Stephen Ambrose’s best-selling book Band of Brothers followed one company of the 101st Airborne from their training in Georgia in 1942 through their parachuting into France in 1944, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, and capturing Hitler’s mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden in 1945. Now HBO brings the story to the screen in a 10-part series produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and partly directed by Hanks. It debuts Sunday, September 9, and promises to be a blockbuster: It has 500 speaking roles, uses more than 10,000 extras, and consumed more pyrotechnics by the third episode than Saving Private Ryan expended in the entire film.
The PBS Series New York: A Documentary Film , the first five episodes of which aired in 1999, finishes with two more segments, carrying through from 1929 to the present, on September 30 and October 1 at 9:00 P.M. Eastern time (check your local listings). The first of the two installments covers the turbulent years of the Depression and World War II; the second ends in the age of the turbulent current mayor, Rudolph Giuliani. To coincide with the broadcasts, the companion volume, New York: An Illustrated History, written by the show’s director, Ric Burns, together with James Sanders and Lisa Ades, will be made available in a paperback edition from Random House for $45.00. Video and DVD sets of the full seven-part package will also be released.