FOX Soccer launches a brand-new TV series Saturday featuring some of the greatest aspects of the beautiful game of soccer.
In its first episode, FOX Soccer’s My Beautiful Game features interviews with several soccer stars including Clint Dempsey, Didier Drogba, David Beckham, Vinnie Jones, Tim Howard, Alexi Lalas, Gary Lineker and Landon Donovan. A couple of Hollywood personalities join in the discussions, too, including the host of The Bachelor TV show (Chris Harrison) and the producer for TV show American Idol (Nigel Lythgoe).
No matter who you support, soccer fans from around the world can agree on one thing — we all love seeing glorious goals hit the back of the net. So, not surprisingly, it’s hard for FOX Soccer to get this first episode wrong.
The 30 minute debut episode is a glossy, fast paced show with a lot of quick cuts featuring sound bites from one-on-one interviews with the aforementioned celebs. Whether you’ll enjoy the first episode depends entirely on your perspective. If you’re a hardcore fan who’s serious about your soccer, you may find Episode 1 quite predictable and uninformative. The goals featured are not surprising except for one goal courtesy of one Glenn Hoddle. The only part of the first episode that shined any new light was Gary Lineker’s revealing description of the pitch at the Azteca Stadium where Diego Maradona scored one of the greatest goals ever scored in the sport. But other than that, there isn’t anything entirely memorable about the first episode.
Of course, if you want to see the goals again or if you’re relatively new to the sport and you want to see some spectacular golazos, Greatest Goals is right up your alley. It all depends on what you’re hoping to get out of the episode.
There’s no arguing that the goals selected in Episode 1 are sensational. Here they are (if you don’t like spoilers, you may want to keep one eye closed and scroll down):
Eric Cantona, Manchester United against Sunderland
Peter Crouch, Stoke City against Manchester City
George Best, San Jose against Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Roberto Carlos, Brazil against France
Diego Maradona, Argentina against England
Landon Donovan, USA against Algeria
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United against Manchester City
Glenn Hoddle, Tottenham Hotspur against Manchester United
While I could watch many of those goals over and over again, what I did find disappointing was that there were no goals from La Liga (Lionel Messi, anyone?), Serie A or other major soccer leagues that FOX Soccer doesn’t have the current rights to. That may have been a business or rights issue, or perhaps one dictated by the favorite goals that the interviewees suggested, but regardless FOX Soccer can only squeeze so many goals into half an hour.
Indeed, I did particularly enjoy the inclusion of Glenn Hoddle’s remarkable goal in the 1979 League Cup against Manchester United. This is one goal that isn’t often considered in the top echelon of history, but it deserves to be. You can thank Vinnie Jones for that.
Despite the positives, what I could have done without were the needless interjections by Sky Sports and FOX Soccer presenters Georgie Thompson and Rob Stone respectively with “pearls of wisdom” such as “You can’t argue with a national side that has won five World Cups” and “Because he was so dang good!” that added no value to the show. No prizes awarded to which presenter said what.
Each episode of My Beautiful Game follows a different theme of “greatest.” The next episode in the series, entitled My Beautiful Game: Greatest FA Cup Moments is scheduled for broadcast on February 16, while the remaining four episodes in the series will cover Greatest Players, Greatest Saves, Greatest Stadiums and Greatest Own Goals.
The plan is to pair each episode with a live FA Cup fixture, hence the reason that the first episode, Greatest Goals, will debut after the Manchester United-Fulham FA Cup fourth round match.
FOX Soccer should be applauded for going out there and producing more original programming. While this one is far less of a calculated risk than their Being Liverpool series, there are enough good moments in Episode 1 to make the series worth watching.
Episode 1 of My Beautiful Game debuts on FOX Soccer on Saturday, January 26 at 2:30pm ET.