As we are never tired of sport, in addition to following Ligue 1, the Champions League, the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the top 14 etc… you can also get your entourage drunk who don’t care about sport and watch a dedicated series.
Between biopics, historical series and fiction series, there is nothing missing from the offer of sports series to be happy. To help you in your choices, we have concocted a small list of series that we loved to watch.
1. Formula 1: drivers and their destiny
The documentary series broadcast on Netflix since 2019 is causing more and more sensation. “Formula 1” takes us behind the scenes of Formula 1, a sport that we know more or less (depending on taste) but whose challenges and strategies are difficult to understand.
The series therefore takes us into the world of Formula 1 with its economic stakes, the rivalries between teams and the incredible pressure that rests on the shoulders of the drivers. You will be entitled to very beautiful images which immerse us in the heart of the Grand Prix and make us discover how the pilots experience a race.
Be careful though, if you don’t care about Formula 1, the series can seem a tad repetitive.
2. The English game
The English game is a mini series broadcast on Netflix (and yes again, it’s that they are strong the little ones) from 2020, which looks back on the origins of the most popular sport in this world: football. We then find ourselves in 19th century England, with very successful sets and costumes that immerse us in this period universe, to follow the evolution of a team of English workers, the Old Etonians.
Beyond the sporting aspect of the series (which some soccer players will find is neglected in favor of the more personal and social stories of the characters, if I can make a little criticism), this series also shows the class struggle that modern football was born in the 1870s. Indeed, football was first a sport practiced by the wealthiest social classes, even bourgeois and aristocrats, then it gradually attracted the modest and working classes.
Thus, we see the struggle of the working class club of the Old Etonians against the club of the city, while being immersed in the passion of the sport, we appreciate the mixture.
3. Mohammed Ali, the Arte documentary series
This mini documentary series in 4 episodes proposes to come back to the story of the greatest boxing champion of all time: Mohammed Ali. The director, Ken Burns, has chosen to go back in detail on the champion’s journey and show how he went from a person hated by the general public to a symbol of boxing but also of the black cause in full swing. American Civil Rights.
Mohammed Ali, in addition to his very particular style of boxing, was an athlete with a character full of arrogance, very “big mouth” who did not necessarily appeal to boxing professionals, but also to fans of this sport. Documentaries on Muhammad Ali, there are many, but this one is particularly detailed, hence the 4 episodes and also returns to the ambivalent positions of the boxer with a lot of transparency, his closeness with Malcolm X then with Martin Luther King, but also with Elijah Muhammad, head of the movement Nation of Islam.
You will be able to relive his best fights, but also his defeats and above all attend cross interviews with his ex-wives, his daughters and certain specialists. You will understand, we advise.
And for once, we have a series that does not “glorify” athletes and their success stories, but also tells another reality of high-level sport: failure.
The documentary series, broadcast on Netflix in 2019, looks back on the journey of 8 athletes, in different sports such as football, basketball or golf, who are above all “losers”. Each episode is dedicated to a particular athlete, who are mostly unknown to the general public precisely because they have won nothing (or almost) or have a tumultuous journey. We find for example among the episodes, the French skater Surya Bonaly who has certainly excelled at the national level but has never won gold at the Olympic Games or at the world championships.
We therefore find the hidden side of sport: that of failure, a feeling that we have all felt once, whether as amateurs, supporters or even in other fields than that of sport and it is interesting to see that there are not only beautiful stories in professional sport to demystify this too sacred universe a little.
Cheer is a documentary series broadcast on Netflix in 2020, which takes us into the world of cheerleading (cheerleaders what, you know). The series proposes to go beyond the very “girly” and stereotyped aspect that can be attributed to this sport, to discover the real training and daily life of a team from a university in Texas.
The documentary format allows you to have a real vision of what competitive cheerleading is, with the portrait of the coach and some athletes on whom the series focuses. An interesting life story about a sport that we are too used to seeing in American B series and that we French viewers don’t know that well.
6. Neymar: the perfect chaos
This documentary series on Neymar gave us a rather interesting portrait of the Brazilian star, which we did not necessarily expect.
Indeed, when this series came out, we were afraid to see a documentary that only returned to the successes of the footballer, recalling above all his prize list, and yet we had the right to a very fragile and sensitive Neymar (we are almost touched, doe). More seriously, if we find this series interesting, it is because it focuses in part on the doubts and difficulties of the player (especially in Paris), despite his incredible talent, which qualifies the opinion that the ‘we can be a star and gives us a small idea of what a player of this level can go through.
In The perfect chaos nothing is forgotten, his toxic relationship with his father, his failures at PSG, but also his successes with Barça and his incredible rise from little kid from the favelas to football superstar. Neymar wanted to confide and contradict a little the wave of negative comments that he takes in the mouth and frankly, it must be said that it works rather well.
7. The Last Dance
Again and again a Netflix documentary series which returns this time to the life of the famous Michael Jordan. I look drunk like that, but in fact the series is clearly worth the detour (and anyway we are in a top sport so you can imagine that we are going to talk about great sportsmen).
Suddenly, if this series is interesting, it is largely thanks to the quality of the documentary which is based on a large number of exclusive archive images, interviews with other great basketball players and important players in basketball, but also excerpts from matches that take us back to the best moments of Michael Jordan. The series focuses on the 1997-1998 season of the Chicago Bulls who were trying at that time to seek a sixth title.
Unlike the documentary on Neymar, The Last Dance tends to put Michael Jordan in a hero position, but it’s also because Jordan was, in image, a less divisive athlete who made his sport a real culture. A must see for basketball enthusiasts (sport sometimes forgotten in France) and even for others, everyone will find something interesting.
The GLOW series, released in 2017 on Netflix, takes up the fictional creation of a television show: the “Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling” (knowing that this show really existed in the 80s). The series immerses us in an atmosphere of the 80s at the Stranger Things and tells us the story of a woman, Ruth, who seeks to become a dramatic actress, but ends up “performing” for a women’s wrestling federation dedicated to television.
The series first shows the difficulty and the requirement that the practice of wrestling represents by featuring a group of women with different morphologies, different ages and different ethnicities, also carries a positive and inclusive message around women. . The stereotyped roles that racialized women must embody in their wrestling persona (“Queen of allowances” for the black character, for example) also demonstrates specific problems and obstacles faced by women from the minority. As a result, the series carries a committed and lucid discourse on what racialized women can experience in a society that is still very divided.
In short, GLOW is a smart, well-executed series. It highlights women who practice a little recognized sport, wrestling, by showing the characteristics and requirements of this spectator sport through the journey of a heroine who gradually learns to master her body, the art of fight, but also the art of the game (drop the mic, if I haven’t convinced you I don’t understand anything anymore).
9. Last Chance U
Last Chance U is a documentary series over 5 seasons which offers to follow the daily life of several American football teams of the JUCO (Junior College Athletic Association): the thing in which arrives the students in school failure who have not been severed by the NCAA, the elite of American football at the university level, a bit like the garbage can of American football.
Here we see sport as the only way out (which is a great reality for many athletes, unfortunately) for several students from the most disadvantaged social backgrounds. The series is now over (and a version exists for basketball, Last Chance U: Basketball), but you can watch all 5 seasons, still available on Netflix.
You will therefore see sport under one of its darkest sides: that of a purgatory for extremely underprivileged social classes and will follow the immense success of certain players, like the great difficulties of others in achieving their objectives, prepare the handkerchiefs.
10. Bonus: Checkers Game
If we consider that chess is sport (and for some it counts as such), then the Ladies game fits perfectly in this top.
The series tells the true story of Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy, who as the series progresses will become the greatest player in the world, while having to face all her addictions (mainly drugs and alcohol). We therefore follow the story of this young orphan from her childhood to her adulthood, the age at which she begins to play chess professionally and to train daily.
Actress Anya Taylor-Joy, who portrays the character of Beth Harmon, plays the role perfectly. Both fair and nuanced, it transmits the expressions, desires and fears of the character directly to the viewer, which transports us to the heart of the series and the story. In addition to this, the plot reveals the strategies of chess and the complexity involved in the practice of this sport, unknown to the general public. Finally, we also have a certain feminist vision, through the journey of a woman who evolves in an eminently masculine universe, and who manages to reach the top of this sport, by the sole fruit of her labor.
If chess can be considered a sport it’s because it can be practiced in competition, it requires diligent training to progress and it also requires physical involvement, so you see, it doesn’t come out either From nowhere.