Human Playground Season 1 Review – An inspirational sport docuseries
Breaking the Pain Barrier
An Ancient Ritual
Rites of Passage
In Pursuit of Perfection
Being able to accomplish what we think is impossible, it’s difficult to define. After I completed my first half-marathon, was flooded with tears, overwhelmed by emotion. For some, watching something as dramatic as an event like the London Marathon is enough to make them feel inspired and impressed. What is the reason we endure so much pain? Why do we look for what we believe is inconceivable?
Netflix’s latest sports documentary, Human Playground, explores all aspects of this topic by examining a range of extreme sports, from dangerous free-diving and ice diving to drifting in race cars and sumo wrestling. Each chapter runs about 40 minutes or so and, with the narration of Idris Elba, it shines the spotlight on various athletes from every aspect of life.
The first episode focuses on the barrier to pain and the way for you to get over it and onto the opposite side. From ultramarathons or swimming on ice water, the camera offers a wide-angle glimpse of some uncomfortable experiences for these guys and women who are confronting the full range of discomfort in full force.
Another episode is quite different from this, and is appropriately called “In Pursuit of Perfection”. A truly impressive image of the entire series is shown here, featuring the surfer able to ride an enormous wave and do it with perfection.
In between these episodes are chapters on how we integrate games into ritualistic or tribal ceremonies of passage. Meanwhile, the final episode shifts the focus to the business aspects of extreme sports as well as our insatiable desire to be amazed and enthused by these activities.
Through the six episodes, there’s an authentic effort to bring in the best athletes and sportsmen from all over the globe and it’s a joy to watch. It’s not uncommon to see these docu-series on streaming services, and they’re primarily targeted toward Americans (looking at the example of AppleTV.)
Although the US produces some amazing athletes, with more than 200 countries around the world It’s great to see a docu-series such as this that actively seeks out individuals from every aspect of life to interview and participate.
The chapters are divided into 5 various parts. In each, we are getting to know different athletes. The athletes are interviewed on their history aspirations, hopes, and dreams for the future and then we follow their journey through the dangerous world of their sport and the goals they’re aiming to reach. If their endeavor is a success (or not, based on the specific episode) then we move on to the next athlete and country.
The format actually works well, and there’s definitely a lot to love about this particular show. The graphics are amazing and the interviewees are insightful and able to take you inside the mind of the people when they attempt to accomplish the seemingly impossible. It’s impossible not to walk out inspired by some of the accomplishments.
If you’re in search of an all-encompassing sports documentary that includes jaw-dropping pictures, Human Playground is well worth a look.
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