Today is the twentieth anniversary of the premiere of Band of Brothers. The ten episode miniseries follows 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Division, also known as "Easy" Company, through their actions in World War II from training through the defeat of Germany.
The series is based on the 1992 non-fiction series by historian Stephen E. Ambrose. Following the success of the 1998 World War II film Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks acquired the rights and used their film as the template for the show. The production team did extensive research into the period for historical accuracy, including interviews with the surviving members of Easy Company. The interviews were then incorporated into the series. Even so, artistic license was taken to make it into a series. The series was, at the time, the most expensive miniseries ever made at the time costing and estimated $12.5 million per episode with an additional $15 million for promotion. The series was film in England, standing in for locations including America, England, and France. It was able to use many of the same locations as Saving Private Ryan, which was still dressed for the period.
The series received nearly universal praise from critics who praised the intense look at war as well as exploring the people involved. The first episode brought in an astonishing ten million viewers. However, HBO ceased the marketing campaign following the September 11th attacks causing a massive drop in viewership. It was nominated for numerous awards winning several including an Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries and Golden Globe for Best Miniseries or Television Film. The success of the series inspired several similar highly acclaimed series including The Pacific, Generation War, and Generation Kill. It has since been regarded as one of the best miniseries ever made.