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'World On Fire - Season One'
(Jonah Hauer-King, Julia Brown, Helen Hunt, Sean Bean, Arthur Darvill, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG-13 / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: 'World On Fire' is an adrenalized, emotionally gripping and resonant World War II drama that follows the intertwining fates of ordinary people in Britain, Poland, France, Germany and the United States, as they grapple with the effects of the war on their everyday lives.

DVD Verdict: Summer 1939. Harry, a translator at the British Embassy in Warsaw, is falling in love with Polish waitress Kasia. When German tanks roll into Poland, and Britain declares war on Germany, Harry and Kasia face terrible choices.

With her life in grave danger, can Harry help her -- and if he can, how will he ever explain himself to Lois Bennett, the girl he left behind in Manchester?

As the Nazi threat spreads across Europe, Kasia must choose between love and fighting for her country, Harry must find his place in the world, and Lois must seize new opportunities the war presents.

The conflict overturns everything for Harry's snobbish mother Robina; for Douglas, Lois' pacifist father; and for her younger brother Tom, who joins the Navy and finds himself under fire in one of the first major battles of the war.

In Berlin, outspoken American journalist Nancy risks her life trying to help her neighbors; while in Paris, Nancy's nephew, medic Webster refuses to leave the city and the man he loves.

'World On Fire' traverses the first year of WWII, from ordinary life in England to the beaches of Dunkirk, diving deep into the hearts and minds of those living their lives during this extraordinary time as they grapple with the unthinkable: a world in flames.

For my money, 'World On Fire' is an outstanding attempt at recreating the utter fear and dread that World War II brought on so many lives, removing the glorified, glossy, romantic veneer that is often put on World War II depictions.

There are so many criticisms about that time in history and that here the fact that the speech is far too modern. I know my World War II history fairly well and this, broadly speaking, is what happened, sorry.

But at the same time, come on now people, it is a drama, after all, and not a documentary. If you want detailed facts and 'speeches" I suggest watching 'World at War.'

This new drama, 'World On Fire' is more about conveying the human experience, and that requires art, not precisely detailed facts. And yes, to convey this to the audience of today it does need to be vocally tailored so that a modern audience can understand, and even empathize with the characters.

Indeed, I think that this a well researched and well written drama that seamlessly interweaves several different character story lines - not an easy task.

The production is amazing and is at movie level, at times. Complete with some rather fantastic staging, scenery, action and effects, which allows the stand out actors, such as Jonah Hauer-King, Julia Brown, Helen Hunt and the always-brilliant Sean Bean to do what they do best.

In closing, this is one of the most gripping and heartfelt dramas I have seen on TV for a very long time. So, well done to all involved for 'World On Fire' is a quite magnificent achievement. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





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