Apple is continuing to flesh out the lineup of programming that’s teed up for its forthcoming streaming video service, Apple TV+, which is set to launch on November 1. And on Friday, the company announced one of the most significant additions yet to the pile of content — it’s the first TV series Apple is actually making in-house and will likewise fully own via a new internal Apple content studio.
Interestingly, the series is actually a sequel to HBO’S Band of Brothers, a WWII miniseries that’s arguably one of the finest shows HBO has ever produced. The new nine-episode series is called Masters of the Air, and the creative team behind it includes Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks who intend this to be the third installment in their WWII saga that began with Band of Brothers.
Deadline is reporting the series will cost north of $200 million, making it yet another production in Apple’s stable with a lavish budget as the company tries to stick to a highly curated collection of titles that get heavily invested in. Band of Brothers, which tells the true-life story of the 101st Airborne Division’s famed Easy Company, came at the start of HBO’s run of one critical success after another — and, in fact, this sequel was originally going to land at HBO, too. HBO’s limited series The Pacific was the second installment in what was to be a trio of stories, with this new series planned as the third until HBO, per Deadline, let the show get away — at which point Apple scooped it up.
The fact that the team behind the new series includes Hanks and Spielberg will definitely make this one to watch, with the previous installments in this trilogy offering richly drawn character studies set within a vividly portrayed battlefield landscape that put viewers directly at the heart of WWII.
It’s not clear at this point when Masters of the Air — based on Donald L. Miller’s book, Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought The Air War Against Nazi Germany — will end up airing on Apple TV+. Nevertheless, the fact that Apple was able to secure a production like this, along with the fact that its own in-house studio will be behind it, is one more indication that the company very much wants to be seen as a viable alternative to Netflix and other major streamers as the Streaming Wars continue heating up through the end of this year and beyond.