Recently, my husband and I realized that Max Riemelt and Brian J. Smith, as well as, Sean Bean were all in World on Fire.
We weren’t particularly keen to start a series that would most likely be very sad but we are fans of all 3 actors so we could not pass up watching it!
Once we started watching, we realized that we recognized a number of the actors and actresses.
World on Fire was wonderfully acted by all those involved.
It was lovely, funny and sweet at times but as with any show depicting the horrors of war, it was also, heartbreaking and on my part, tear inducing.
World on Fire is set during World War II and follows the lives and actions of ordinary families from Britain, Poland, France and Germany. It shows how the lives of these strangers intertwine over the course of 1939-1940, how they struggle to survive and how different bravery can look from person to person. We all cope with stress in different ways, we all fight our fights through different ways and means but that does not necessarily mean that another person is less brave than we are.
From what I’ve read about the series, most of the characters are based on multiple people that survived the war but not 100% based on anyone in particular.
To the best of my knowledge, I can not say that I know anyone that was a World War II hero in the sense that they fought in the War but I do know someone that survived a Nazi Concentration Camp and I think that makes her a hero. Although, truthfully, she was already one of my heros, way before I knew that about her!
According to PBS, a second season of World on Fire is expected but as of now, it looks like there are no dates set. In the meantime, I’ll be on the lookout for other shows with these excellent actors and actresses in them.
Island at War
After we finished watching World on Fire, I wasn’t quite ready to leave the time period yet. So, with a little scrolling through Netflix and Amazon, we decided to watch Island at War with Laurence Fox.
I am a big fan of Laurence Fox and as it turns out, I also recognized many of the other actors and actresses from the various and numerous English programs that I watch.
Island at War is set in June of 1940 and starts with the removal of the British troops by Sir Winston Churchill from the fictional Island of St. Gregory and the Islands subsequent occupation by German troops.
From what I have read, Island at War, like World on Fire, is based on events of the time but not necessarily on any particular person or group of people.
I do have to say that especially during the first few episodes, we did find ourselves often asking, “Would someone faced with Nazi occupation really be that naive?”, ” Would a person staring into the eyes of a Nazi Officer really have said or did such and such?”… and I guess the answer is yes… I don’t think I would have been that naive but then again, I was taught not to trust people, especially men with tools or anything else that could be used as a weapon in their hands … but I can see the possibility that someone else would.
“Possibility” being the key word.
For example, would a father really be naive enough and dare I say, even cavalier enough, with the lives of his teenage daughters and wife to stop his family from evacuating because he didn’t like the look of the boat and HOPED that they might get a better boat the next day?? I’m not sure. Thinking of my own child, I think I would have gotten my teenage son off that island as quickly as possible no matter what that boat looked like…Would a newly widowed female grocery store owner with two teenage daughters really be foolhardy enough to think she could refuse to sell food to the German Soldiers and naive enough to think there would be no consequences to these actions? Again, I don’t think so … but that’s easy to say from the comfort of my sofa, with my husband sitting next to me.
These questions aside, my husband and I are enjoying watching the series and we do care about the characters, even if we can’t understand why they are doing much of what they do.
We still have one episode left and considering that the occupation of the real life Islands went on for 5 years, we are sure to be facing a big cliffhanger of an ending.
Unfortunately, there is no season 2. According to my little bit of research into the show, season 2 was canceled due to controversy over accuracy of the story.
I believe that the series was meant to be more of a dramatization of the events than an accurate account of them but, again, that’s easy to say, sitting on my sofa in America.
If I lived on the islands and/or had family that had lived through the events, I may also want a more accurate account to be told.