Down at HBO, World War II is in the cards. OK, figuratively. But the Big Bertha of premium cable has taken to the mic to confirm details of another release which has the makings of a new box-set staple and a veritable howitzer to the already-frayed morale of rival networks.
The cat had evacuated the bag some months previously, when a Parisian press conference elucidated plans for a follow-up to the juggernaut World War II projects “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific.” Now, The Hollywood Reporter informs us that the producing A-Team of Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are regrouping for an adaptation of Donald L. Miller’s “Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany.”
An account of the famous “bomber boys” of the Eighth Air Force, HBO’s source material is likely to prove consistent with the parallel examinations of the ideological perversity of war, and of the fellowship it inspires, which were so prized by audiences in “Band of Brothers.”
The eponymous bomber command was conceived in the wake of Pearl Harbor; intended as a swift airborne checkmate to the Germans, it was assigned to blast its way to Allied victory, “Call of Duty“-style. The exploits of the Force’s 200,000 airmen were the stuff of Spielberg gold, with one notable Lieutenant completing a mission in an aircraft cripplingly ablaze, remaining in the cockpit until every one of his passengers had bailed.
HBO is sticking to a fail-safe blueprint – at around $150m to $200m a pop, these mini-series are enough to give a financial strategist a coronary – but with material so rich in extraordinary accounts of humanity, one could take a punt that the as-yet-untitled production may relieve the television establishment of as much silverware as its predecessors. And lest we forget, this isn’t TV, it’s HBO.