‘The Last Dance’ Mania: New Documentaries on Tiger Woods, the ’86 Mets in the Works

     July 9, 2020

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I love The Last Dance. The 10-part ESPN/Netflix series dove into the bonkers life and unimpeachable basketball career of one Mr. Michael Jordan, culminating with his last championship run with the Chicago Bulls. It was gripping, exacting, emotion-driven, and nostalgia-baiting television I slurped down with unbridled glee. Clearly, the rest of television has noticed. Two more sports docuseries have been announced: One about Tiger Woods, and one about the 1986 New York Mets.

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Image via www.Pixel.la Free Stock Photos / CC0

Tiger is being developed at HBO and HBO Max by directors Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land) and Matthew Hamachek (Amanda Knox). Woods’ story is an undeniably fascinating one — he’s one of the greatest golfers to ever play the predominantly white game; at his peak, a public superstar rivaling Jordan in ubiquity. And he also fell, hard, thanks to a salacious sex scandal in which it was revealed he cheated constantly on his wife. Tiger promises to dive into all of this and thensome, using Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian’s best-selling book Tiger Woods as its source, and speaking with folks like Woods’ caddy and friend Steve Williams, biographer Pete McDaniel, and the woman at the center of the sex scandal, Rachel Uchitel. Interestingly enough, though: Unlike The Last Dance, Woods himself does not appear to be directly involved. Will this result in a much more candid, albeit unauthorized documentary? What kind of talking head memes will we be missing without Woods himself chatting?

Here’s what Heineman and Hamacheck had to say about the two-part series:

Since his introduction to the world at the age of two, Tiger Woods has inhabited our collective consciousness as a prodigy, a pioneer, a champion, a global icon, and then a tabloid headline. After months of research and countless hours of revelatory conversations, we discovered that he has always been a projection of outsized expectations. His father, his sponsors, and his fans all made Tiger Woods into whom they wanted him to be. Our goal was to dive deeper and create an unflinching and intimate portrait of a man, who like all of us, is imperfect and inherently human.

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Image via Jeff Marquis / CC 2.0

As for the ’86 Mets, that team’s notorious exploits and season are being developed as a multi-part 30 for 30 at ESPN (per Deadline). With superstars and outsized personalities like Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, and Lenny Dykstra at the center of their team, they bucked the odds and managed to win the World Series — all while making headlines for their outrageous, excessive behaviors along the way (The Wolf of Wall Street meets Moneyball?). The series will be inspired by the book The Bad Guys Won from author Jeff Pearlman, directed by Nick Davis (Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived), and executive produced in part by Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel himself tweeted this: “This one is going to be a lot of fun…”

Listen: Are these series somewhat calculated-feeling, in response to The Last Dance? Maybe. Am I going to watch both of them? One bajillion percent, yes. Play ball!

Tiger comes to HBO and HBO Max December 13 and December 20, 2020. The ’86 Mets 30 for 30 will come to ESPN on an as-of-yet-unannounced date. For more on “gripping nostalgic sports content,” check out the latest intel on Showtime, about a golden age of the Los Angeles Lakers.

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