This first season of six episodes features a nice balance of action, a bit of romance, and drama. Karen Kingsbury is one of the writers of this mini-series. The episodes focus on pro bull rider Cody Gunner (Colin Ford) and opens with some exciting bull-riding action. Although Cody is at the top of his profession, a three-time National Finals Rodeo champion, he deals with some painful issues of the past. His dad, Mike (K.C. Clyde), was a professional quarterback who left the family after the birth of Cody’s younger brother, Carl Joseph (Cole Sibus), who was born with Down syndrome. Cody is still close with his mother and his brother, but he wants nothing to do with his father who abandoned the family. His dad has recently reached out to the family, and he wants to reconnect with Cody, who has no interest in a possible reunion.
Cody remembers saying, “Dad, don’t go,” when he was still a boy and his father left on a rainy day. So Cody focuses on spending time with brother Carl when he can, and on his bull riding. He also has his eye on a female rider, Ali Daniels (Rose Reid), but she tends to keep to herself. Cody doesn’t realize she is battling a serious health issue, although she continues to be the number one female horse rider on the circuit, always scoring high on the required course riding.
Cody hangs out with his friends, having an occasional beer at the bar, and his friends are chasing him for the number one spot in the bull riding competitions. Cody suffers a setback when he is injured but he only briefly misses one competition. He continues to see his brother Carl as often as he can, but he refuses to budge on seeing his father, telling his mother at one point, “It’s been real good seeing you, but the conversation about that man is over!” His response to giving his father a second chance, is “Screw his second chance, Mom!” Obviously, he is dealing with some bitterness.
CONTENT ANALYSIS: The content is family-friendly for the most part, with Cody being, most of the time, a good-natured man. He is devoted to his mother and younger brother. He drinks a little but seemingly in moderation. His mother pushes for a reconciliation with his dad, and the dad pursues it. And one of the nice elements of this film, is how it portrays Carl, who has a great sense of humor.
THINK ABOUT IT: There are some great discussion points in this series, including the positive example of Carl, who has a positive attitude and who maintains his sense of humor. Discussing people’s differences and unique qualities is important. Another example of this in the plot is a character who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis. The topic of forgiveness is also a good discussion point, as Cody must ultimately decide if he is going to forgive his father or not. Finally, working hard to realize one’s dreams, as Cody does in his bull riding, is another salient discussion topic.
This series has earned our Dove seal for Ages 12+. It features some family values and characters who deal with real-life issues. And the bull riding sequences are fun to watch.
THE DOVE TAKE: This series does a marvelous job in emphasizing the need to work through family and health difficulties, and the bull riding and horse action sequences are fun to watch.