Tltletown Excessive, a brand new sequence debuting on Netflix this week, is aware of how a lot soccer issues in America. The NFL issues, school soccer issues—however in lots of locations, nothing issues greater than the ball performed on Friday nights, and that’s very true someplace like Valdosta, Georgia, a spot with a convention of—and an insatiable starvation for—profitable, and profitable massive. Valdosta hasn’t received a title in many years, although, and big-time coach Rush Propst has been introduced in to vary that.
Opening Shot: A sluggish panning shot over sleepy Valdosta, Georgia, a big highschool soccer stadium, a highschool nationwide championship trophy, and archival footage of soccer video games previous. “Valdosta is a spot the place it doesn’t matter a lot the way you play the sport… it issues that you just win,” a newscaster shares.
The Gist: Soccer means an ideal deal to individuals throughout this nation, however there are some locations the place it simply means extra. A kind of locations is Valdosta, a city of 56,000 in south Georgia, as soon as named “Titletown Excessive” in a nationwide competitors run by ESPN. It’s dwelling to perennial Division II NCAA soccer energy Valdosta State, and in addition Valdosta Excessive College—acknowledged because the winningest highschool soccer program in America, with declare to 6 nationwide championships, two dozen Georgia state championships, and 42 regional championships. The final of these nationwide titles was in 1992, although, and the football-mad locals demand extra. Enter Rush Propst—a coach with a resume filled with each wins and controversies at his earlier stops. Can he ship a title to Titletown? What’s it going to require of his gamers?
What Reveals Will It Remind You Of? It’s unimaginable to do a present about highschool soccer and never be reminded of Friday Night Lights to a point, however the greater comparability is MTV’s mid-august actuality present Two-A-Days, which featured a Propst-coached group similar to this one. There’s additionally sturdy hints of Netflix’s latest cheerleading actuality present Cheer.
Our Take: There’s a purpose tv exhibits get made about highschool sports activities, and that’s as a result of highschool is an limitless supply of drama. Hormones and feelings run excessive, decision-making abilities aren’t finely honed, and the whole lot simply looks as if it issues a lot. Throw within the pressures of competing in soccer in a spot the place gamers are thought-about heroes, and it’s simple to see how one can get a season’s price of drama.
Titletown Excessive places the teenager drama first, organising the relationships between gamers and girlfriends, the courting developments and angst surrounding a Sweet Sixteen dance on the nation membership. There’s classroom scenes and player introductions, honing in on a number of key figures. Junior quarterback Amari Jones has moved to Valdosta from Atlanta with the expectation of being the group’s starter, however his plans are upended by the arrival of Jake Garcia, a USC commit and one of many nation’s prime quarterback recruits. Garcia, a California native transferring in to squeeze in a senior season despite his dwelling state’s COVID restrictions, wows together with his sturdy arm and accuracy, and rapidly turns into the presumptive starter. However a big a part of the pilot episode is spent with youngsters driving round in vehicles, a construction clearly harking back to numerous MTV actuality exhibits.
The pilot involves a head with Valdosta’s 2020 season-opening recreation, although a lot of the digicam’s time is spent on response photographs—from gamers on the sidelines, followers and cheerleaders, coaches, and nervous dad and mom within the stands. It’s thrilling, however it’s not as tightly-focused on the sport itself as in different Netflix sports activities dramas like final yr’s wonderful Basketball or Nothing.
Intercourse and Pores and skin: Nothing.
Parting Shot: We’re left clinging to the sting of a cliff, as Valdosta trails rival Warner Robins of their season-opening recreation, and a second-half rally is interrupted by an obvious harm that pushes Garcia to the sideline and Jones again into the sport. The credit roll abruptly, and we don’t get to see what occurs till Episode 2.
Sleeper Star: The quiet, centered Amari doesn’t generate as a lot noise as among the relationship-focused teenagers within the first episode, however his quarterback competitors story appears to have probably the most compelling potential. “I’m not a benchwarmer,” he broods, “however I can’t present emotion.”
Most Pilot-y Line: “I feel in forty years of teaching, Jake Garcia has the very best arm I’ve ever coached. Each ball he throws has some zing on it,” Propst effuses about his newly-arrived presumptive QB1. “Clearly the quarterback that has the fewest weaknesses goes to be the starter,” he notes, however it’s clear this competitors goes to hold by way of the season.
Our Name: SKIP IT. A soccer present set in a highschool is by necessity going to be a combination of sports activities drama and teenage drama, however there’s a bit an excessive amount of teen cleaning soap opera within the combine in Titletown Excessive to raise it above MTV reality-show ranges.
Scott Hines is an architect, blogger and web consumer who lives in Louisville, Kentucky together with his spouse, two younger kids, and a small, loud canine.
https://decider.com/2021/08/30/titletown-high-netflix-review/ | Stream It or Skip It?