Anticipation is growing for HBO's mega-dollar miniseries The Pacific, and deservedly so. The 10-part series, which today was assigned a debut date of March 14 (I accidentally reported it as March 10 earlier, my bad), is considered the successor to 2001's Band of Brothers.
However, that growing anticipation for The Pacific comes with a side of trepidation; Band of Brothers was just so good, and for some there's a feeling The Pacific won't be able to live up to it. It's an unfair expectation to cast on The Pacific, but hey, that's human nature.
So far, HBO has only released two trailers for the series—and they deliver all the production value one would think the rumored $150-million-budget could buy (it's the most expensive television project, ever). Filmed in Australia and set in the Pacific theater of World War II, the trailers make the series look like ten hours' worth of the opening of Saving Private Ryan, which, if you have a healthy heart, isn't a bad thing. But there is one thing that has me concerned: Where is the story?
What made Band of Brothers such an outstanding series, and one that's still picking up eyeballs and new fans today (it unfortunately debuted on September 9, 2001... yeah, two days before a new war started, so please forgive its disappointing ratings), was its focus on a tight-knit group of soldiers: E Company. The trailers for The Pacific don't offer any hint that it will have the same concentration—though we hope it does, because that's what made Band stand out above other WWII pieces.
If not, we may end up with just a substandard rehash of Terrence Malick's excellent 1998 film The Thin Red Line (which makes me cry like a little baby). It also took place in the Pacific, and the trailers for The Thin Red Line and The Pacific are eerily similar (watch them both, below), but that's where the common threads would likely end.
There have been some mumblings across the internet that Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, who executive produced Band of Brothers, aren't as involved in The Pacific as they were in Band of Brothers. There's also a question of whether or not America is still as infatuated with World War II as it was half a decade ago.
But I'm still holding out and hoping that The Pacific will be every bit as good as Band of Brothers. Because between The Pacific and David Simon's Treme, I may just have to dig through the couch for change to resubscribe to HBO. Curses!