08th Jul2020

‘Home Game’ Review (Netflix Original)

by Rhys Payne

Home Game is a Netflix original series that raises awareness of country-specific games that are not too popular in mainstream culture, as well as discussing the rules and its players. One of the most fantastic things about this series is that when the players are interviewed they talk in the national language of the country the sport is from; maintaining the key cultural aspects of the sport involved and helps truly keep the sport deeply embedded in the country it is from.

The show has clearly researched these sports themselves but also the places they originated in and so it is respectful to the cultures being discussed. Home Game interviews players of the game the episode is discussing, with interviewees using their native language. This does allow for a deep understanding of the game and cultures, although at certain points this moves the focus off the game itself and onto the people instead – the show is titled Home Game after all and so really the game should be the main subject. The creative team behind Home Game utilise diagrams and graphics to clearly and simply describe the game to the audience at home – as some of the games are rather complex; so much so that for a show to be able to make these games easy to understand is very clever!

Home Game is absolutely a show for a more mature audience as it is very intense. In the opening episode there is a massive amount of graphic violence as the game is entirely based around fighting your opponents to clear a path, to allow your teammates to get from one side of the pitch to the other. Home Game also contains very strong language throughout most episodes but also there are some triggering scenes depicting near-death experiences/medical emergencies. These scenes were very intense and somewhat difficult to watch due to how realistic they were portrayed. Due to these gripping and intense scenes alongside the whole show being about sports it was a perfect series for me and my father to watch; we were able to both enjoy the show and talk about other sports we enjoy.

Personally, there were two episodes of Home Game that I really enjoyed. The first is where they were discussing the Highland Games tournament, the second was a unique sport called Catch Fetiche. Catch is a strange hybrid of classic wrestling combined with some of the voodoo traditions of Conga to add a super theatrical aspect to the shows. In the middle of a match, a wrestler will cast “spells” or a “curse” on their opponents, which adds a unique twist. I never thought that I would enjoy a sport which combines wrestling and voodoo but from the show, I can tell the atmosphere at such an event would be electric.

Overall, Home Game a very intense show perfect for a mature audience who are passionate about sport. I would advise this is viewing for teenagers (say approx 15+ years) and up only because of the violence and triggering scenes but if you are in that age group then this show is insanely gripping. With Home Game I believe the producers have found a format that they could continue for many more series as there are many undiscovered local sports!

****½  4.5/5

Home Game is available on Netflix now.


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