It’s genuinely surprising to see Greatness Code receive the negative feedback that it did when it released back in 2020. At the end of the day, AppleTV’s docu-series was never intended to be a show-stopping, in-depth breakdown of athletes and their illustrious career.
Instead, this visual hybrid of different animated styles combined with a simple but effective narrative about big wins in different athletes’ lives. It certainly wasn’t ground-breaking but it did have some good messages to help inspire you.
Perhaps more surprising than the negativity, is the fact that Apple went ahead and green-lit a sequel anyway. With a bit more time to flesh out stories, this second season grabs the talents of six different individuals from sports around the globe and essentially rehashes the same formula the first time around.
If you were put off by that, then this follow-up is unlikely to change your mind. However, there are some good stories here, and the athletes chosen are unique and interesting in their own way.
Marcus Rashford kicks things off, although it’s slightly bemusing to see his current torrid run of form in the Premier League almost completely ignored. Instead, we focus on his debut back in 2016 during the Europa League. There’s also Brazilian skater Leticia Bufoni, inspirational Paralympian Scout Bassett and American football quarterback Russell Wilson, to name a few.
Like most of the content on AppleTV, this one is geared almost predominantly toward American athletes, although that should come as no surprise to those who watched the first season.
Visually, the series pretty much adheres to the same stylistic ticks it did the first time around, so expect black and white couch interviews to be overlapped with hedonistic visuals, abstract graphics and archival footage from that specific moment, all mashed up together to form this series.
Again, how much you get out of Greatness Code will depend on how you felt about the first season. Personally, I think the format works quite well to introduce these different athletes and gain a snapshot of their psyche at those moments of Greatness that defined that athlete.
This is nowhere near as in-depth as it could be, and doesn’t boast the same illustrious star power the first season did, but that won’t bother fans of the show. Greatness Code is a simple, enjoyable glimpse at different athletes during key moments of their career. It’s a nice little burst of inspiration, even if it’s unlikely to ignite the small screen any time soon.
Greatness Code drops on AppleTV+ worldwide Friday 13th May!
Verdict - 6.5/10