I’ve written a lot in this column about sports movies this summer – maybe too much – but always about the big screen.
What about TV, though? There aren’t as many fictional narrative options on the old tube for a sports fix, but there are certainly enough to check out if you haven’t already done so. Below are five shows about sports that are worth your time and attention.
Is there a more popular TV show about sports than “Friday Night Lights?”
The five-season show started airing in 2006, two years after the film by the same name was released. The NBC product, which is streaming on Peacock right now, captures the high-stakes world of Texas high school football like nothing else.
The four-time Emmy award-winning show has two notable stars in Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler, but its entire cast is a delight to watch. There is no other sports TV show that features more actual time on the field than this one. Averaging 6 million viewers per episode over the first two seasons, this show sets the standard for fictional sports on television.
“Ted Lasso” is a relatively new show, but a darn good one.
Based on the NBC short “An American Coach in London,” it features Jason Sudeikis as a NCAA champion football coach who lands a no-experience gig as a professional soccer coach in London.
The premise is silly, and there are plenty of cheesy jokes about the contrast between American and English sports, but the strength of the show is its genuine sincerity. In a world where TV shows boost ratings and keep plots alive with trauma, sarcasm or shock value, “Ted Lasso” just relies on being sweet and relatable. Even if you don’t care much for soccer, the Apple TV Plus show is worth a watch.
I’ve never been a pro wrestling fan, but I couldn’t resist checking out the Netflix show, “Glow,” when it started airing in 2017.
With Marc Maron and Allison Brie as the headline stars, “Glow” gives hilarious insight to the wild world of women’s wrestling in the 1980s.
The showrunners are Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, but “Glow” also gets help from writer Jenji Kohan, who was also responsible for female-led shows “Weeds” and “Orange is the New Black.” Like any sports show, the focus is mostly on the action off the mat, but there are still plenty of chair-breaking ring aerials to entertain.
“Sports Night” is an oldie but goodie, an Aaron Sorkin gem about a “Sports Center”-esque news room with two young anchors balancing pressure from the network and the natural drama behind the scenes of a TV show.
If you weren’t a fan of Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” I promise, this show is far better.
The show stars Josh Charles and Peter Krause as two anchors loosely based on Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick, as well as Felicity Huffman, Robert Guillaume and Joshua Malina. First airing in 1998 on ABC and running just 45 episodes, “Sports Night” won three Emmys and is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
I love TV shows about sports, but if I had to pick, “Eastbound and Down” is the best of all of them.
Its content is certainly not family-appropriate, but if you can stomach a few dirty words, it is laugh-out-loud funny.
In it, Danny McBride stars as a washed-up MLB pitcher in Shelby who makes a comeback to the Big Show by any means necessary. There are too many stars to list who make cameos, but Will Ferrell, Matthew McConaughey and Michael Peña are the most notable. The HBO show first aired in 2009, ran four seasons and is able to be streamed on HBO Maxx.
Thank you, dear readers, for putting up with a summer of movie and TV show reviews.
As a parent of two little ones, summer at our house is a time for playing outside until everyone is worn out and then crashing on the couch for a movie. I’ve had a blast watching old favorites and checking out new titles, and I hope you’ve done the same. This will be the last chapter of this summer sports series, but I’m already counting down until next summer.
(Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @zacknally)