Five part football (soccer) documentary series Phenoms is an absorbing, surprisingly unbiased look at up and coming young talent around the world in preparation for the World Cup later on this month. Filmed in various countries around the world and combining a mixture of archival footage and in-game action, Phenoms is the perfect documentary for any football enthusiast looking for something to tide them over until the World Cup.
Each episode has a distinct flavour to it – looking at the different positions on the pitch and specific roles each footballer takes. After a brief introduction to the position in question and why it’s so important to the formation of the squad, Phenoms introduces a handful of key players during the opening credits that are then explored in more detail during the 50 minute episodes. From Senegal to Portugal through to Russia and Uruguay, Phenoms does a great job showcasing talent across the globe and this fresh perspective on talent helps to keep the documentary moving forward at a consistent pace.
Each of the episodes combine voice-overs and subtitles for foreign players which are then accompanied by a mixture of archival footage for their country’s World Cup and shots of their matches and training sessions. Face to face interviews help to pad out each episode with further narration by Gordon Ramsay used to bridge the establishing shots between each country. While the set-up sounds a little chaotic, the execution is generally very good with the sporadic way the series jumps between countries and players keeping the series flowing at a decent pace.
The set up for each episode is unchanged for the most part, providing a respectful amount of time to showcase the players and their personal feelings toward playing for their country. There’s also a decent amount of up to date footage from 2016-2017 club games to show them in action which certainly helps for those less accustomed to names like Dávinson Sánchez, Aleksandr Selikhov and Kenny Tete.
Phenoms may not be the best footballing documentary out there but as an insightful, intriguing build up to the World Cup, this 5 part mini-series ticks all the boxes. Ending with a shot of the World Cup trophy at the end of every episode, Phenoms is a hopeful, exciting look at the young talent rising through the ranks around the world who may well make a name for themselves this summer at the World Cup.
Verdict - 8.5/10