Apple TV’s new limited series Masters of The Air has brought actors Austin Butler as Major Gale, Callum Turner as Major John, and Barry Keoghan as Lt. Curtis together, creating a show based on the U.S. Air Force during World War II. The first episode premiered on January 26 of this year (2024).
In “Part One” of this show, it opens with jazz music playing in the background. There’s a group of military folks in a bar. John “Bucky” Egan is dancing with a woman. Gale “Buck” Cleven is sitting with a woman, Marge (Isabel May), who seems to be his lover. It’s announced that the celebration is for John, who just got promoted to Air Executive.
Marge tells their friend the story of how their nicknames came to be. Bucky’s nickname was always that from when he was just a kid, while Gale got his nickname on the first day of basic training. He met John, who told him he reminded him of someone who had the name, Buck, so he gave him that as his nickname. John and Gale are going their separate ways for a few weeks.
The second scene transitions to John flying an airplane, going very fast. There are other planes with them, while there are also enemies shooting toward them. One of his partners gets shot by a bullet, so they have to fly down to their landing base.
After the opening credits, there’s a narration in the background. Bucky was the 100th Air Executive, which meant that his bomb group was sent to England. The year currently is 1943. They joined with the U.S. Army to battle against Nazi, Germany. Gale is part of that bomb group. He’s flying his plane with two other members riding with him. There are at least four other planes behind them. As Gale starts to get the plane to land, the wind picks up, making it harder to straighten out and have a safe landing. After some struggle, they finally make it to the ground safely.
Gale meets Major Crosby (Anthony Boyle) and his best friend Joe “Bubbles” Payne, who are both navigators. Crosby was the one narrating the story at the moment. Gale goes to the bar, giving the bartender a replacement gift from John. The bartender tells John the story of what happened.
The scene transitions to John drinking and singing. He had a bet, in which one of his crew members threw a dart above his head and hit an apple. After that, the time changed to June 8, 1943. John is riding a bike at night, singing a song while it is raining. Crosby says that on that day, he was ordered to get Captain Brady (Ben Radcliffe) and the crew from Greenland to their base at Thorpe Abbotts in England. Crosby gives his crew the wrong location, which makes them cross to France, with enemies already shooting their way, so as fast as they can, they turn back around.
There are women and children all across the base as John drives making his entrance, meeting with Gale and the rest of the crew. Brady, Crosby, and their crew start to prepare for their landing. The wheels are stuck, not coming down. So, they have to prepare for a rough landing, going to the back of the plane for some support, while the two stay up front. They rush out of the plane before it sets on fire, but luckily it doesn’t.
It’s now been a week since they landed in Thorpe Abbotts. Gale and the crew all get woken up for their first mission, which was a major day for all of them. Gale sits down at a table, during their breakfast. He speaks with Curtis, who he’ll be flying with for the day. Gale and Major Vale (James Frecheville) will be the two lead pilots.
Veal and his crew had to turn around and fly back to base because they were having some flight difficulties. The Germans noticed they had made it to their hideout, so that’s when the combat began. After making it back to base, three of the planes didn’t make it during the fight. John takes Gale to interrogation. Tension is high between the two friends, along with everyone else. Gale now knew how serious being up in the air was and it was scary.
This was overall a good introduction to the series. It shows that there’s a lot of brotherhood within the Air Force and that everyone comes together to protect their country and protect Britain. This show is not only action-packed but there’s a buildup of drama as well. The acting is brilliant and it’s exciting to see what happens next for them.