This Netflix docuseries has four gems that tell four different but equally compelling stories. The series is titled Untold. Below is a summary of each documentary in the series.
The first in the series is The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist. This two-part documentary is a catfishing story involving college football standout Manti Teo. Manti falls victim to a gay man who sets up a fake Facebook account as an attractive female. As things progress, the man with the fake account realizes that he has to end his online relationship with Manti. He contacts Manti Teo using his real identity to inform him of his online girlfriend’s death, which occurred the same day Manti Teo’s grandmother passed away.
The story of Manti Teo’s loss makes headlines. A couple of journalists at a sports news website start to dig into the story and uncover the false identity. The question then becomes, was Manti Teo in on the hoax? The fallout for Manti Teo is enormous, even interfering with his NFL prospects.
When the man who started the whole thing decides that he can’t quit the relationship, even after the supposed death, things start to go off the rails.
Next up is the documentary The Rise and Fall of And1. I had never heard of this sports brand before this documentary. I’m not a basketball fan. But I enjoyed this story of how three men took street basketball players and turned them and their products into a million-dollar brand.
It all starts with T-shirts. When that goes well, the three owners decide to put together exhibition basketball games to help promote the brand. They put out a mixtape video featuring the street players.
As the title suggests, the business grows exponentially, eventually moving into footwear and competing directly with Nike. The talented players who were essential to the success of the company enjoy NBA-like fame. The whole enterprise tumbles when one of the three key founders calls it quits. The founders decided to sell the company. They rake in millions. The players, on the other hand, have their basketball dreams yanked from under them.
The third documentary in the series is Operation Flagrant Foul. This is another basketball story. This one involves a ref accused of betting on games he was officiating. On the one hand, it’s hard to have sympathy for someone in that position who misuses the trust of the players and fans. On the other hand, the truth is more complicated.
While Tim Donaghy admitted to betting on games that he was working, he claims that he never did anything to sway a game one way or the other. What he did was use his knowledge of the game, the players and coaches, and pass on that information to others who then placed large bets. Sometimes they won big. Sometimes they lost. They won a lot more than they lost. As for Donaghy, he didn’t make out quite as well.
The last documentary in the series is Race of the Century. This film is about America’s Cup race in 1983. An underdog Austrailia team sets out to beat the Americans who hadn’t lost in over 130 years. That’s the goal. It starts with a determined team captain. He puts together his team and then sets out to find someone to finance his venture. Once that task is accomplished, his next task is to build a boat. For that, he turns to an eccentric designer with no formal education. He comes up with a radical design. From there, the race is on.
How the whole thing plays out, along with the stories of the individuals involved before, during, and after the race, make for an interesting tale.