Cheer (TV series)
|Created by||Greg Whiteley|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||15|
|Executive producer||Andrew Fried|
|Running time||57–62 minutes|
|Original release||January 8, 2020 –|
Cheer is an American sport television docuseries airing on Netflix starting in January 2020. The six-part series follows the nationally ranked forty-member Navarro College Bulldogs Cheer Team from Corsicana, Texas, under the direction of coach Monica Aldama, as they prepare to compete in the National Cheerleading Championship held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida. The episodes focus especially on five individual Cheer Team members and include elements of the history of cheerleading, including the formation of the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA).
As the series begins, the Cheer Team has won fourteen NCA National Championships in the junior college division,[a] as well as five "Grand Nationals" for the highest score of all teams in the competition.[b] One of their closest competitive rivals, also a junior college, is Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, roughly forty miles away. The final episode addresses the outsized influence of Varsity Brands—just acquired by Bain Capital—that seems to control most aspects of the billion-dollar competitive cheerleading industry, including broadcast rights of the Daytona finals. The second season premiered on January 12, 2022.
Cheerleading developed from mere boosterism into a sport gradually; as one team would develop pyramids, baskets, throws, and tumbles—combining skills from cheerleading, circus arts (like balancing), and dancing—other teams would emulate and build on those tricks. Unlike most college sports, cheerleading has no professional league after college, so the National Cheerleading Championship held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida is the highest-level event where cheerleaders can compete. As of 2020, competitive cheerleading is a billion dollar industry.
Director Greg Whiteley came across competitive cheerleading while filming for his football television series Last Chance U. He was struck by the cheerleaders' athleticism and highly competitive drive.
Navarro College, a “9,000-student community college in Corsicana, Texas, about fifty miles south of Dallas,” has a cheer team coached by Monica Aldama who graduated from Corsicana High School, earned a degree in Finance at the University of Texas at Austin, then a Master of Business Administration at the University of Texas at Tyler. She was a cheerleader in college. Because of her devotion to her extended Texan family, and her husband's desire to raise their children near their families, she accepted the position of cheerleading coach at Navarro College. Starting in 2000, she built the program from the ground up, making it into the best in the nation.
|1||6||January 8, 2020|
|2||9||January 12, 2022|
Season 1 (2020)
|Title||Original release date|
|1||1||"God Blessed Texas"||January 8, 2020|
|2||2||"Making Mat"||January 8, 2020|
|3||3||"Blood, Sweat and Cheers"||January 8, 2020|
|4||4||"Hit Zero"||January 8, 2020|
|5||5||"Full Out"||January 8, 2020|
|6||6||"Daytona"||January 8, 2020|
Season 2 (2022)
|Title||Original release date |
|7||1||"Everybody hopes"||January 12, 2022|
|8||2||"Here's to we"||January 12, 2022|
|9||3||"Dracut girl"||January 12, 2022|
|10||4||"Hell week"||January 12, 2022|
|11||5||"Jerry"||January 12, 2022|
|12||6||"Tumbling"||January 12, 2022|
|13||7||"Mining for tenths"||January 12, 2022|
|14||8||"Daytona pt. 1 : don't be that guy"||January 12, 2022|
|15||9||"Daytona pt. 2 : if the judges disagree"||January 12, 2022|
On Rotten Tomatoes the series holds an approval rating of 96% based on 23 reviews, with an average of 7.75/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "With an inspirational troupe of teens and willingness to engage in the tougher trials facing the sport today, Cheer perfectly captures the highs and lows of what it takes to be a cheerleader." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 81 out of 100, based on seven critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
The Washington Post's Hank Stuever wrote, "Cheer quickly and effortlessly becomes all-consuming for the viewer. Whiteley superbly structures the story through six episodes to heighten the anxiety as the competition nears." Vulture's Jen Chaney stated, "while it depicts plenty of conflicts and disagreements between the cheerleaders at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, it's an ultimately more uplifting show that uses cheer as a prism through which to explore overcoming all kinds of obstacles." Rolling Stone wrote, “...it’s Apocalypse Now with pompoms,” and “It’s not tough to see why America is obsessed with Cheer: At a time when our democratic ideals are smashed to pieces, threatening all our illusions of leadership, Cheer offers a fantasy cheer-ocracy, with Monica as a scarily credible cheer-tator.
In January 2020, the Navarro cheer team and coach Monica appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and performed a full routine; Ellen DeGeneres presented them with $20,000 toward their fundraising goal. The January 25, 2020, episode of Saturday Night Live had a sketch spoofing Cheer with guest host Adam Driver as one of the coaches apparently unconcerned as team members want to make the mat—the twenty chosen for the finals—so bad they want to cheer despite near-catastrophic injuries. In late January 2020, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert featured a spoof commercial about mat talk, the boisterous positivity sideline cheers that teammates do for the performing members—for which Jerry Harris was singled-out during the series as excelling in—for their performance. The conceit was a new booster Mat Talk for Regular People program whereby the Navarro Cheer Team members would praise everyday people for mundane activities, and featured La'Darius Marshall, Harris, and Gabi Butler cheering people on, with coach Monica Aldama available for a Booster Shot.
Awards and nominations
|2020||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program||Greg Whiteley, Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard, Jasper Thomlinson,
Bert Hamelinck, Adam Leibowitz, Arielle Kilker, and Chelsea Yarnell
|Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program||Greg Whiteley (for "Daytona")||Won|
|Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program||Melissa Langer and Erynn Patrick (for "Hit Zero")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program||Arielle Kilker, David Nordstrom, Kate Hackett, Daniel McDonald, Mark Morgan,
Sharon Weaver, and Ted Woerner (for "God Blessed Texas")
|Outstanding Sound Editing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program (Single or Multi-Camera)||Logan Byers, Kaleb Klinger, and Sean Gray (for "Daytona")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program (Single or Multi-Camera)||Ryan David Adams (for "Daytona")||Nominated|
|Television Critics Association Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming||Cheer||Won|
|2021||American Cinema Editors Awards||Best Edited Non-Scripted Series||Arielle Kilker, David Nordstrom, Kate Hackett, Daniel McDonald, Mark Morgan,
Sharon Weaver, and Ted Woerner (for "God Blessed Texas")
|2022||Television Critics Association Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming||Cheer||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program||Greg Whiteley, Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard, Adam Leibowitz, Mark Cummins,
and Chelsea Yarnell
|Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program||Greg Whiteley (for "Daytona Pt. 2: If The Judges Disagree")||Pending|
|Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program||Daniel George McDonald, Daniel J. Clark, Zachary Fuhrer, Stefanie Maridueña,
Dana Martell, Jody McVeigh-Schultz, Sharon Weaver, and David Zucker
(for "Daytona Pt. 2: If The Judges Disagree")
- As of January 2020, the Navarro College Cheer Team has won fourteen National Championships since 2000: 2000, 2003-2004, 2006-2007, 2009-2015, 2018-2019.
- The Navarro College Cheer Team has won five NCA Grand National Championships since 2012: 2013-2015, 2018-2019; they currently hold the record for the highest score in history at the NCA College Nationals.
- Newby, John (January 12, 2020). "'Cheer' Season 1: Reviews for the Netflix Docuseries Are In". Pop Culture. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
- Stuever, Hank (January 10, 2020). "Hard-working cheerleaders have long deserved 'Cheer'". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- Lawler, Kelly (January 9, 2020). "Review: How Netflix's superb 'Cheer' dispels your assumptions about cheerleading". USA Today. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- Carbone, Gina (January 12, 2020). "Netflix's Cheer: How Gabi Butler, Lexi, Morgan And Cast Feel About The Cheerleading Series". CinemaBlend. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
- "New Netflix series profiles just how hardcore this Texas school's cheerleading squad can get". Dallas News. January 8, 2020. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
- Williams, Janice (January 8, 2020). "Who is Monica Aldama, the champion coach in Netflix's new docuseries 'Cheer'?". Newsweek. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
- Holmes, Linda (January 8, 2020). "'Cheer' Is An Incisive Look At Injury, Coaching And Competition". NPR. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- Petski, Denise (December 28, 2021). "'Cheer': Netflix Docuseries Gets Season 2 Premiere Date, Trailer, Will Address Jerry Harris Charges". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
- Cacich, Allison (January 8, 2020). "Meet Monica, the Coaching Legend on Netflix's New Docuseries 'Cheer'". Distractify. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- Burog, Vianne (January 10, 2020). "Monica Aldama: 5 Things About The Coach In Netflix's 'Cheer'". Latin Times. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- Larry, Lucky (January 10, 2020). "Navarro College Cheer Team On Netflix In Episode Of 'Cheer'". KNUE. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
- "Shows A-Z – Cheer on Netflix". The Futon Critic. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
- "Cheer (2020)", Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved September 17, 2020
- "Cheer: Season 1 reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
- Chaney, Jen (January 8, 2020). "Welcome to TV's Cheer-ocracy". Vulture. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- Sheffield, Rob (March 3, 2020). "Three Cheers for Netflix's 'Cheer'!". Rolling Stone.
- Rackham, Casey (January 24, 2020). "The Navarro Team From "Cheer" Performed On "Ellen" And They Were So Good". BuzzFeed. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- McKenna, Henry (January 26, 2020). "SNL spoofs Netflix's 'Cheer,' and the director responded with jokes on Twitter". For The Win. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
- "Edie Falco, Fortune Feimster, Algiers, the cast of 'Cheer'". The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Season 5. Episode S5 E81. January 31, 2020. CBS.
- "2020 Primetime Emmy" (PDF) (Press release). Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. July 28, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
- Mitovich, Matt Webb (July 9, 2020). "TCA Awards: Watchmen, Unbelievable and Schitt's Creek Lead Nominations". TVLine. Archived from the original on July 10, 2020. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
- Giardina, Carolyn (March 11, 2021). "'Minari,' 'Trial of the Chicago 7' Among American Cinema Editors' Eddie Awards Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
- Hailu, Selome (August 6, 2022). "'Abbott Elementary' Tops 2022 TCA Awards". Variety. Retrieved August 6, 2022.
- Moreau, Jordan (July 12, 2022). "Emmys 2022: Complete Nominations List". Variety. Retrieved July 12, 2022.