Featured in this article are a few upcoming war mini-series or newly released ones and series that deserve a honorable mention. Most of the TV mini-series are related to World War I and World War II however I added a few extra not related to these time frames. The main reason? Because they are worth it to be mentioned. All of the featured TV mini-series are highly rated amongst critics.
First up is Deutschland 83 and one of the featured which is not related to World War I or II. BUT Deutschland 83 is a groundbreaking new series from the producers of the international Emmy award-winning Generation War. It’s 1983. The Cold War is hot. Russian SS20 Missiles in East Germany are already pointed West. American Pershing II Missiles will soon be placed in West Germany, pointing East. The threat of nuclear conflict looms. Martin Rauch, aged 23, is born and raised in East Germany. He is sent undercover, as Moritz Stamm, to West Germany, to work for a top General in the Bundeswehr. Officially, his job is to gather intelligence on the placement of the Pershing II Missiles. A secondary gig develops, infiltrating youth culture through close relationships with the General’s two children. But nothing and no one are as they seem. Deutschland 83 is a coming-of-age story within a suspenseful thriller, set against the real events, culture wars and political realities of Germany in the 1980s.
Deutschland 83 received very favorable to excellent reviews by various Movie rating websites and Media. Watch the trailer below:
The second one featured is Heavy Water War also known as The Saboteurs. It’s a six-part dramatization of one of the most exciting stories from the Second World War – the German efforts to develop an atomic bomb and the Allies desperate struggle to prevent it from happening. The series starts in Stockholm in 1933 when German scientist Werner Heisenberg is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics and is congratulated by his mentor Niels Bohr a previous Nobel Prize winner. One of the dramatic high points is the daring sabotage mission to blow up the heavy water factory in the Norwegian mountains in 1943. Leading English, Norwegian and German actors portray real life characters and we get to understand their dilemmas and challenges in this epic story, the outcome of which will determine the future of democracy.
The first featured mini-series related to World War is Our World War which recounts the extraordinary bravery of young soldiers fighting 100 years ago. Capturing the visceral reality of combat, Our World War hurtles straight to the frontline, using immersive camerawork and intimate documentary filming styles to bring the First World War to life in a bold and fresh way. With eye-witness immediacy, this is history as seen through the soldiers eyes. According to Metro it’s “The Most Powerful TV Show we’ve seen in Yonks” and The Guardian claims “Excellent, innovative, moving television. I think the best, and most affecting, of the first world war programmes I’ve seen.“
Our World War is based on the personal accounts of the 4th Battalion The Royal Fusiliers. ‘The First Day’ tells the story of a single company of riflemen and machine gunners as they fought the opening battle of the war against an overwhelming German army. For their courage at the Battle of Mons in August 1914 they were awarded the first Victoria Crosses of World War One. In the episode ‘Pals’, a young office-worker volunteers to fight alongside his work-mates and friends in a Pals regiment, in the summer of 1916. To his surprise he finds himself fighting two enemies the Germans and a system that requires him to kill a friend accused of desertion. Or for example episode ‘War Machine’ which explores the mechanisation necessary to end the war alongside the overwhelming desire of the soldiers to return home. Set in the Battle of Amiens, August 1918, and based on the personal account of a member of the Tank Regiment, it follows the tank commander and crew as they fight against the odds pounding their way across enemy territory.
Another great mini-series created by the BBC was The Crimson Field however sadly to mention.. The BBC will not create a second season which actually leaves this series unfinished. I first did not wanted to add the series to the list for this reason however The Crimson Field is one of the few series (incl. movies) related to the medical personnel during World War I. It therefor deserves a honorable mentioning. In a British base hospital near the front, a team of doctors, nurses and VADs are working together to heal the bodies and souls of the men in their care. This hospital on the coast of France is a frontier between two worlds: between the trenches and the home front, between the old rules, regulations, hierarchies, class distinctions and a new way of thinking.
To end this list, I would like to mention Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter known as Generation War. In numbers, the series was a major hit on German TV with 7 million viewers and the BBC2 aired it in January 2014 as only the 2nd foreign language series since 2001, if that may say something. I dare to say that I am a critic when it relates to War series and movies but apart from the political and historical part of the series, the dramatic and entertainment level of Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter grabbed me. Valor, courage, and betrayal come to the fore in this remarkable epic that shows the everyday realities of wartime life from a deeply personal perspective. Billed as a German Band of Brothers, GENERATION WAR vividly depicts the lives of five young German friends forced to navigate the unconscionable moral compromises of life under Hitler.
In Berlin in 1941, on the eve of Hitler s invasion of the Soviet Union, level-headed officer Wilhelm is full of patriotic fervor as he heads for the eastern front with his sensitive younger brother Friedhelm. Charlotte is a young nurse in love with Wilhelm who is serving in the Red Cross. Greta is an ambitious singer who longs to become another Marlene Dietrich, while her boyfriend Viktor faces a daily struggle for survival as a Jew in an increasingly oppressive regime. These five exceptional young actors infuse their characters with the certainty of youth, which drains away with each successive month of war as the true horrors of the Third Reich are slowly revealed. At nearly every moment, they are faced with choices between complicity and rebellion, self-preservation and self-sacrifice, blood on their hands and love in their hearts. Eight years in the making and filmed on over 150 sets across Germany, Lithuania and Latvia, Generation War insightfully reveals a country still grappling with how previous generations could have become so tragically misdirected. German critics have widely praised the film, with Der Spiegel calling Generation War a “turning point in German television” and national newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung describing it as “the first and last chance… to ask our grandparents about their true biographies, their immoral compromises…the missed chances to act. Watch a part from the series below: