Rave reviews for City So Real broadcast on Nat Geo; now available on Hulu

National Geographic aired all 337 minutes of City So Real last night in a special commercial-free broadcast.

The five-part series from director Steve James and producer Zak Piper is now available to stream on Hulu. A portrait of contemporary Chicago, it delivers a deep, multifaceted look into the soul of a quintessentially American city, set against the backdrop of its history-making 2019 mayoral election, and the tumultuous 2020 summer of COVID-19 and social upheaval following the death of George Floyd.

The critical and audience response to the series has been astonishing, and it currently sits at #1 on Metacritic as the Best Reviewed TV Show of 2020.

City So Real has been called “Breathtaking” by The Wall Street Journal; “Pulsing with life” by The New York Times; and a “Chicago Symphony” in a 4 out of 4 stars review by the Chicago Tribune. In a five star review, Rolling Stone called it Steve James' "crowning achievement... a master class on the art of listening to people, shining a spotlight on them, giving them their moment to speak and scream and declare, We are here." 

The series was called "the most prescient and meaningful docuseries about 2020 America" by Indiewire, "perceptive and insightful, carefully cut together and impressively encapsulating. I haven’t seen, nor can I imagine, another show that captures 2020 so thoroughly or makes reliving such a heartbreaking period so naturally watchable. But that’s not the main reason you should see it right now. “City So Real” manages to acknowledge and articulate the many divisions tearing us apart and still form a unifying message. It’s a way to engage with the world as it is without letting that reality break you down. More than anything, it’s a way to feel like you’re part of a community during a time when so many of us feel completely cut off."

Read a great interview with Steve James on the making of the series in Filmmaker Magazine.

View more responses and tell us your response on Twitter: #CitySoReal. Thanks to everyone for watching.