21 Thunder

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21 Thunder
21 Thunder.png
Promotional image for the show's release on Netflix
GenreSports, drama
Created by
  • Adrian Wills
  • Kenneth Hirsch
  • Riley Adams
Starring
Country of originCanada
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8
Production
Production location(s)Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Running time44 minutes
Production company(s)
  • PMA Productions
  • Generic Productions
Release
Original networkCBC Television
Original releaseJuly 31, 2017 (2017-07-31) – present
External links
Website

21 Thunder is a Canadian television drama series which follows star players of an under-21 academy for the fictional Montreal Thunder soccer team in Montreal, Quebec.[1][2] The series was created by Adrian Wills, Riley Adams, and Kenneth Hirsch in 2016. It features an ensemble cast that includes, among others, RJ Fetherstonhaugh, Colm Feore, Stephanie Bennett, Emmanuel Kabongo, and Conrad Pla.[3] The series aired in Canada on CBC Television beginning July 31, 2017, to generally positive reviews.[4][5]

21 Thunder was released in all other countries worldwide on March 1, 2018 as a Netflix Original Series by Netflix.[6] It received generally positive international reception.[7][8]

Background[edit]

The creators of the show—Adrian Wills, Riley Adams, and Kenneth Hirsch—briefly considered focusing their series on basketball or hockey, before settling on soccer.[9] Hirsch explained this decision in an interview with the Montreal Gazette:

We realized very quickly that every Canadian can relate one way or another to soccer. Either you play it or you watch it ... Also, look at any soccer field across Canada and that field reflects huge diversity, of cultural background, of different segments of society.[10]

In September 2016, CBC announced it had commissioned a one-hour drama series that would follow the star players of an under-21 soccer academy in Montreal.[1][11] The series was filmed on location, in Montreal, throughout 2016.[10] Later, in a press release, CBC stated that the series will "offer audiences a fresh and diverse perspective on the world's most popular sport."[3]

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Recurring[edit]

  • Kyle Mac as Special K
  • Colm Feore as Declan Gallard
  • Kevin Claydon as Stefan Arnaud
  • Jonathan Kim as James Tran
  • Kimberly Laferriere as Marie Tremblay
  • Gabrielle Graham as Fatima Gossa
  • Thamela Mpumlwana as Sly Lolo
  • Cristina Rosato as Ana Messina

Episodes[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Pilot"Jim DonovanRiley AdamsJuly 31, 2017 (2017-07-31)
Junior makes his bones on the team and Nolan's past returns with a vengeance.
22"Road Game"Jim DonovanRiley AdamsAugust 7, 2017 (2017-08-07)
Christy confronts family truths, Nolan is blackmailed, and Lara flirts with temptation
33"Freefalling"Charles OfficerMalcolm MacRuryAugust 14, 2017 (2017-08-14)
Nolan's father tries to save him and Junior faces down Bamba.
44"Fixed"Charles OfficerAmanda FaheyAugust 21, 2017 (2017-08-21)
Lara prepares to fix a game, Christy proves a master strategist, and Nolan dreams of revenge.
55"Heaven or Hell"Jerry CiccorittiRiley Adams and Seneca AaronAugust 28, 2017 (2017-08-28)
Christy and Nolan suffer humiliation on the field, Junior wins glory.
66"War"Charles OfficerEllen VanstoneSeptember 4, 2017 (2017-09-04)
Junior unmasks an imposter and Nolan's father betrays him.
77"Together We Part"Jerry CiccorittiMalcolm MacRury and Stephanie TraceySeptember 11, 2017 (2017-09-11)
Christy takes over the team. Nolan sacrifices himself to try and save Emma.
88"Rock and a Hard Place"Jerry CiccorittiRiley AdamsSeptember 18, 2017 (2017-09-18)
Christy fights back against all odds, and Nolan makes the ultimate choice.

Reception[edit]

Upon its release in Canada, the series received generally positive reviews; John Doyle of The Globe and Mail called it "highly enjoyable and addictive, even if you're just a casual soccer fan." Further, Doyle wrote that "It's an excellent melodrama that reaches into the lavishly exotic and coarse world of club soccer and pulls out stories and characters that are believable and compelling. ...it's not the male-centric drama you might expect. There is a sharp edge to the female characters. Mostly it is fast, action-packed, sort-of realistic and gripping. It's fine entertainment, and it's one of those dramas about sports that succeeds."[5]

After the fourth episode, Greg David of TV, eh? wrote: "I said off the top how pleasantly surprised I've been with 21 Thunder's first season. The writing is taut and the characters are anything but cookie-cutter; 21 Thunder has turned into my sleeper hit of the summer."[12]

Johanna Schneller of the Toronto Star wrote a less enthusiastic review, in which she claimed that the series "has promise, but not many kicks," concluding that "the show is freshest when it keeps its head in the game."[13]

With its international launch on Netflix in March 2017, Vanity Fair included 21 Thunder in its "A-List: What to Watch in March".[7] In her review of April 3, 2018, Rebecca Farley of refinery29 calls 21 Thunder "Canada's answer to the Gossip Girl, and writes of the characters: "Now that they're all approaching 21, they have to either launch professional soccer careers or pivot into something more sustainable. Ergo, internal conflict. Ergo, external conflict. Ergo, sexual relations catalyzed by external conflict. The soccer shirts will be removed, declarations of love will happen on porches (and in the physical therapy room, and on the soccer field), and, heck, an arsonist might make a guest appearance! This show really does have everything, including a much-needed dose of diversity."[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 26, Regan Reid September; 2016. "CBC commissions one-hour soccer drama". Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  2. ^ "CBC COMMISSIONS SOCCER DRAMA 21 THUNDER FROM PMA PRODUCTIONS AND GENERIC PRODUCTIONS - CBC Media Centre". Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Press, ,The Canadian. "CBC-TV commissions new Montreal-set soccer drama '21 Thunder'". www.montrealgazette.com. Archived from the original on October 27, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  4. ^ Reid, Regan (May 24, 2017). "Upfronts '17: CBC gets dramatic". Playback. Brunico Communications. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "John Doyle: 21 Thunder is a fine drama containing soccer, sex and action". The Globe and Mail. July 27, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  6. ^ "Deals: CBC, Air Bud Entertainment, CTV". Retrieved 2018-04-17.
  7. ^ a b Barrie, Thomas. "What to Watch in March". A-LIST. Retrieved 2018-04-17.
  8. ^ a b "Meet Canada's Answer To "Gossip Girl" (Warning: It Contains Soccer)". Retrieved 2018-04-17.
  9. ^ "Montreal-set soccer drama 21 Thunder scores on CBC's summer schedule". TV, eh?. July 28, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "TV drama 21 Thunder explores the world of under-21 soccer in Montreal". Montreal Gazette. November 20, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  11. ^ Reid, Regan (May 24, 2017). "Upfronts '17: CBC gets dramatic". Playback. Brunico Communications. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  12. ^ "21 Thunder: Fixed". TV, eh?. 2017-08-22. Retrieved 2018-04-17.
  13. ^ Schneller, Johanna (August 8, 2017). "21 Thunder has promise but not many kicks". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved September 14, 2017.

External links[edit]