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Apple TV+ has a new number one drama - and it's an epic hit

Prestige TV at its finest...

Apple TV+ has a new number one drama - and it's an epic hit
Andrew Williams
29 January 2024

Apple TV Plus has its first essential-viewing TV show of 2024, Masters of the Air.

The show is the number one most-watched on Apple TV Plus in 96 countries according to Flixpatrol. And everywhere else it’s number two, bar in Granada, apparently (where it has inexplicably only just scraped into the top 10 so far).

We are not at all surprised, as Masters of the Air has almost unbeatable TV pedigree.

The show is a spiritual successor to Band of Brothers and The Pacific, and is written by Band of Brothers writer John Orloff.

Masters of the Air follows the US Air Force actions during World War II, and centres around a group of characters in the 100th Bomber Group.

It’s a 9-episode season but, in usual Apple TV Plus fashion, the episodes are coming one a week. Only the first two are available so far.

The full verdict, then, isn’t in yet from audiences. But some of the reviews are outright rapturous.

Masters of the Air has picked up full-marks reviews from The Guardian, Empire, The A.V. Club, Chicago Sun-Times and Radio Times.

“At its best, Masters Of The Air functions like the epic war movies Hollywood used to produce: a vast canvas, a sweeping starry ensemble, a sobering, involving reminder of history’s bloodiest conflict,” says the Empire review.

The show’s cast is stellar too. Elvis star Austin Butler is Major Gale 'Buck' Cleven, backed up by Callum Turner and the always brilliant Barry Keoghan.

So is it a sure-fire hit? Not all the reviews are as positive, and one of the most negative ones has some important advice for viewers.

Apple TV+'s new number one drama is an epic hit
Image Credit: Apple TV Plus

USA Today gave Masters of the Air two stars (our of four), despite saying the show does eventually evoke the sort of feelings Band of Brothers and The Pacific raked-up. However, that only happens after a couple of possibly trying episodes of exposition.

The show “opens with three episodes of confusing, ill-written filler,” according to the review. “There are too many characters introduced too fast, locations whizz by and air battles are too hazy and frenetic to focus your eyes on any one soldier. They go for bombastic but end up boring. They're a slog to get through.”

Get past those initial three episodes and you’re flying. Of course, the problem right now is us normal Apple TV Plus subscribers only have those first episodes to chow down on.

So if you’re tempted to leave Masters of the Air grounded after the first couple of eps, perhaps solider on as it’s just about to take off.