Sports documentaries are experiencing a significant expansion, with outlets from ESPN to HBO to Showtime to Epix to NFL Films and more getting in on them, and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are starting to make impacts in that arena as well. Netflix announced the “Last Chance U” documentary miniseries (available now) on East Mississippi Community College’s football team back in June, and now they’re taking a look at another lesser-known area of sport: the Professional Bull Riders series. The six-part documentary series Fearless, following a group of top riders from the U.S. and Brazil who compete in PBR, will be available for streaming August 19. Here’s the trailer:
Here’s more on the series, from a Netflix publicist’s release:
From the first scene (a miked-up rider sprawled on the dirt, coming to consciousness after being knocked out), this is not your traditional sports documentary. It’s an unvarnished, raw, and honest look at a brutal yet beautiful sport. The Brazilian riders are a tight-knit band of brothers in a strange land doing what they love most while confronting mental, emotional, and physical challenges. They have real fears, which they fight every day.
And here’s more on it from PBR.com:
Fearless follows a group of professional bull riders training to reach the top of their sport. Hailing from homegrown roots in the United States and Brazil, Fearless chronicles the riders’ journeys through the PBR’s U.S. riding circuit to the massive Barretos event in the state of São Paulo and ultimately the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas. Over six episodes we meet the world’s best bull riders and their personal lives are brought into focus in a way never before featured in documentary programming.
Professional bull riding certainly isn’t the highest-profile sport out there, but it may prove to be fertile ground indeed for a documentary like this. The trailer illustrates just how much danger there can be here, and also has some notable comments from the riders and their families. There should be plenty of opportunities for good storytelling, and it’s territory that’s not already well-known to the majority of sports fans. We’ll see how this turns out for Netflix, but it’s certainly an interesting arena for them to venture into, and it makes sense as part of both sports documentaries’ expansion overall and Netflix’s expanding lineup of sports content.