Challenger: The Final Flight – Review

This four-part Netflix documentary takes an in depth look into the 1986 Challenger space shuttle that exploded seventy-four seconds after take off, documenting an unimaginably difficult period of time for a generation of people looking on live or on their television sets. The doc delves into the astronauts themselves and possible cause of the accident. An insightful but equally as emotional series – Challenger: The Final Flight is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

It came as quite a surprise when I originally heard that Netflix were releasing a four-part documentary on the highly publicised Challenger disaster that occurred over thirty years ago, but as a lover of anything space related, this was instantly something I had to sit down and watch upon its release. Fortunately, some would say, I’m not old enough to have witnessed the disaster itself, but my first viewing of the incident was something I will never forget and has remained with me ever since.

Heading into the series, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but what transpired impressed me greatly. As with most Netflix produced shows of this nature, it seemed extremely well made, informative, yet emotional at the same time considering the incident under the microscope. The series managed to showcase some really interesting older footage of the spectators watching the incident, aswell as the crew themselves and their preparation for their daring, yet exciting mission ahead. It’s worth noting that much of the footage was remastered and looked extremely easy on the eye throughout.

Each of the episodes put before the viewer seemed to feature a different aspect of the accident, something done relatively well by the filmmakers. The early episodes detailed each of the astronauts themselves along with their families back on land and their in-depth training that they each required, while the latter episodes seemed to focus more on the launch itself, the explosion, and the possible blame and consequential investigation that ensued.

If however, I was to flag up one or two negative aspects of the documentary then they would have to come in the form of it being somewhat repetitive at times, along with the fact that I certainly felt the series was one or even two episodes too long, especially considering each episode was one hour in length. For me, the information presented over all four episodes, could and possibly should have been condensed down to two or three episodes at the most – something I also felt hurt the show, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

Overall, having seen the disaster many times on YouTube over the years, and having watched the Challenger documentary now, I still cannot quite fathom just how shocking and devastating witnessing such an atrocity must have been for the millions of people worldwide witnessing the launch. This is more than likely something I’ll never be able to get my head around, and probably something I’m glad about. A really emotional and factual series that is definitely worth a watch.

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