New ‘Top Gun’-Inspired Reality Series Coming Soon


A reality series inspired by Top Gun is heading to Nat Geo, offering “unprecedented access” to the Navy’s top flying school.

Tentatively titled Top Gun: The Next Generation, the series will offer viewers a rare peek inside the actual naval academy which inspired the massively successful Tom Cruise franchise. Nat Geo announced in an internal press statement (via The Hollywood Reporter) that the first season is currently in production, with a premiere date to be announced shortly.

It will follow “a diverse range of Navy student pilots” as they endure “some of the most challenging flight tests possible, including landing on an aircraft carrier at sea.” Not all of the participants will make it to the end of the course, but those that do will have a chance to try their hand at piloting an F-35C Lighting II, the most sophisticated fighter jet known to man.

Much like the Top Gun movies, which starred Cruise as womanizing pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, The Next Generation endeavors to show the lives of cadets in and out of the classroom. Cameras will follow them home to their families, in the air as they learn to maneuver, and (if they’re anything like Maverick) to the local bar to play pool.

Top Gun, directed by Tony Scott, premiered in the summer of 1986 and, on the way to grossing $357 million worldwide, made Tom Cruise an instant star. Last year, Joseph Kosinsky’s Top Gun: Maverick stunned critics and the box office. It grossed an astonishing $1.4 billion globally and is widely considered a better movie than Scott’s.

“With so many millions of fans of the film around the world, I was immediately drawn to this series,” said Tom McDonald, executive VP of unscripted content at Nat Geo. “This series promises to be an exhilarating, visually jaw-dropping and fascinating journey into the intensely competitive world of elite flying.”

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