JUDY SLOANE'S FIRST REPORT ON THE FALL TV SEASON 2001, FROM THE TELEVISION CRITICS ASSOCIATION PRESS TOUR

Report by Judy Sloane
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Twice a year television journalists from all over the States converge at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Pasadena, California, to attend days of press conferences where the networks and cable channels reveal their new programs. Here are a few of the best shows for this upcoming season:

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Band of Brothers (HBO):

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated miniseries ever produced, Band of Brothers is based on Stephen E. Ambrose's stirring World War II book about Easy Company; the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army.

The 10-part miniseries follows the recruits through basic training in Georgia in 1942, recounting their achievements on D-Day, during the Battle of the Bulge, and in capturing Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.

Tom Hanks, who worked as Executive Producer, plus being a writer and director on the project, reflects on the public's abiding interest in a war that occurred over fifty years ago."I realize that a cottage industry seems to have sprung up here over the last few years. My associate, Steven Spielberg, and myself are, in some ways, responsible for it with the motion picture we made a few years ago. That sort of brought rebirth to an entire genre of filmmaking it seems.

"But the great thing that has come from it has been a focus where focus deserves to be placed. In the focus that we have put into (this miniseries) as storytellers and, in this case, as quasi-historians, we have landed on an extraordinarily important, tactile and emotional ten hours of television that is in its right place and, I think, also in its proper time."

Damian Lewis & David Schwimmer in Band of Brothers © HBO

Tom Hanks, producer-director-writer ©HBO

Hanks confesses that one of his main objectives in bringing Ambrose's inspirational book to the screen was to "try to put it into human terms so that it's not just a flickering black and white myth that is on some channel on your cable system, but instead is a palpable story that you, yourself, might think, 'What would I do under those same circumstances?' And, my gosh, I sort of recognize myself in these men, as opposed to just these mythic heroes."

Michael Cudlitz advances in Band of Brothers ©HBO
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Photos © Home Box Office, 2001.
Text by Judy Sloane © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction.