Monday, May 24, 2021

TV: Disney+ Sports Dramedy Double Feature

The Disney+ streaming service is in a bit of a lull right now. WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier are over, Loki doesn't start until June 9, and the next season of The Mandalorian hasn't even been announced.

However, if you're a fan of kids sports movies, the kind where a ragtag bunch of misfits triumphs against overwhelming odds, Disney+ has you covered! The House of Mouse is airing two series that I'm enjoying more than I thought I would:

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers

I have vague memories of the original Mighty Ducks movies, mostly of Emilio Estevez mugging for the camera and a bunch of kids quacking on a hockey rink. The sequel/reboot TV series brings Estevez back with Lauren Graham, a new set of kids, and the Cobra Kai-like premise of the original Mighty Ducks team now being the bad guys - the elitist, bullying jocks who are playing sports for all the wrong reasons. It takes awhile for the underdog team on the show to gel into something more than a caricature, but the child actors do a good job. Game Changers pulls off that tough balancing act with kids' shows - it's lighthearted and predictable, without being bland:

Big Shot

John Stamos hit it real, real big with Full House, but his subsequent lead roles have been...hit-or-miss (Anyone remember Thieves?). In Big Shot, he submerges his Uncle Jesse charisma into the prickly-but-loveable Marvyn Korn, a Bobby Knight-esque champion coach who is kicked from NCAA men's hoops when he throws a chair at a ref. Korn finds himself taking a coaching job at an all-girl's high school with a motley crew of students, faculty, and parents. It's a sometimes-corny mix of the sensibilities of creators David E. Kelley (Boston Public), Dean Lorey, and Brad Garret, with sometimes-cringeworthy acting, but by gum, it works: 


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