HBO Ballers with Dwayne Johnson
HBO’s True Detective Season 2 remains as stale and unvarnished through Episode 3 as it did back on the inglorious Episode 1. The show is lifeless. HBO’s True Detective Season 2 pretends to be dark and mysterious and important, but it cannot escape the inexorable trend toward ordinariness. Such an eclectic grouping of actors should make for far better television than what loyal viewers have been accustomed to expect.
HBO’s True Detective Season 2 cannot even make the financial ruin of a man seem compelling. The tragically destructive lifestyle of a detective should seem more than predetermined and mundane. The sexual frustration and manliness of a woman on the force should feel sexy rather than lazy and underwhelming.
Through Episode 3, HBO’s True Detective Season 2 is as unimpressive as one can imagine in the worst case scenario. This is not a blame game, it is only a statement of opinion by a critic that truly wants to enjoy True Detective, but the cards are on the table and HBO’s True Detective Season 2 is a dud not a stud.
Meanwhile, HBO’s other new series, Ballers, starring Dwayne Johnson, is an entirely other story. Ballers reaches for greatness, it strives for wild excitement, for a glimpse into a hedonistic lifestyle, and yet it came down to earth five minutes into Episode 1.
Ballers has nowhere to go. The characters are cemented in. Few are unique or watchable, and even the Rock’s charisma, infinite though it may be, is not enough to bring Ballers from some uneducated juvenile’s delinquent fantasy to the reality of the adult business world.
Granted, naked supermodels fawning over the biggest degenerates in the world has its appeal (sarcasm free), but those living the thug life as ballers should at least show us they are half as interesting as we imagine them to be. Finding out how stupidly people behave when they are nouveau riche does not excuse the lack of appeal or fascination their lifestyles embody.
Dwayne Johnson is charming, and it is really nice that he has a weekly show for us to glom onto because he is a great person in so many ways. It is lamentable that his show Ballers sucks five out of the seven letters the title expresses. Perhaps a better scenario and a costar that contributes more than overwrought “funny” faces would have given the show additional pizazz. Sometimes it’s about wanting what you need and this show needs more than ballers, it needs stones. Believe… that.