Ballers Season 5 Initial Thoughts
Earlier in the winter, when I came down with a cold I binged the entire series of Ballers in about three days. As excessive as it is in just about every way, it’s one of my favorite shows on television since being introduced to Entourage. I didn’t have the pleasure of watching Entourage as it premiered on HBO, so I imagine this is what it would feel like.
Three episodes into the new season and I’m very underwhelmed. Up until the third, I was unimpressed with the story and where the characters were. I don’t know what they’re doing with this season or the trajectory of the plot but it seems as if the producers phoned this one in. Spencer, played by none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, seems to be narrating each episode of the season through what looks like a testimonial for TV. In addition to his narration, there are flashbacks from Spencer’s childhood that I'm guessing are there to show who he was and why he has certain traits today. It’s different than the previous seasons and I just don’t think it’s as strong they wanted it to be. As a filmmaker, I can appreciate a TV show that deviates from its traditional storyline, however, I think Ballers is going in the wrong direction. What made Ballers what it is today was the flashiness and the absurdity of the characters and the life of what it looks like to be a professional athlete. Despite Ballers looking like football-Entourage on the surface, the show took steps to open viewers’ eyes and give a voice to young athletes who are constantly taken advantage of by colleges and organizations like the NFL. Organizations that seemingly want what’s best for you when in actuality they want you to depend on them so they can do whatever they want with your career and your money.
What I’m most excited to see play out is the clear rift that has formed between Spencer and Joe. Last season ended with Spencer leaving Sports X to pursue his legal battle with the NCAA leaving Joe in charge. Now, it’s as if they have no relationship what-so-ever. I want need to know what happened between them. Their relationship as friends and business partners was one of the core plotlines of the previous four seasons so giving their characters a storyline that pins them against each other needs to be resolved.
My favorite group of characters, The Anderson Brothers, are back and better than ever. They’re richer than they’ve ever been, thanks in part to Spencer, and they’re helping Spencer finance his deal with the Chiefs, and I can’t wait to see the insanity that ensues between them and Spencer.
Ricky, poor Ricky, seems to be in another one of his situations. He was hit by a car in the first episode and with an eight-month recovery in his future, it seems as if his football career has come to an end. He started to go off of the rails a little bit in the first two episodes but after a visit from Jay Glazer maybe we’ll see him make the transition to sports commentator.
Other than that, I’m very displeased with Season 5 so far. HBO announced that Ballers will be ending after Season 5 so this could be the Producer’s way of wrapping up the show, but I personally think it could have been done better.
I’ll see you after the finale.
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