The only thing sports fans may enjoy more than watching an actual game is watching a high-quality sports documentary. One great example: ESPN’s 10-part Michael Jordan miniseries, The Last Dance. Another is the hugely popular Netflix series Last Chance U, which follows junior college football teams through their ups and downs.
The first two seasons of Last Chance U chronicled East Mississippi Community College’s team. Seasons three and four followed the Independence Community College of Kansas team. Season five, which debuts July 28, 2020, documents Oakland’s Laney College team. Here’s what to expect from season five as well as Netflix’s surprising plans for the Last Chance U‘s future.
What to expect from Last Chance U season five
In at least one big way, season five of Last Chance U should be something of a shift. The first four seasons focused on players who were trying to revive their careers playing for “last-ditch” JUCO teams. While Laney College is also a JUCO school, it’s hardly an underdog when it comes to competitive athletics. In fact, the Laney Eagles are the No. 1-ranked JUCO football team in the country.
John Beam, the Eagles’ coach, was quick to point out that distinction last August. “I told them we’re not Last Chance U, ” Beam was quoted as saying at that time, according to the Mercury News. “We’re your first chance. We’re your Best Chance U.” Fans are already hoping that attitude will introduce a new wrinkle into Last Chance U, perhaps leading to drama if the season doesn’t unfold as smoothly expected.
Fans also look forward to the presence of Beam himself. Beam has been a football coach for a 40-year span. He spent 22 years as the coach of Skyline High, leading the Titans to an impressive 160-33-3 record and 11 section championships. He should prove a colorful and inspiring central figure around which the season can develop.
Netflix announces a change to future Last Chance U seasons
While announcing the premiere of season five of Last Chance U, Netflix also dropped a bombshell regarding the future of the show. They casually announced that the show will no longer focus on football programs starting in season six. Instead, they will switch gears to the world of basketball.
This series will technically be a spinoff, with the name Last Chance U: Basketball, and should premiere in 2021. That change comes as something of a surprise, given the previous focus of the highly popular show. It’s also surprising that Netflix has chosen to abandon the two-seasons-per-team formula they’ve applied so far.
Looking ahead to season six
At least one thing will remain the same when Last Chance U: Basketball finally premieres: like its predecessor, that show will also focus solely on JUCO teams. The showrunners have already announced that the first basketball season will focus on the East LA College Huskies.
Many Last Chance U fans have lamented the switch to basketball. Others have pointed out that the show should pursue both courses. While many football-only fans may abandon the show after season five, plenty of others will likely stick around for the new focus on JUCO hoops.
It’s also important to recognize that the switch to basketball may even improve the show. Because basketball rosters feature fewer players, the new iteration of Last Chance U will get the chance to do even more of what it does best: focusing on individual players’ stories. Regardless of the sport, this human element is what makes sports documentaries so powerful.