Masters of the Air, created by John Orloff, is one of those series that relies not only on the filmmaking but also on the theme around which it revolves. World War II movies are a genre in themselves, and there have been miniseries like Band of Brothers that are etched in people’s memories as one of the greatest shows ever made. Masters of the Air thus has some great help and some great competition as well, but overall, the series is expected to be an epic narrative about the 100th Bomber Squads, who put their lives on the line to carry out the mission to weaken Nazi Germany during World War 2. There are some heavy hitters in the series, and we expect some outstanding performances out of them all.
Austin Butler As Maj. Gale ‘buck’ Cleven
Austin Butler is one of those actors who just wowed us with performances in films like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Elvis. He features in Masters of the Air as Major Gale Cleven. Now you may be wondering where the ‘Buck’ in his name came from, and that is all thanks to his friend John Egan, who gave him that nickname. Buck is a charismatic and grounded man. He knows how to have fun, but he isn’t reckless. The war effort required more air force officials to join the already stationed soldiers in England, and Gale Cleven got his chance to fight for his country. He was raging to go but didn’t understand the gravity of the missions or what the magnitude of the counterattack was going to be. But as the leader of the 389th Bomber Squad, he couldn’t have shown that to the others. There was his girlfriend waiting for him back home, and he truly cared about her. There was Egan waiting for him in England, and together they had to ensure that the missions were a success with minimum casualties. Cleven soon began to realize that it was a near-impossible task.
Callum Turner As Maj. John ‘Bucky’ Egan
Callum Turner is a powerful performer, and he gets a great role this time around. It seems he was itching to get a role like this one, and he does quite a fantastic job with it. Major John ‘Bucky’ Egan is a fascinating character, and the series becomes quite dynamic whenever he is on the screen. Channeling Hemmingway from “Midnight in Paris,” Turner portrays Egan as an adrenaline junkie who gets wild after he gets drunk. There is no restraint, but once he is sober, there is no man who is more focused than Bucky. He treats his soldiers with the utmost respect, and he doesn’t come across as a disciplinarian. The trust he has in his fellow soldiers is commendable, which means that everybody is easy around him. Egan has a bit of a weak spot when it comes to bartenders, and he likes to have fun. With the kind of mission he had been put through, death was almost a guarantee, and he wanted to enjoy each and every moment he was lucky to have. The responsibility was immense, and it got so miserable after the failed mission that Egan had to be punched in the face to snap out of it. The show rests on eclectic characters like Egan, and Turner hones in on the nuanced characterization to essay the role truthfully.
Anthony Boyle As Lt. Harry Crosby
Lt. Harry Crosby is portrayed by an astute Anthony Boyle, who brings such depth to it that it is compelling to watch this nervous character. Crosby is shown to have a problem—a big one—for someone in the Air Force, which is comical at first but soon starts to take the shape of a tragedy in the making. He realizes he has air sickness, where he starts to puke uncontrollably, and he has very little time to take preventive measures. Crosby might have been a very confident person, but the little hiccup took all of it away, and Boyle plays him with such sincerity that he becomes the ‘main character’ for a while. He was the navigator on one of the planes, and it was important for him to be alert at all times, but instead of doing that, all he could manage was to puke in his helmet, which he then accidentally wears. It’s one of the grossest scenes in the show, but Crosby’s fighting spirit shines through the ordeal. He manages to help the plane get out of danger, not taking the standard out-of-the-manual approach. There is an endearing quality to Crosby, and it’s the sort of character that evokes a lot of interest just because he appears the most vulnerable.
Barry Keoghan As Lt. Curtis Biddick
Barry Keoghan has become quite a sensation. He was a relatively unknown actor, but with films like Saltburn and The Banshees of Inisherin under his belt, he is a shoo-in for a lot of awards. He has proved his mettle as an actor, and in Masters of the Air, he gets to reprise his Irish accent with a lot of flair. The most interesting part about Keoghan is that he doesn’t try to change his natural style too much. He remains himself, which becomes quite compelling on the screen, even though the character sometimes becomes predictable. Keoghan gets to play Lt. Curtis Biddick in Masters of the Air, and he doesn’t miss that opportunity to bring that Irish charm into the role. He is rugged and smooth at the same time, and he plays his status pretty well. He is not the leader, but he has a way about him that separates him from the rest. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and gels well with the crowd. When the British soldiers make fun of the American plan to attack Germany during the day, it is Biddick who shuts their mouths. Barry Keoghan is one of the most fascinating actors to have graced the screen in recent times. Biddick may not have been that strong on paper, but Keoghan does his best to portray it with a quiet panache. There are other extremely talented performers in the cast, and the series is promising to be a great one, reminding us of the heroes who fought the war.