Last Chance U is an original Netflix docuseries, now in its fourth season, that follows college football teams that aren’t major programs and don’t get much national attention.
The first two seasons of the show followed the team at East Mississippi Community College, while the third, and recently released fourth season, followed the team at Independence Community College in Independence, KS.
SB Nation’s Jason Kirk summed the show up as a “carefully crafted drama with personalities to care about.”
Major themes include the academic struggles of the players – some of whom have come from severely disadvantaged backgrounds. This is set against an overall redemption and coming-of-age “last chance” theme for the group of men struggling to find their place.
But what will jump out even more at football fans is the filmmakers’ level of access.
College teams control so much of what is typically seen that it’s jarring to hear coaches deliver actual rants on camera, and hear players speak like humans whose goals have everything or nothing to do with football, sometimes at the same time.
“We make that a prerequisite, that we get that kind of access,” says Greg Whiteley, the Emmy- nominated director and executive producer. “You feel like you’re a scrub on the sidelines” while watching the doc, he says.
It’s that kind of access that probably led to the resignation of ICC head coach Jason Brown during season four and ultimately his being charged with eight felonies, including blackmail and identity theft.
In addition, ICC President Dan Barwick also resigned, In response to difficulty with college staff who accused him of placing football before academics.
Maybe access isn’t always good.