Welcome to the Saints, Young Man
My Brother’s Keeper
Like Son, Like Father
Any Darn Day
We are: The Brooklyn Saints is, in its simplest form, a mash-up of All Or Nothing, Last Chance U and last year’s cheerleading drama, Cheer. With a familiar fly on the wall approach, lots of underdog comeback games and plenty of ensuing drama both on and off the field, Brooklyn Saints is another reminder of just how endearing these sport tales are.
Here though our focus is squarely on the Brooklyn Saints, a youth football program emanating deep in the heart of Brooklyn. As we’re told early on by voice-over narration, Brooklyn itself has pretty negative connotations with the wider world, synonymous with shootings and crime.
As someone who was born and raised in a region known as “Crimewater” (the media’s clever wordplay on Shinewater) it’s sometimes tough to shake off those preconceptions and highlight some of the more positives aspects of a troubled area.
Brooklyn Saints then is a docu-series determined to do just this, showing a much larger community coming together to give talented young men and women opportunities in life.
We Are: The Brooklyn Saints is a series that personifies traits of teamwork, discipline and hunger. These kids are hungry for success and disciplined to achieve this, even if things go wrong. And things do inevitably go wrong. While the football on the pitch flits between heavy losses and triumphant wins, it’s what happens off the field that garners the most amount of attention – and screen-time.
The earlier ideas about breaking stereotypical views ultimately allows the filmmakers to really dive into the mindsets and lives of various different players, parents and coaches. This is a show that values its characters above the football on the field, with specific emphasis on kids, D-Lo and Kenan.
Unfortunately We Are: The Brooklyn Saints only really dives deeply into these two players, losing some of the intensity and poignancy these later episodes could have had with a more broad perspective across numerous different children. This is especially prevalent during those aforementioned passionate speeches and team talks rallying the players to make a big comeback.
Unlike All Or Nothing, which balances its characters and football action beautifully, We Are: The Brooklyn Saints feels a little too skewed toward the characters. Don’t get me wrong, the series has some cracking moments on the pitch but it’s ultimately what happens off the pitch that’s given the central focus here. While Brooklyn Saints is a competent enough docu-series, it loses some intensity that could have made it a home run.