I watched a lot of TV over the holiday break (like, a lot, a lot, a lot) and my favorite discovery was a six-part documentary series on Netflix called 7 Days Out. Sidebar: why they wouldn't make seven episodes for the seven days out theme is beyond me.
Each episode is 45 minutes long and follows a group of people in the seven days leading up to something monumental.
Episode 1: Westminister Dog Show - This was the first episode I watched (you certainly do not have to go in order) and I picked it because I love dogs. Duh. This installment follows three groups of people as they vy for Best in Show. One couple is new to Westminister and is showing their pup for the very first time at an event of this scale. This episode also follows a very seasoned, professional dog trainer and his mentor, as they both show dogs in different breed categories. Whether you like dogs or not, learning about this world is fascinating.
Episode 2: Eleven Madison Park - I was incredibly excited for this episode. Eleven Madison Park was once owned by famous restaurateur Danny Meyer, and in 2011 he sold it to Will Guidara and Daniel Humm. After their takeover, it won the coveted number one spot at the World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards in 2017. That same year, Will and Daniel decided to close the restaurant and do a complete renovation. In this episode, you are behind the scenes with the construction crew, the guy daintily painting gold leaf on the bar ceiling, the chefs setting up their new kitchen - the works.
Episode 3: NASA's Cassini Mission - I'm not really a space or astronomy nerd; in fact, I took an astronomy class to fulfill my science requirement in college, and I barely passed. I wasn't sure if this episode would grip me, but about 10 minutes in, I was invested. This story is less about the mission itself (though that is very cool), and more about the scientists and engineers that committed to this one project for over two decades.
Episode 4: Kentucky Derby - I learned a lot in this episode. For example, did you know to race in the Kentucky Derby a horse has to be three years old? Because of that, an individual horse only has one chance to participate in its entire life. While watching, you get to meet the horse trainers, the jockeys, the race track announcer, and more.
Episode 5: CHANEL Haute Couture Fashion Show - The CHANEL episode was a fashion lover's dream come true. It was a feast for the eyes. The cameras set up shop in the four CHANEL ateliers across Paris as they complete the final preparations for the show. In addition to the garments, you also see models being cast, the set being built (which was quite extravagant), and the celebrities arriving for the big reveal.
Episode 6: League of Legends - I saved this episode for last, because I wasn't sure I would like it. In fact, before I even pressed play, I told myself, "If you're 10 minutes in, and you don't like it, you can stop." This turned out to be one of the most emotional stories. The episode follows three professional gaming teams as they compete for the national League of Legends title. In the midst of the finals, one of the players learns that his mother was stabbed and died. The cameras follow him as he lets his team know, decides to keep playing in the championship, and is surrounded by fans offering encouragement and support. It still blows my mind that anyone would pay to watch someone play video games, but who am I to judge?
7 Days Out is less about these big events, and more about the people. It's about their personal stories, their passions, their struggles, and their triumphs. It reminds me of the raw authenticity of Humans of New York.
The other incredible thing is the unprecedented access Netflix was granted by all of these organizations. They are backstage at the dog show, in the kitchen at Eleven Madison Park, at the command center for Cassini's final minutes in orbit - nothing is off limits.
Now that I've finished the six episodes that are available, I am hoping and praying they are going to release more. I'd love to learn about the kids that participate in the Rubik's Cube championships, or the preparation for the opening of a Broadway show.
Tell me, have you watched? Did you have a favorite episode?