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It’s definitely been a while since many of us have been out on the field or court, let alone seen the light of day (if you know, you know). It should come as no surprise, then, that plenty of streamers are already looking for shows like All American to watch next after finishing The CW-turned-Netflix football drama.
All American digs deep into the world of competitive sports. But far beyond that, it stands out for its surprisingly impressive consideration of race and class issues in the United States—especially as those issues apply to our Black and brown athletes that make so many of the sports we love successful in the first place. Before getting picked up and streaming on Netflix in 2020, All American was definitely underrated as one of the few sports-centric television series to address these themes. Now it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves.
If you’re here for the representation, there are still some—if not just a handful—of other options you might enjoy. Whether it’s a look at the executive bureaucracy that makes these sports tick, or a refreshing take on the underrepresented women in the industry, these shows should do the trick.
Spencer Strasmore is a former NFL player who finds himself wondering what to do in his retirement. Instead of moving away from the world of football altogether, he makes it his life mission to guide younger players with all the sage wisdom and advice he could’ve used in his heyday. Played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, somehow even the role of a sports financial manager becomes pretty cool.
Friday Night Lights
Nothing is quite as dramatic as high school. Addled with the pressures of success—from sports to relationships and family life—the teens of Friday Night Lights remain some of the most recognizable figures of small-town American life. If the compassion of All American is really what tugs on your heartstrings, give this classic a try.
The Hockey Girls
If you also love the romantic-language flair of French high school series Elite, then The Hockey Girls (or Les de l’hoquei in Castellano), is your sports-fueled match. This group of seven friends are just trying their best at school, life, and love—and they’re trying to get the same respect as the boy’s roller hockey team, while they’re at it.
Take a nod from Ballers’ in that athletes definitely need financial managers, and suddenly, the dire circumstances of Lights Out become all the more gripping. Famed boxer Patrick “Lights” Leary is ready to retire after being diagnosed with a form of dementia caused by his bouts in the ring. But when he realizes all his savings have been squandered, he considers the unthinkable: Playing his luck in the ring once more.
Skins fans will recognize Kaya Scodelario in this Netflix Original playing a character who, while not quite as destructive as the UK series’ Effy, is pushing herself to the brink just as often. Spinning Out follows the life of this competitive figure skater, gunning for a place on the U.S. Olympic team.
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