I'm going to preface this review by stating that I know absolutely nothing about American Football but the good news is that you don't have to have a clue about the sport to really enjoy Last Chance U.
While clearly it's about the game, it's more focused on behind the scenes of the competitive world of college football. What does it take to be the number one team and, more importantly, what does it take to stay there.
Last Chance U is a documentary series that premiered on Netflix in 2016. The series follows the lives of junior college (JUCO) football players who are given a final opportunity to prove themselves and potentially earn scholarships to four-year universities.
The show provides an in-depth look at their personal stories, challenges, and triumphs on and off the field.
So is Last Chance U worth watching? Let's check out what it's all about to find out.
What Is Last Chance U About?
The first two seasons follow the East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) football team, also known as the Lions, on their quest for a fourth National Championship in 2015, having already won it in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
Led by Head Coach Buddy Stephens, the EMCC team is primarily made up of players that have been removed from Division I rosters. This is due to academic or disciplinary issues.
Playing at the junior college level (JUCO) is their last chance to prove themselves and return to Division I from where they will hopefully go on to the NFL.
This is a fascinating documentary, absolutely filled to the brim with incredible juxtapositions. For example, the 5,000-seater football stadium is located in one of the poorest places in Mississippi.
It's a huge facility that must have cost a fortune to build, yet it's slap bang in the middle of a town called Scooba where the only thing that seems to work is a Coke machine.
The players themselves will readily admit they are only there to get back to Division 1. Which they can't do if they get dropped. And they get dropped for missing class or failing academically. Which, ironically is half the reason they are there in the first place.
So can they make it? Watch Last Chance U to find out!
Last Chance U Official Trailer
Is Last Chance U Worth Watching?
What stands out the most in Last Chance U is that college football is crazy vicious circle. However, players can break the cycle if they work hard enough and that's what is great about the show.
You root for the guys. You want them to win, you want them to graduate and succeed, and you can get really invested in how their lives unfold.
It has everything. Compelling storytelling, character development, and immersive portrayal of the JUCO football landscape. The series not only highlights the journey of the players but also explores broader issues surrounding college sports, education, and personal growth.
Last Chance U also delves into the lives of the coaches, their coaching styles, and the impact they have on the players. It showcases the intense pressures and high stakes of the sport, and the importance of perseverance, teamwork, and resilience.
It's a stunning piece of filming with six episodes in the first season. There are also plenty of other great sports-based programmes streaming now, including All Or Nothing Manchester City on Amazon Prime.
How Many Seasons of Last Chance U?
In total, there are five seasons of Last Chance U that focus on college football.
The first two seasons focus on the East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) football program. The series showcases the efforts of the EMCC Lions to overcome obstacles, improve their skills, and ultimately compete for a national championship.
The show's creators, Greg Whiteley and Adam Ridley, aim to capture the raw and gritty reality of junior college football, shedding light on the players' backgrounds, struggles, and aspirations.
Following the initial two seasons, Last Chance U shifts its focus to different junior college football programs for subsequent seasons.
Seasons 3 and 4 take place at Independence Community College in Kansas and the fifth season shifts the spotlight to Laney College in Oakland, California.
Last Chance U Basketball
In addition to the main series, Netflix also released Last Chance U: Basketball in 2021, which explores the world of junior college basketball.
This spin-off series follows the basketball team at East Los Angeles College. It delves into the challenges faced by the players and the role of the coach in shaping their futures.
It offers viewers a unique perspective on the world of college sports and serves as a platform to raise awareness about the challenges these student-athletes face as they strive to achieve their goals.
Last Chance U Coaches
The series features various coaches throughout its different seasons, each bringing their unique coaching styles and approaches to the junior college football programs.
Season 1 and 2 (East Mississippi Community College):
Coach Buddy Stephens: He is the head coach of the East Mississippi Community College Lions. Known for his intense coaching style, Coach Stephens strives for excellence and has a strong focus on discipline and winning.
Season 3 and 4 (Independence Community College):
Coach Jason Brown: He takes over as the head coach of the Independence Pirates.
Brash coach Jason Brown is known for his outspoken and fiery personality, often making headlines with his controversial remarks and motivational tactics. He works alongside Assistant coach Jason Martin.
Season 5 (Laney College):
Coach John Beam: He serves as the head coach of the Laney College Eagles. Coach John Beam's legacy in Oakland is unmatched as he brings experience and stability to the program.
Are The Players In Last Chance U Real Football Players?
Yes, the players featured in Last Chance U are real football players.
They are recruited from various backgrounds and have enrolled in junior college programs in the hope of improving their skills and obtaining scholarships to four-year universities.
The series follows their college career as well as their football journey.