If you’re a fan of powerful teen dramas, coupled with the hard-hitting world of American Football, then you’re in for a treat…
Fumbling it’s way onto Netflix in 2016, Last Chance U follows the highly interesting and often undiscovered world of Junior College football. The show see’s players and coaches battling it out week in, week out, both academically and on the field – all in the hopes of getting rings and maybe, just maybe, helping players make it to the NFL.
In the US, the structure for many college athletes goes from Junior College, to Division II, Division I and then the NFL.
Last Chance U, as suggested by its title, focuses on schools which target people who’re kicked out of Division II or Division I Universities, some for minor convictions, such as altercations with students or grade issues. Others, however, stray on links with armed robbery, dealing and the partaking of drugs. For these students, playing college football is their ‘Last Chance’ of making it to the NFL.
In it’s 5th and final season, Last Chance U ventures upon Laney College, located in Oakland, California. Football is often used as a vessel to portray some deeper rooted issues, with both the players and the city itself.
Whilst their football is often exciting and engaging, I often found my mind straying from how their season was going, and more so on how the players were doing.
For example a standout WR, Dior Walker-Scott, was homeless for the majority of the season, couch surfing and sleeping in his car. The season also explored his relationship with an abusive father figure, who pushed him into the worlds of discipline and football.
Or one may look at Nu’u, the 6’2’’ American/Samoan DT who balances his life on the pitch with his life at home, looking after a wife and two daughters. It’s interesting to see how his hopes and aspirations impact his family, with most college athletes not having to worry about it.
This all falls under the development of Oakland, which we discover has undergone a massive economic boom in the housing market. An increased cost of living and decadence has shunned a lot of Oakland’s ‘old’ residents, making way for what many have deemed as the ‘New Oakland’.
With a slight spoiler alert, I can warn you that their season didn’t go to plan. Issues with their QB, CBs and some minor WR problems resulted in a 6-4 season.
However, when you start watching you become less so involved in their football and more so involved in their lives. As Coach Beam often states in the show, his main aim isn’t to get them to the NFL. It’s to secure them with good morals, good grades, and a step towards a prosperous future.
Despite his best efforts, a highlight of every season so far is that the players only have one thing on their mind: the NFL
Available on Netflix, I’d highly recommend this to anyone wanting a gritty cultural drama, catalysed by a mid-level Junior College football team.
Featured Image: Youtube via Netflix
Last modified: 11th August 2020