Football is America’s number one commodity, and because of that, dozens of movies and television shows have spawned from the inspirational and togetherness emotions that the sport creates for so many.
Last Chance U, a six-part docuseries hailing from the ever-expanding creative library at Netflix, seems to strip some of that romantic awe away. The show released its first trailer today, Deadline reports, and unlike so many Friday Night Lights or Varsity Blues types before it, it seems that the young football athlete’s life might be a little more complex, a little less scripted-for-success, and generally more real than its predecessors.
The series follows one of the most fruitful recruiting grounds in American football, East Mississippi Community College. In the trailer, it becomes clear that here–among the drifting cotton bolls and the haphazard railroad tracks–scores of crimson-clad athletes graduate to Division 1 schools, only to end up in the NFL. In one flash, an EMCC star is shown running down his community college field onto the spotlit green of the New England Patriots.
Unlike football dramas of the past, Last Chance U is entirely real. Netflix camera crews trailed–sometimes dogged–members of the team and coaching staff throughout a regular season. By doing that, the team managed to capture more real moments; according to SB Nation, the camera caught the coach’s rants on the sidelines (usually inaudible on normal broadcasts) and genuine interactions between the players, which any sports fan will know is entirely rare. After all, how often does the public hear anything more from their on-field celebrities than “I’m going to Disneyland!”
It’s the underlying strife of the characters that give the series its gripping authenticity, as well as its name. The trailer introduces us to young men, many impoverished from childhood, some came up for air out of drug addictions and crime situations, to play football and do something.
“Everyone deserves to have an education,” says a college administrator in the trailer. “Everyone deserves to have a second chance.”
And that seems to be the running theme of Last Chance U, so it appears in the trailer. For sports fans and non-sports enthusiasts alike, a collection of stories from redemption to stardom is a story everyone could get behind.
“Life ain’t fair, football ain’t fair,” says one of the coaches at one point. “Don’t worry about what happens. Just stay focused.”
Last Chance U will be released on Netflix on July 29th.