Anti-climactic, boring, chronologically-confusing, and disappointing, to say the least!
The above ABCDs of Netflix’s second season of Formula 1: Drive to Survive says it all! I really don’t know what was more disappointing, the cancellation of the first handful of races for the 2020 F1 season, or how bad Season 2 of Drive to Survive was?
For those who aren’t familiar with Drive to Survive, it is a sports documentary produced by Netflix, which follows the teams and drivers from the Formula 1. In Season 1, the film producers captured the 2018 season perfectly, camera crews following the main players from the teams, from pre-season right through to the final race of the year! What we loved about the first season was how they made racing into a completely compelling production, for both race fans and non-fans alike – featuring a different team and driver per episode, and by telling their story they managed to tell the unfolding tale of the 2018 season, developing both driver and the main stories from that year in a logical and riveting way.
However unfortunately for Season 2, Season 1 had set the bar so high, and had already told so many of the back stories for both drivers and Team principals alike, that they frankly didn’t have many new compelling stories to tell in Season 2! Yes, we all thought that with Mercedes and Ferrari joining in for S2, that it would add more flavour to the story line – as they’re the high-flying teams of the championship. But sadly not, neither Lewis Hamilton nor Sebastian Vettel were featured much in their respective episodes, so they were there, but we didn’t learn anything new from either of them – to the extent that, I don’t believe that Lewis was even properly interviewed once for a sound grab. Also, the entire prancing horses’ story was woven into an episode which featured multiple other teams and drivers – being a Ferrari fan, this left me wanting MORE!
We were hoping as the Drive to Survive season went on, they were setting us viewers up for a dramatic conclusion! But unfortunately not, the 10th episode was just as low gear as Episode 1 was- meaning that it never really went anywhere exciting. Like doing laps of an empty car park.
DtS was boring, half of the time I was zoning out mid-episode as there was nothing interesting to really capture my full attention. And half of the time I was just hoping the episode would end, so I could go and watch something else.
In the first season, as each driver’s story was developed it was positioned nicely in the midst of the season, so as the driver’s story was told, it inevitably told the story of the 2018 season. But for season 2, it was chronologically-confusing, with early episodes starting their stories mid-season, when the other half of the time the driver stories were jumping back-and-forth chronologically, so you couldn’t get a good sense of how the 2019 season was actually unfolding. So much so that they had to do a little 5 minute montage at the end, to summarise how the 2019 season ended, with Lewis achieving his 5th world championship! Not to mention, if a documentary is well produced, the primary interviews would already tell the story- no need for a narrator to jump in to tell you what’s going on. But this season was so confusing, and the stories so unclear- they had to bring in a F1 analyst to give 10 second sound grabs now and again to develop and to push on the narrative of the episode, pretty poor really.
And boiling right down to it, it was DISAPPOINTING! Even more so, as now we know that much of the 2020 season is already lost due to Covid19, thus much of the cliff-hangers they were building up to, teasing a 3rd season of Drive to Survive? We know that it isn’t going to happen. So season 2 was a pure disappointment, meanwhile season 3 will probably be wiped out as well?
In the end, if failure and disappointment is deemed to be drama-worthy, and binge-worthy viewing? Then that is where the film-makers focused their full attention – focusing on all the negative storylines from 2019 and the drivers on the edge of success and failure. While at the pointy end of the competition, where your Hamiltons and Vettels reside, they hardly spent any time with them on the podium. But instead we were made to watch the grim stuff – deaths on the track, relegation to a lower tier team, and high hopes not meeting high expectations. To me, this ain’t compelling viewing.
But if you still haven’t been put off by my scathing review, you can view Formula 1: Drive to Survive HERE!