In a world where everything can change in an instant, athletes become heroes of their crafts with down-to-the-wire plays. But what truly christens them as great doesn’t appear on a scoreboard or podium, according to Apple TV+’s latest documentary series, Greatness Code.
In seven episodes co-produced by Uninterrupted and Religion of Sports, director and executive producer Gotham Chopra and team pose a highly introspective question to the superstars of a variety of sports. At what moment in your career did you feel “great?” In response, viewers get surprising and personal accounts from legends like basketball’s LeBron James, football’s Tom Brady, soccer’s Alex Morgan, track and field’s Usain Bolt, boarding’s Shaun White, swimming’s Katie Ledecky, and surfing’s Kelly Slater. Woah, that’s a lot of medals and championships between the cast!
We rang Chopra for the details on his new show and to hear what it was like working with the best of the best in sports—or as he describes, fellow “artists.”
With episodes eight minutes or less, the docu-series keeps things short-form. And the colorful descriptions by athletes makes it feel like you’re hearing a bedtime story. Icons get emotional about their “wins” and “losses”—terms not necessarily aligning with the sports definition as much as an individualized one.
Visuals act as another dominant aspect of the series. Filmmakers shot interviews in black and white. Plus, Chopra nabbed sports animation vet, Lauren Fisher, to head animation. Fisher brought the words of athletes alive with quirky and bright doodles and scenes. The animation in the series as a whole most definitely leaves an impact on viewers. Also, it combines with the rawness of interviews to create a casual storytelling atmosphere in contrast to more serious, drab documentaries.
The resulting series came from the visions of Chopra, Fisher, and a group of familiar faces in sports production: executive producers Maverick Carter, Ameeth Sankaran, and Devin Johnson.
Greatness Code premiered July 10, 2020 on Apple TV+. All seven episodes are currently available to stream. For a sneak peak, check out the trailer below: