Greatness Code

TV review by
Ashley Moulton, Common Sense Media
Greatness Code TV Poster Image
World's best athletes inspire with their success stories.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

This mostly entertaining series shows athletes modeling positive behavior. The behind-the-scenes action gives viewers a window into the life of a professional athlete.

Positive Messages

Athletes talk about how they overcame obstacles and practiced really hard to succeed, express gratitude toward teammates. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Professional athletes talk about the value of perseverance, hard work, teamwork. Featured athletes are somewhat diverse. Two are Black, two are women. Women are shown as fierce athletic competitors.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language

LeBron James episode is worst language offender: James says "ass" twice and there's a bleeped "f--k." Usain Bolt says "like a bat out of hell." Otherwise, episodes don't contain offending language.

Consumerism

Product placement throughout since athletes wear uniforms with sponsor logos. LeBron James jokes that he wishes he could bottle up his "nothing" feeling and the graphic is a Sprite-esque bottle that says "nothing" as the brand.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

LeBron James compares his basketball expertise to being an expert sommelier, so there are graphic animations of a wine bottle and wine glass.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Greatness Code is a documentary series featuring professional athletes talking about career-defining moments. There is some mild language in some of the episodes, but others are completely clean. In Season 1, the LeBron James episode is the worst language offender, with "ass" and a bleeped but strongly implied "f--k." Because the athletes are wearing uniforms, there is product placement throughout the series, though it's not emphasized or lingered on. There's a fleeting reference to wine in the James episode. Overall, sports fans will enjoy hearing stories from some of the greatest athletes across various sports, and there are some great messages about perseverance, teamwork, and the value of hard work.

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What's the story?

Each seven- or eight-minute short in GREATNESS CODE features a professional athlete telling the story behind the most important moment of his or her career. The athletes featured are some of the GOATs (Greatest of All Time) in their various sports, like Shaun White (snowboarding), Katie Ledecky (swimming), and Usain Bolt (track and field). As they tell their story, the documentary cuts between the interview itself, footage from the event, and animated renderings. The athletes talk about why that moment was so significant and share the behind-the-scenes story of what really happened. The athletes' competitive spirit, perseverance, and commitment to their teammates shine through.

Is it any good?

Overall, this series is enjoyable -- especially for kids who like sports -- but there's some degree of variability in the quality of the storytelling. Quarterback Tom Brady talking about his perfect performance in a blowout game against the Buffalo Bills is less compelling than hearing Katie Ledecky telling the story of winning Olympic gold as a 15-year-old. The interviews are heavily stylized. The copious amounts of animation can makes the short feel more like a music video than a documentary, which makes it harder to follow the through line of the story the athlete is telling. This may make it particularly difficult for younger viewers to keep up. 

Ultimately, however, sports fans will enjoy learning about the inspiring stories behind their heroes, and parents will appreciate the great example these athletes set with their work ethic and mental toughness. Greatness Code is a worthwhile watch for families and can spark conversations about what it takes to succeed. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the athletes in Greatness Code have gained confidence by working really hard to get better at their sport. What are some of the moments or events that helped build their confidence? What kind of things have enabled you to build confidence in your own life?

  • A lot of the athletes talk about how the biggest moment of their career was when they overcame an obstacle. Why do you think that is more important to them than winning a championship?

  • What kind of character strengths do these professional athletes display? How does perseverance play a role? How about teamwork? What does it take to reach this level of athletic success? 

  • These athletes are super competitive and like to win. What role does competitiveness play in these success stories? Is there a downside of being too competitive? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

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