The Miscast Champion
The Jaws Of Victory
Lost In The Desert
The 72nd Hole
In a world where winning is everything, Netflix’s latest sport documentary series takes a slightly different viewpoint on the topic. Showcasing how a flurry of failures have led to some of the greatest stories in sporting history, Losers is a well written, light documentary series that does well to showcase 8 incredibly diverse stories.
From an athlete wandering off course at the Marathon Des Sables to Torquay United football club defying belief and managing to stay in the football league, Losers combines an oddly amusing slant to proceedings with amazing tales of bravery, perseverance and courage. Each episode is set up in much the same way, beginning with a face to face interview discussing the event at hand. From here, the 20-30 minute episodes break down the history of each feat, adding in some helpful exposition to those not quite familiar with the sports being depicted.
Stylistically, most episodes walk a fine line between humour and real life drama. This works surprisingly well too, with cartoon animations used to break up the archival footage, stock photographs and face to face interviews that dominate each episode. These cartoons are aesthetically distinctive too, with bold, predominant colours standing out against a mostly black and white background. These colours change in each episode as well which helps keep things tonally consistent throughout the series.
Netflix have done surprisingly well here to showcase a range of different and unusual tales for this documentary series. From curling and boxing through to running and golf, each episode depicts a different sport, helping to give the series a fresh perspective each time. It’s also nice to see some of the more unusual sports given some air time with my personal favourite being the Marathon Des Sables. Being an avid runner myself, this race has really piqued my interest and seeing it get some well-deserved air time is really nice to see.
Now, it is worth mentioning that the first episode presents a flurry of swearing pretty early on which may put some people off. Even more so considering the rest of the series doesn’t really repeat this at all. The musical score is a little hit or miss as well, with the mischievous string segments during the Torquay United episode almost bordering on it feeling like a parody. Still, despite these gripes there’s a consistent tone throughout the series that keeps things moving along at a decent pace.
In a culture that always seem to portray losing as the worst thing in the world, Losers is a refreshing take of an age-old adage. After all, champions need title-winning contenders to push them all the way and those big victories are all the more sweeter after a flurry of losses. Armed with a slightly comedic tone, Losers is a light, engaging series that showcases some extraordinary stories in an easily digestible manner. There’s certainly scope here for a second season and given the sheer number of extraordinary stories out there where heroes rise from the embers of defeat, it’ll be great if Netflix can keep this series going.