Sympathetic Nazi characters aren’t exactly the game changers they once were in 1981’s Das Boot. Moreover, this predictable German TV miniseries (to be shown in two parts for a single admission) doesn’t boast the essentialist rigor that would make it feel universal. Rather, it plays like a conventional melodrama with better-than-average production values, one that raises the usual quandaries: Will two brothers assigned to the same troop (Volker Bruch and Tom Schilling) make it through the winter on the Eastern Front? Will Greta (Katharina Schüttler), an aspiring singer, come to regret her transformation into a Reich-loved songbird in a gilded cage?
We actually follow five friends, all of whom happily pose for a photo before compromises ruin them—it’s the obvious nature of Generation War that insists we see that snapshot fall to the ground in slo-mo on a bloody battlefield. At home, the miniseries was met with acclaim and huge viewing numbers (don’t they have Breaking Bad?). Sure enough, you’ll be zipped along in the manner of plotty, decently acted binge-watching. Don’t feel guilty for expecting a little more.
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