HBO’s new football comedy Ballers follows in the footsteps of the network’s other series like Entourage and even How to Make It In America, and it strikes the same notes in the best ways possible. The biggest reason for the similarity is an all-star team behind the camera including Stephen Levinson and Rob Weiss, guys behind the very same shows. But Ballers is also all its own with a plot snappy enough to latch onto immediately (the 30-minute episode length doesn’t hurt either).
News that the series was renewed for a second season came as no surprise (though the renewal came only a couple episodes into the first season), but it was a sigh of relief for fans. And now that we’re locked in for another ten episodes, here are a few more reasons why you should be catching up ahead of Season 2.
1. It’s Kind Of Like Entourage With Football
Ballers is far from an Entourage ripoff, but it carries some of the same elements, namely, a cast of rich and famous characters with hilariously relatable troubles. The episodes move quickly and don’t try to juggle too many things at once. Best of all, the football is covered carefully and we get an interesting look into some juicy locker-room and training camp dynamics.
2. Dwayne Johnson Is Perfect For The Role
Dwayne Johnson is having a huge year. Ballers might not seem like his biggest hit of 2015—San Andreas and a surprise (re)appearance at a WWE earlier this year take the honors—but he’s smart to have plugged into the role of Spencer Strasmore, a retired NFL player turned financial manager, for the long haul. Not only is Johnson a believable ex-football player—he is, after all, a former college and CFL defensive tackle—he plays a down-and-out rich guy admirably, and it’s hard not to root for him the whole way.
3. The Football Is Interesting
Sports shows often treat the on-field moments as token b-roll opportunities. Ballers doesn’t cop out of the football though― it dives into it and builds up believable plots around familiar NFL dynamics.
4. Rob Corddry Is Hilarious
Dwayne Johnson might be the obvious draw, but Rob Corddry is an unexpected star on Ballers. The actor, most known for his Daily Show correspondent role, shines as the weirdly self-confident but entirely awkward and greasy Joe. Corddry steals more than a couple scenes and has one episode-stopping breakdown early in the season that’s not to be missed.
5. The Cast Is Full Of Up-And-Comers
While the whole cast is stacked, there’s one unsuspecting newcomer who’s hard to miss: John David Washington. Washington is one of the protagonists and earns himself plenty of screen-time throughout the first season. Washington not only played football in college, but he was really, really good, setting a handful of school rushing records as a running-back at Morehouse College. Even better? Washington is the son of Denzel Washington, so he’s got the acting covered, too.
Catch up on the first season of HBO’s Ballers OnDemand ahead of season 2 next year.
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