Challenger: The Final Flight (2020)

Title: Challenger: The Final Flight

Year: 2020

Genre: Documentary | History | 

Season: 1 |

Runtime: 50 min/Episode

Created by: Steven Leckart, Glen Zipper 

Starring:  June Scobee Rodgers, William Harwood, Frederick D. Gregory


Four-part docuseries on the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster, unpacking an indelible moment for a generation of Americans.


Going into space takes risks, courage, and knowledge about advanced engineering in a way that a few people manage to make the journey in orbit and space as safe as possible.  In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger was going to a new journey as the frenzy of media and space-travel was the thing during the happy 80s. But the space shuttle didn’t make far ahead as it exploded and became an international disaster as it was corporate greed that lied behind the disaster.

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Learning from your mistake is what perhaps that is easiest to take away from this mini-series. It uncovers the emotional attachment to the space shuttle as America was trying to make a schedule.  This Netflix mini-series explores the crew who died and the families with them, together with some experts who explain it all in detail of what happened. There’s a recollection of newspapers, TV news, interviews, and archives mix with anonymous reenactments where the actor’s face is unknown. Spanning over four episodes where each one covers the journey to the third episode where it happened and the political aftermath in the fourth and final episode. The first two episodes are too long and could’ve been shortened to half at least. There’s so much unnecessary information that is presented that there’s no use for. The last two episodes give more of an impact. If you know history, you would know how, why, when, and so forth behind the disaster. This is more to show how it went down, I greater and better details with some emotional connections from wives, families, and friends to give this issue a far deeper meaning; safety when traveling to space.

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The interviews give honest feedback to the disaster. The cinematography is beautiful, even the small pan movement on some. It might get repetitive in how it’s edited and constructed.  It doesn’t have a depth that other docu-series have as this subject is well known and the story is extremely linear.  They tried to add the episode length with unwanted details or having extra-long episodes to begin with.

However, in the context of the disaster, nothing new to the incident is presented only more on a personal level. There are articles and clips on this on the web that points out the freezing problem and the political agenda behind the decision to launch that cold day.  It only presents a little more detail to it. But not by much.

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