This 6-episode TV series, bankrolled by George Clooney, does a good job filming this virtually unfilmable book. Somehow it captures the insanity of modern warfare, in which you might be risking your life bombing an airfield one afternoon and diving off beachside rocks the next. Yossarian is not a coward, but he does want to stay alive, which leads to some questionable actions. Despite the unfortunate results of some of Yossarian’s decision, you can’t help but sympathize with the guy. The series ends inconclusively, as I believe the book did, in a hell which seems to have no end. We know how WWII turned out, but they don’t.
The soldiers are played by relatively unknown younger actors, who do an excellent job. Some more established actors, including Kyle Chandler, Hugh Laurie (in American accent) and Clooney himself, play the top brass.
There was a movie made from the book in 1970, but it was overshadowed by another black comedy about war, MASH, which came out the same year. I’ve rewatched MASH recently, and some of the jokes which seemed groundbreaking at the time no longer seem so funny. The story of Catch-22 wears better, I think.