployed to Iraq, this ten-episode mini-series is a must for my personal collection. In fact, I think it’s safe to say all military personnel should have it in their collections. Even if you have little to no interest in military affairs, however, you should take the time at some point in your life to watch this series all the way through.
Beautifully scripted, masterfully acted, and filmed amongst breathtaking (in many different ways) cinematography, this production, which significantly contributed to HBO‘s fast rise as the gold standard in series quality, is an amazing portrayal of the sacrifices made by troops and of the horrors of war. A healthy dose of clips from this series was played by my instructors during training ops to drive home points about all kinds of important subjects germane to war.
A few random thoughts I had while watching the project:
Everyone did such a great job acting, and the character development was top-notch. Even amongst this wonderful cast, Damian Lewis stood out, followed closely by Neal McDonough.
It was pretty awesome to see David Schwimmer play such a different role.
There are countless useful lessons to be learned from this series, especially by those who hope to lead troops someday.
Why is there so much hip firing throughout the series? Isn’t it a bit unrealistic to make some of these shots without looking down your sights?
I watched one of the most squared-away officers in the 101st return a salute sitting on his ass. This would not happen in the Marines. Is it different in the Army?
I understand very well the transition that one may go through in terms of how he/she thinks of the enemy during war. When you first get out there, you dehumanize them in your head in order to justify some of the things that you may have to do. After a while, however, there comes a point when you realize that your enemies are human beings, much like you, fighting out of a sense of duty, and just trying to make it out of this thing alive like you are. At least, I went through a transition like that, and this series did a good job of illustrating such a transition. Still, despite the respect that our soldiers may have gained for the Germans as a formidable fighting force made up of dedicated human soldiers, they were still Nazis. They were supporting some pretty foul principles. I’m not saying that our troops were wrong for regarding Nazi troops with the respect that they did during the conflict, but I wonder if my attitude toward Nazi soldiers would have softened even after we defeated them.
It would be great to have a beer with one of the living members of the 101st who fought in WWII.
After you finish watching this production, watch The Pacific. It’s even better! Then again, I’m biased. :)