1. The War Comes Home
CNN’s renowned Soledad O’Brien spoke to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, and the families that tried to cope with this condition in this heartfelt special. Included in the documentary were scenes of Save A Warrior sessions, a healing program where vets go for healthy activities and intimate therapy sessions.
2. ESPN’s 30 for 30: Rand University, directed by Marquis Daisy
“Rand University” was an emotional take at the rise of NFL great Randy Moss. From his small town Rand, West Virginia roots, he became a star athlete at Marshall University. His talent took him to the NFL drafts, but he almost missed that golden opportunity when legal issues of the past haunted him the closer he got to his dreams. Moss himself is featured in this ESPN film.
3. HBO’s Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown, directed by Alex Gibney
We all know the music legend that is James Brown. But what do we know of him before he was crowned the Godfather of Soul? This tribute to the legend contained never before seen videos and photos of Brown earlier in his career, as well as commentary on his life in South Carolina and efforts in joining the Civil Rights movement. The film was produced by fellow rock icon Mick Jagger.
4. ESPN’s 30 for 30: Bad Boys, directed by Zak Levitt
This segment of 30 for 30 shone a light on the late 1980s and ’90s era of the Detroit Pistons. Back then, the NBA team were notorious for their combative nature on the court, and this dark humored take on the “bad boys” includes tidbits from former players Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer.
5. PBS’s American Experience: Freedom Summer, directed by Stanley Nelson
“Freedom Summer” was a deeper look into the heatwave of 1964 when 700 student volunteers and African-Americans joined forces to desegregate Mississippi’s voting system. Developed were the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and Freedom Schools where anyone could place a ballot. Yet the journey was challenging as racists fought back to keep locals and their rights as separated possible.