The first two episodes of the new Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance premiered on ESPN in the US on Sunday, with Netflix following suit on Monday for other countries around the world.
The series, directed by Jason Hehir, explores the Chicago Bulls’ fractious 1997-98 season, in which tensions mounted between star player Jordan and the franchise’s front office.
Ahead of its release, the documentary received unanimously positive feedback from critics, while audiences have echoed that reaction since the series dropped.
The Independent gave the documentary five stars, citing Hehir’s ability to balance seemingly limitless archive footage against insightful, exclusive interviews with an extensive list of contributors in the present day.
The New York Times similarly praised the “absurdly, almost comically exhaustive” set of interviewees, which includes former president and Chicago native Barack Obama.
Meanwhile, Deadline compared the series to ESPN’s Oscar-winning OJ: Made In America documentary from 2016, noting the consistency of depth in each feature over their lengthy running times.
The Guardian praised The Last Dance for accurately capturing the competitive essence of Jordan, declaring that to watch the documentary is “to understand who Michael Jordan really was: as pure a competitive animal as professional sport has ever seen”.
Elsewhere, Vulture highlighted Hehir’s willingness to touch upon the complexity of Jordan’s character as one of the standout qualities of the series.
The first two episodes of The Last Dance are available to watch on Netflix and ESPN now, and the remaining episodes will air in weekly, double-bill instalments – on Sundays on ESPN in the US and on Mondays on Netflix for the rest of the world.
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