Steve Jobs was “insanely great”. These folks aren’t insane but they apparently have a ‘Greatness Code’. Not that they actually say what that is.
This is Apple’s ‘short form’ documentary series. Emphasis on short. Like 5-8 mins short including credits. However what it does visually within that time is quite something.
Using animation styles like rotoscoping, 3D, vector animation and more, each episode visualises a story one of these sporting legends tell. The stories are... okay. They don’t exactly give you any insight into their ‘Greatness Code’ though.
The animation luckily more than makes up for it. Largely in a noir black and white style and then layering splashes of colour on top, they’re short films that are worth watching several times. They’re playful, beautiful, intense, funny and just visually brilliant. It’s hard to describe fully so here's the trailer.
Should this be on Apple TV+?
So this brings us to the heart of this article:
I don’t think this should be on Apple TV+. Or at the very least Apple should have handled it differently.
If you look at the Apple press page for the show it only has 14 images and 7 are B&W stills of the athletes. The other images are not even the best stills either. The main key art is fine I guess but it doesn’t give you any flavour of the brilliant dynamic visuals you get when you watch it. It all seems very lacking.
Then there’s the episodes themselves. They’re great but only around 6 minutes or less when you take away credits. It really just feels like you’ve watched a Youtube video. (A bloody good one!) Could they not have looped them together into chapters in one 45 minute Doc? Sure you can watch them in a row but there’s credits and fast forwarding and so on.
So why is it on Apple TV+? It’s not going to bring in many new subscribers just for 45 minutes of content.
Well, the clue may be in who directed it. Gotham Chopra. He previously made the Kobe Bryant film ‘Muse’ which broke all kinds of records when it aired on Showtime. He made on about his Dad, Deepak. He was also a friend of Michael Jackson when he was younger (Jackson was 10 years older).
What’s Gotham going to do next? I don’t know, but you know Apple will be interested. He has good connections and will probably make headline worthy long form content. So I wonder wether Apple are more invested in the person behind the camera than the visuals on screen.
Which is a huge shame because this show is well worth your time. It was like mainlining pure visual joy straight into my eyeballs. This would have looked amazing on the big screen. It’s sad that it’s less accessible on Apple TV+ and because Apple has been soft on promotion, many won’t know it exists.
It doesn't really fit in with the rest of their lineup and I think Apple knows that.
However, I hugely encourage you check it out. I know you have 45 minutes spare. Here are some teases: