Maybe this is the signal that the show is moving sports at the best time — the fifth and final season for football provides a respectable outing but a new sport is needed to liven up the format.
This review of Netflix’s Last Chance U season 5 does not contain any spoilers. The award-winning documentary series will be released on the platform on July 28, 2020.
We recapped every episode — check out the archive.
After the dramas of the last two seasons and the shocking ending of Season 4, it was not to be expected that Last Chance U Season 5 was going to topple that spectacle. But this is still the award-winning sports documentary and the production team have ended the football instalments in style and respect.
Yes, that’s right, Season 5 will be the last time the documentary series covers football. I get the sneaking suspicion it will return in the future but for now, Netflix has taken its bets to try basketball that will come to our screens in 2021. So while this is not the last instalment, it does feel like the beginning of the end for the first era of Last Chance U.
Season 5 ventures to Oakland, California, heading to the humble Laney College, bringing through a new roster of players that are hungry for success. Leading the fray is the highly respected Coach John Beam, who offers a far different approach to the now infamous Coach Jason Brown. There’s no whiskey-drinking or a constant flow of abusive language — there are no expectations to make the players into vicious dogs. John Beam has a standard — make the players better, make them into genuine professionals of the game.
Last Chance U Season 5 spends a good portion of its time educating the viewers on Oakland — a city that has gone through major gentrification with the African-American population dwindling due to the model of New Oakland not catering for the working class. Oakland is sold as a place where its evolution has caused positives and negatives — its development has had a cause and effect. The Netflix series does marvellously well to lay out the foundations of Oakland and draw down the implications. Many of the episodes feel secondary due to the genuine effort to educate.
As well as a good place to admire and at the same time question, Last Chance U Season 5 brings forth a good group of players. As usual, the players have their issues which give that feeling of “last chance”. But it feels different than previous seasons; there’s a feeling that the players can be trusted to make the right decision and its representative of the coach’s attitude. The usual tropes are drawn with abusive families and poverty-induced issues that have encapsulated a young person’s life. Football is family, football is escapism and football is an opportunity to make a name for themselves and provide for their future.
But Netflix’s Last Chance U Season 5 is not the best instalment as we draw the curtains on football. Maybe this is the signal that moving sports is the best time — the fifth and final season for football provides a respectable outing but a new sport is needed to liven up the format.
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