From HBO and creator Stephen Levinson, comes the half-hour sports comedy drama series Ballers. Starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Rob Corddry, John David Washington, Omar Miller, Donovan W. Carter, London Brown and Jazmyn Simon, the first season is available to own on Blu-ray now while season 2 is set to air July 17, 2016.
A superstar during his football playing days, Spencer Strasmore (Dwayne Johnson) tries to find the same success as a financial manager for current players in sun-splashed Miami. Heeding his boss Joe’s instruction to “monetize his friendships,” Spencer builds a client base of young phenoms and veteran stars alike, but his role in their lives far exceeds money management as he struggles to help them navigate the many traps that come with life as big-time “ballers.
Full disclosure – I know nothing about football. Zero. Nada – and yet I found myself drawn into the world of Ballers because it’s all about the behind-the-scenes action as opposed to the drama on the field. Dwayne Johnson plays a retired NFL star-turned agent (Spencer) who is trying to hire the best clients and build his firm up. Like everything Johnson stars in – he’s always amazing, but the overall product never quite lives up to the greatness that is ‘The Rock’. Seriously though – The Rock is never bad in any movie or TV show – ever. He always kills it and that’s the same here. However – I’m not saying Ballers is a bad show – in fact it’s quite interesting, but it is lacking in some areas when it comes to a riveting overall story arc… The cast is what saves this show. Rob Corddry is doing some of the best work of his career playing Joe, who is Spencer’s boss and partner in the agency.
Ballers is funny, it has tremendous pace with every episode running a half-hour long (I love this in my HBO comedies) and the casting choices are superb. I didn’t know who the hell John David Washington was – apparently dude played pro football and now he’s playing a pro in Ballers. Makes sense – but hell, some pro athletes cannot act worth a shit and this guy is owning it. There are plenty of star cameos too, but I couldn’t tell you all of them because I barely know anyone in the NFL. To have a show like this not only strike interest from a non-football fan like myself is a miracle to begin with, but to actually entertain me is another feat altogether. Ballers managed to make me invested in not only these characters but in the world of sports agencies and how cut-throat that game can be.
Reggie, Reggie, Reggie – you son-of-a-bitch. London Brown’s supporting performance as the manager of a much-needed client that Spencer is trying to hire – is something else. He plays “asshole” on another level and I HATED this guy, which is a strong testament to how well he played this character. We spend a lot of time with Spencer as he tries to recruit Vernon but is having a helluva time dealing with Reggie who is always in the way and asking for asinine amounts of money.
With only 10 episodes you’ll probably blast through Ballers quite quickly and you’ll have a good time with the show. I believe there’s still a lot of room to grow and a stronger overall storyline is very necessary, but with Johnson and Corddry being so damn good and carrying this series as well as they do, I have faith in Ballers and I’ll continue to watch this show evolve.
Rating: [star rating=”3.5″]
There are no behind-the-scenes segments at all here which is odd, but there are “inside the episode” segments for each of the 10 episodes for season one. These all clock in around 2 minutes in length and are cool but there’s not much to them. I guess when you put it all together you get 20 minutes of behind-the-scenes for season one, but for an HBO Blu-ray TV set – this isn’t enough to compete with other shows like Game of Thrones – not even close. So if you’ve already seen Ballers as it aired – there’s no need to purchase the Blu-ray set unless you just like to buy every show before you watch it…