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Two upcoming sports documentary series that’ll have you glued to your screen

Published Jan 18th, 2024 4:02PM EST
Sunderland 'Til I Die on Netflix
Image: Netflix

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One of the upcoming Netflix series that I’m most excited for is sort of like what you’d get if you transported Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso to the real world. It’s a documentary series that’s set in a small, hardscrabble town in the UK, at the center of which is a beloved yet down-on-its-luck football club. And even though Sunderland ‘Til I Die doesn’t include a happy-go-lucky coach from Small Town USA who shows up to turn everything around — spewing folksy aphorisms with a Southern drawl — I still have a feeling that the millions of AFC Richmond fans would nevertheless find so much to like about this “clear eyes, full hearts” snapshot of the ultimate underdogs.

I love a good documentary, and streamers like Netflix are chock-a-block with so many like Sunderland ‘Til I Die that are as well-done and compelling as the streamer’s scripted offerings. Sports documentaries, with the inherent conflict and competition that are built in right from the start, are among some of the most gripping — and I think the two, below, that are both coming soon are particularly worth highlighting.

Sunderland ‘Til I Die

The first is, to be more specific, a new season of an existing documentary series.

On February 13, Netflix is releasing the third and final season of Sunderland ‘Til I Die, which proved to be such an emotional ride for two particular viewers who watched the series during the pandemic (Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds) that it reportedly inspired them to buy their own English football club, Wrexham — the third oldest professional club in the world. Welcome to Wrexham, a resulting all-access documentary charting the team’s progress under its unconventional owners, is available to stream on Hulu.

As for Sunderland AFC, from the north of England, it’s also one of the oldest professional football clubs in the world, based in a proud working-class hamlet. The team, whose home facility is called the “Stadium of Light,” fell on hard times, has performed unevenly on the field — but is backed by fiercely loyal fans.

Sunderland 'Til I Die on NetflixImage source: Netflix

Guardian reviewer has described the documentary series as a love letter to a city on its knees, still refusing to let go of a kind of wayward child that no one can bring themself to abandon. You don’t even have to be a football fan to appreciate the tenuous hold that the idea of a better tomorrow has on everyone in this city — especially when the disappointments are so manifold. “Not many people have had it easy in Sunderland,” viewers are told at one point. “It’s a hard place.” The team is the glue that holds everyone together.

The Dynasty

The second upcoming documentary series for sports fans is The Dynasty, coming to Apple TV+ on February 16.

This 10-part series from Imagine Documentaries and Emmy-winning filmmaker Matthew Hamachek goes inside the rise of the New England Patriots as one of the most dominant sports franchises of the 21st century. In it, former quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft, along with a variety of contributors, give viewers the definitive story of the team’s remarkable run.

About the series, which is based on the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling book of the same title by author Jeff Benedict, Apple TV+ says: “The series offers unparalleled access to, and insights from, past and present Patriots players, coaches and executives, including Adam Vinatieri, Drew Bledsoe, Rob Gronkowski, Ty Law, Bill Parcells and Jonathan Kraft; league officials and sports journalists like Roger Goodell, Al Michaels and Howard Bryant; and high-profile fans, such as Jon Bon Jovi, Bill Burr, Rupert Murdoch and many more.

“The docuseries explores the franchise’s 20-year journey, from the unique chemistry that fueled six Super Bowl wins to the internal strife that sparked a turf war. From the owner’s suite to the locker room, the series reveals an insider’s look at the road to — and cost of — greatness.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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