History’s Greatest Of All Time With Peyton Manning has the Hall of Famer hosting top ten lists of various historical GOATs — like the title implies, these are the “greatest of all time” in their categories. And the GOATs can be people, like industry moguls and daredevils, to things, like sports cars and stadiums.
HISTORY’S GRESTEST OF ALL TIME WITH PEYTON MANNING: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
Opening Shot: Shots of all sorts of stadiums, from Wrigley Field to the Colosseum in Rome.
The Gist: One hundred experts or otherwise interested parties are polled and their scores are tabulated to create the top ten. Then, for each item, various talking head interviews are clipped with archival footage and Manning voice overs to set up a top-10 countdown.
The first episode lists the top ten stadiums of all time, scored by stats (numbers regarding size), innovation and legacy (big events held there, teams that played there). There are some usual suspects, like Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, the Los Angeles Coliseum, and others, but a surprise or two makes the list, like the original Comiskey Park. Talking heads include Bob Costas, former MLB player and broadcaster Steve Lyons, sportswriters like Jack McCallum, and more.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Watch any top-10 show on the NFL Network or similar sports network, and you have the idea. The format also feels a lot like The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network, and the Rob Lowe-hosted 80s Top Ten on Disney+.
Our Take: Top-10 lists, and shows like this that are built around them, are designed to create discussion and controversy. History’s Greatest Of All Time With Peyton Manning seems to revel in that more than most shows of this type. But its criteria, at least in the stadium episode, is muddled, and there’s some production slip-ups that we’re not sure will make the final cut but make us wonder if the folks at Manning’s Omaha Productions are actually sports fans.
We won’t spoil what didn’t make the list, but we’ll tell you one that did: The aforementioned Comiskey Park in Chicago. No, not Wrigley Field; we’re talking about the now-demolished home of the Chicago White Sox, which most people likely remember is the location where Disco Demolition Night took place between games of a White Sox doubleheader.
But is it just the old park? Because there are also scenes of the new Comiskey, which opened in 1991 and is now called Guarantied Rate Field. Other stadiums, like Madison Square Garden, Wembly Stadium and Yankee Stadium seem to have all of the various structures under those names considered. But it doesn’t seem that was the way for Comiskey.
Another thing that we weren’t sure about was which historical stadiums were even considered. Yes, the Colosseum is in the top ten, but it feels like nothing else built before 1900 was even considered, and no stadiums south of Florida or east of London. Yes, recency bias affects all sorts of top-whatever lists, but this one definitely feels like something less historical than you’d expect from a show on the History Channel.
Sex and Skin: None.
Parting Shot: Manning makes the case that Neyland Stadium at the University of Tennessee should be on the list. “But what do I know, I just played in it.”
Sleeper Star: Manning throws little jabs during his interstitials but he mostly plays it straight. Still, having him host makes the show feel a whole lot less stodgy than it could have been.
Most Pilot-y Line: It doesn’t help the production team’s credibility when we see scenes of Babe Ruth in a Yankee home uniform when Comiskey is discussed. Let’s hope that gets changed in time for air.
Our Call: STREAM IT. Top-10 shows like The Greatest Of All Time With Peyton Manning are pretty light fare that’s designed to generate conversation. And despite this show’s sloppy production, it does just that. Just don’t drive yourself nuts with the missed details while you watch..
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesnât kid himself: heâs a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.