'Band of Brothers' is the finest TV series I have ever seen. A bold statement maybe, but one that stands up to scrutiny in my opinion. Yes, 'The Sopranos' is a brilliant drama and '24' is a top-class thriller, but 'B.O.B' just has that epic feel, that you are watching something that might never be repeated or certainly bettered. The story of the men of Easy Company of the 101st Airborne is one that deserves telling; these heavily-trained young soldiers suffered on the front line of the majority of the crucial battles during the American involvement in World War 2. They forged an unusually tight bond with each other and were led by some of the finest soldiers of the war. It could also be justifiably said that they, as a company, sacrificed more than the usual.
The ten-part series consists of hour-long forays in to the viewpoint of different soldier's experiences, from a major to a medic. The action is superbly visceral and realistic, using the same shaky, hand-held camera techniques seen in 'Saving Private Ryan,' to which B.O.B is a close relative, sharing the Spielberg/Hanks connection as well as the subject matter. Action aside however, it is the depth of characterisation that sets this series apart. Granted, the running time allows for this, but it is beautifully done nonetheless. We gain a real insight into many of the men's characters, from the joker George Luz to the bitter Sobel, the cynic Nixon to the dignified Winters. Indeed, these two characters are so finely crafted it is easy to forget that these actors are not in fact the real men. British star Damian Lewis is outstanding as Major Richard Winters, the glue that holds 'Easy' together. His portrayal of a man worshipped by his men due to his courage, discipline, loyalty and leadership skills is nothing short of perfection; real-life veterans suggest that Lewis was a close to capturing the spirit of Winters as is humanly possible. Ron Livingston, playing the smaller but crucial role of Winters' best friend Lewis Nixon, is also excellent, adding a touch of comedy through the hard-drinking, dry cynic Nixon. The acting is uniformly excellent, a mixture of British and American actors doing themselves proud.
For me, the series highlights include the Bastogne sequence, the capture of Foy, and the jubiliant scenes following the taking of Hitler's 'Eagle's Nest.' At no point is the momentum lost, with fierce battle scenes piercing the poignant character moments like loud machine-gun fire.
If you are like me, you will not want it to end. Watching it all in a short period of time on DVD is certainly the way to watch this, as the immediacy adds to the effect.
Overall, a scintillating piece of television, almost perfect. If you don't like war, its maybe not for you, but equally B.O.B should not be dismissed just as a 'war' series. There is far too much depth and character for that...
If the men of Easy Company were in a class of their own, then this series is fittingly superior in its own field and is a worthy testament to them.