Ballers

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Ballers
Genre Comedy-drama[1]
Created by Stephen Levinson
Starring Dwayne Johnson
Rob Corddry
John David Washington
Omar Miller
Donovan W. Carter
Troy Garity
London Brown
Jazmyn Simon
Arielle Kebbel
Opening theme "Right Above It" by Lil Wayne feat. Drake
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 20 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Dwayne Johnson
Dany Garcia
Mark Wahlberg
Peter Berg
Evan Reilly
Stephen Levinson
Rob Weiss
Denis Biggs
Julian Farino
Producer(s) Bret Slater
Peter Sussman
David Levinson
Lori Jo Nemhauser
Karyn McKarthy
Neena Beber
Janace Tashjian
Location(s) Florida
New York
Cinematography Tobias Schliessler
Jamie Reynoso
Rodney Taylor
Editor(s) Colby Parker Jr.
Jeffrey M. Werner
Camera setup Single
Running time 27 minutes
Production company(s) Closest to the Hole Productions
Leverage Entertainment
Seven Bucks Entertainment
Film 44
Release
Original network HBO
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original release June 21, 2015 (2015-06-21) – present
External links
Website

Ballers is an American comedy-drama[1] television series created by Stephen Levinson and starring Dwayne Johnson.[2] The series premiered on the American cable television network HBO on June 21, 2015.[3] The pilot episode was written by Levinson and directed by Peter Berg.[2] On July 10, 2015, HBO announced the series would be renewed for a second season, which premiered on July 17, 2016.[4] On July 28, 2016, Ballers was renewed for a third season.[5] Season 3 is set to premiere on July 23, 2017.

Cast[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore, a retired NFL player turned financial manager[2]
  • Rob Corddry as Joe Krutel, a financial advisor at Anderson Financial who tries hard to fit in[2]
  • John David Washington as Ricky Jerret, a highly competitive and spiritual NFL player[2]
  • Omar Miller as Charles Greane, an affable former NFL player who is searching for his next career[2]
  • Donovan W. Carter as Vernon Littlefield, a deeply family-oriented NFL player[2]
  • Troy Garity as Jason, a top-tier sports agent[2]
  • London Brown as Reggie, Vernon's childhood friend who handles his money
  • Jazmyn Simon as Julie Greane, wife of ex–NFL player Charles Greane[2]
  • Arielle Kebbel as Tracy Legette (Season 2, recurring season 1), a sportscaster for a local TV station who is intimately involved with Spencer[6]

Recurring cast[edit]

Broadcast[edit]

The series premiered in the U.S. on HBO on June 21, 2015;[8] in Canada on June 21, 2015 on HBO Canada; in Italy on September 4, 2015 on Sky Atlantic;[citation needed] in the United Kingdom on September 8, 2015 on Sky Atlantic;[9] and in Australia on September 15, 2015 on Showcase.[10]

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 10 June 21, 2015 (2015-06-21) August 23, 2015 (2015-08-23)
2 10 July 17, 2016 (2016-07-17) September 25, 2016 (2016-09-25)

Season 1 (2015)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
(millions)
1 1 "Pilot" Peter Berg Stephen Levinson June 21, 2015 (2015-06-21) 2.16[8]
Former Miami Dolphins stand-out Spencer Strasmore and his friend Charles Greane must cope with the realities of life after football. Spencer starts working for a financial advisor, helping sign and mentor his younger friends still in the NFL, while Charles gets a job at a car dealership. Meanwhile, a mistake may cost Green Bay Packers wide receiver Ricky Jerret his roster spot when he's involved in an altercation at a nightclub.
2 2 "Raise Up" Julian Farino Evan Reilly June 28, 2015 (2015-06-28) 1.85[11]
Spencer struggles to sign Vinnie Vialonga as a client when he clashes with his childhood friend Reggie who handles all his money. Meanwhile, Jason works to renegotiate a contract extension for Vernon with the Dallas Cowboys, but has difficulties. During practice with his new Dolphins team, Ricky discovers that a teammate is not only unfriendly with him but is wearing his number. Now a struggling car salesman, Charles begins to wonder if he retired too early.
3 3 "Move the Chains" Julian Farino Evan Reilly July 5, 2015 (2015-07-05) 1.70[12]
Spencer and Joe ask their boss, Mr. Anderson for permission to use his yacht to host a corporate event to entice potential clients. After a locker room prank goes too far, Ricky discovers the real reason his teammate, Alonzo, has it out for him. Charles grows bored with retirement and remembers his gridiron glory days. Meanwhile at the party, Spencer and Reggie's rivalry reaches a boiling point when he tries to ruin his hospitality by insulting Spencer's upbringing of being adopted.
4 4 "Heads Will Roll" Julian Farino Rob Weiss July 12, 2015 (2015-07-12) 1.59[13]
In the aftermath of the corporate party, Joe struggles with a hangover and attempting to woo new clients on Mr. Anderson's yacht. Spencer is pressured to see a neurologist regarding his recurrent episodes from a TBI, while handling the conflict Reggie generates around Vernon's contract negotiations. Jason's dealings with the Dallas Cowboys bring in impressive figures that aren't enough for Reggie, and Vernon's inflated ego, and this puts Spencer on the line with their business and personal relationships. Also, Charles is bombarded by constant "sexting" from a woman he doesn't remember from the party.
5 5 "Machete Charge" Seith Mann Steve Sharlet July 19, 2015 (2015-07-19) 1.64[14]
Spencer begrudgingly comes to Vernon's aid when he is targeted by a woman looking to blackmail him with some incriminating photos during the corporate event. However, her lawyer Maximo Gomez tells Joe his client wants a half million dollar pay-off. Meanwhile, Charles' marriage is on the rocks after Julie finds a picture of a nude woman on his cell phone, which he emailed to himself. On the advice of Annabella, Ricky tries to find common ground with Alonzo by taking him and his brothers to a strip club—his treat. But their spending gets out of hand and he comes up with a crazy plan to put a stop to it.
6 6 "Everything Is Everything" John Fortenberry Evan Reilly July 26, 2015 (2015-07-26) 1.81[15]
Dealing with his own mental and financial problems, Spencer tries to balance Vernon and Ricky's issues, while Charles goes to Ricky's "funhouse" to escape the stress of his marriage. In order to drive Maximo's client, Angela Lee's price down, Joe negotiates with him on common ground at a horseracing track. Also, Ricky bears it all about the story behind his jersey number and his non-existent father during an interview with TV host Jay Glazer. Later, Spencer finally gives in to Tracy's concerns and gets an MRI.
7 7 "Ends" Simon Cellan Jones Rob Weiss August 2, 2015 (2015-08-02) 1.56[16]
Spencer decides to take the hit for Vernon by offering up his own money to pay off Angela Lee into not releasing the photos. But when he and Joe meet Maximo to hand him the money, there's a catch. Life without Annabella is hard on Ricky, who flies off the handle in public again. Jason meets his mother's new young golfer boyfriend and thinks he is scamming her in order to represent him as his agent. Later, Spencer and Charles say goodbye to Rodney and spread his ashes onto his high school's football field.
8 8 "Gaslighting" Simon Cellan Jones Evan Reilly August 9, 2015 (2015-08-09) 1.71[17]
Spencer must face up to his past with Angela Lee in order to save Vernon's future, and agrees to meet with her. Seeing the error of his promiscuous ways, Ricky tries to win back Bella, thinking a $400,000 "I'm sorry" ring will do it. Meanwhile, Charles puts his football skills to work at the car dealership when co-workers and customers bet he can't move an SUV in neutral. Also, Mr. Anderson gets a hold of the corporate event video and suspends Joe, who makes a permanent commitment to start his own financial firm.
9 9 "Head-On" Julian Farino Steve Sharlet August 16, 2015 (2015-08-16) 1.57[18]
As Vernon's scandal gets cleared up, he learns about a negative incident involving Reggie. Joe reaches out to Mr. Anderson in vain and thinks he and Spencer should walk out on him. Spencer wrecks his car to try to make amends with a former player from his past. Ricky has a motivational video made for Charles, causing him to get back into football.
10 10 "Flamingos" Julian Farino Stephen Levinson & Evan Reilly August 23, 2015 (2015-08-23) 1.40[19]
Spencer walks into his office finding his co-workers swarming, Joe's office destroyed (by Joe himself), and his office emptied. Spencer then is introduced to his new and considerably better office by Mr. Anderson. Mr. Anderson offers Spencer the lead role in the office's sports division, which has received a hefty 5 million dollar upgrade. Spencer feels odd because he doesn't want to turn on Joe but is given no choice but to accept. Vernon turns down the offer to his mega deal. Ricky's father approaches Ricky at camp. Spencer talks to Joe about Mr. Anderson firing Joe, and about running a company with him. Charles prepares for the new baby and gets called saying he will be a member of the Dolphins this season. Ricky talks to his father about life. Vernon is found by Spencer and Jason taking pictures of Flamingos where they talk about the deal Vernon did not want, but now gets excited about it and Spencer feels it's done. Spencer talks to Mr. Anderson about firing Joe. Charles witnesses the Dolphins camp entrance and gets sick. Ricky enters extravagantly. Spencer meets Joe in Coral Gables. Joe introduces Spencer many ideas of a new company involving the two. Spencer tells Joe he can't do it. Charles and Ricky enter camp as good teammates but are still unproven. Spencer tells Mr. Anderson he can't work with him without Joe. Spencer tells Joe about the meeting, Joe joins in with Spencer. Reggie apologizes to Spencer. Spencer, Joe, Vernon, Reggie, and Jason celebrate Vernon's contract.

Season 2 (2016)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
(millions)
11 1 "Face of the Franchise" Julian Farino Evan Reilly July 17, 2016 (2016-07-17) 1.59[20]
Convinced to appear on a talk show, Spencer ends up facing off with an old adversary, which puts his company and reputation in jeopardy. A reformed Ricky gets bad news in advance of his 30th birthday party. Charles relishes his new status as a fan favorite, but may face changes on the field.
12 2 "Enter the Temple" Julian Farino Evan Reilly July 24, 2016 (2016-07-24) 1.28[21]
Spencer makes a play to poach a big client from Andre, his business rival, while struggling to find a quick fix for his physical ailments. Ricky considers where to head to next. Reggie fights for what he believes Vernon owes him. Feeling underpaid and undervalued, Tracy takes a stand with her boss. Charles gets insights from his coach.
13 3 "Elidee" Julian Farino Steve Sharlet July 31, 2016 (2016-07-31) 1.27[22]
Spencer advises a reluctant Vernon to stay quiet when the truth behind his injury threatens his career. Trying to stave off Andre's attacks on their business, Spencer and Joe butt heads over how best to advise a client. Charles worries whether he's up for a challenge. A hard-to-impress Ricky takes a trip to tour a potential new home.
14 4 "World of Hurt" Julian Farino Rob Weiss August 7, 2016 (2016-08-07) 1.14[23]
Spencer and Joe search for Andre's weakness; Vernon anxiously awaits news; Jason woos a client; Ricky attempts to understand his father; Charles gets the truth from Siefert.
15 5 "Most Guys" Simon Cellan Jones Neena Beber & Evan Reilly August 14, 2016 (2016-08-14) 1.21[24]
Spencer tries to mentor Travis while dodging unwelcome medical news; Reggie and How buy a wild gift in an attempt to cheer up Vernon; Ricky encourages Charles to stand up for himself.
16 6 "Saturdaze" Simon Cellan Jones Rob Weiss August 21, 2016 (2016-08-21) 1.32[25]
Spencer tries to broker peace between Travis and a critic; Charles is forced to deliver bad news.
17 7 "Everybody Knows" Simon Cellan Jones Rashard Mendenhall & Zach Robbins August 28, 2016 (2016-08-28) 1.01[26]
Andre's surprise visit to the office sends Spencer scrambling to stay one step ahead of his rival. Meanwhile, Joe learns some unsavory secrets about his partner; Ricky tries to make up with his dad; and Charles schemes to keep a friend nearby.
18 8 "Laying in the Weeds" Simon Cellan Jones Steve Sharlet September 11, 2016 (2016-09-11) 0.87[27]
As Spencer tries to move forward, Joe works to keep things together. Charles and Ricky clash. Travis faces tough questions and worries about his prospects. At his Draft Day party, Spencer asks for help while trying to keep ASM's latest developments quiet.
19 9 "Million Bucks in a Bag" Julian Farino Evan Reilly & Steve Sharlet September 18, 2016 (2016-09-18) 1.00[28]
Spencer gets a surprising offer from Andre; Ricky mulls where to put down roots; Vernon works overtime to return to the field; Charles and Julie clash over his busy schedule.
20 10 "Game Day" Julian Farino Evan Reilly & Steve Sharlet September 25, 2016 (2016-09-25) 1.10[29]
Spencer makes a last-ditch effort to get back what he's lost. Ricky awaits a call that could define his future. Vernon takes a road trip. Siefert offers Charles a big opportunity, but it comes at a cost.

Reception[edit]

Season 1[edit]

The first season of Ballers received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the season has a rating of 80%, based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Ballers may not be a game-changer, but it scores points with Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, who brings charm and depth to the NFL version of Entourage."[30] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 65 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[31]

Season 2[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the season has a rating of 57%, based on 7 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10.[32] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 63 out of 100, based on 4 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "About - Ballers". HBO. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Andreeva, Nellie (February 13, 2014). "Dwayne Johnson's HBO Half-Hour Pilot 'Ballers' Picked Up To Series". Deadline.com. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ Pedersen, Erik (April 9, 2015). "HBO Launching Comedies 'The Brink' & 'Ballers' With 'True Detective' In June". Deadline.com. Retrieved April 9, 2015. 
  4. ^ Fowler, Matt (July 10, 2015). "Ballers Renewed for Season 2". IGN. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  5. ^ Roots, Kimberly (July 28, 2016). "Ballers Renewed for Season 3 at HBO". TVLine. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Woman Crush Wednesday: Arielle Kebbel Plays A Badass Sportscaster On 'Ballers'". Decider - Where To Stream Movies & Shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, HBO Go. 24 June 2015. 
  7. ^ Petski, Denise. "'Ballers': Serinda Swan Set To Recur On Dwayne Johnson HBO Comedy". Deadline. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Bibel, Sara (June 23, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'True Detective' Wins Night, 'Ballers', 'Naked and Afraid', 'The Last Ship' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 23, 2015. 
  9. ^ "About Ballers". Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  10. ^ Knox, David (27 August 2015). "Airdate: Ballers". TV Tonight. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  11. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (June 30, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: BET Awards Tops Night + 'True Detective', 'Ballers', 'Naked and Afraid' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 30, 2015. 
  12. ^ Bibel, Sara (July 8, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: Shark Week Wins Night, 'True Detective', ' Ballers', 'The Last Ship', 'Botched', 'Falling Skies' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  13. ^ Bibel, Sara (July 14, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Naked and Afraid XL' Wins Night, 'True Detective', 'Basketball Wives', 'Ballers', 'The Strain' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 14, 2015. 
  14. ^ Bibel, Sara (July 21, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Naked and Afraid XL' Wins Night, 'True Detective', 'Ballers', 'The Strain', 'The Last Ship', 'Tut' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 22, 2015. 
  15. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (July 28, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'I am Cait' Tops Night + 'Naked & Afraid XL', 'Rick & Morty', 'True Detective', NASCAR, 'Ballers' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 28, 2015. 
  16. ^ Bibel, Sara (August 4, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Rick and Morty' & 'Naked and Afraid XL', Win Night, 'True Detective', 'The Last Ship', 'Ballers', 'The Strain', 'Ray Donovan' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 4, 2015. 
  17. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (August 11, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'True Detective' Tops Night + 'Naked and Afraid XL', 'Rick & Morty', 'Ballers', & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 14, 2015. 
  18. ^ Bibel, Sara (August 18, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Naked and Afraid XL' Wins Night, 'Rick & Morty', 'Ballers', 'The Last Ship', 'The Strain', 'Ray Donovan' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  19. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (August 25, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Fear the Walking Dead' Tops Night + 'Talking Dead', 'Naked & Afraid', 'Rick & Morty', & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  20. ^ Porter, Rick (July 19, 2016). "Sunday cable ratings: 'Power' Season 3 premiere sets a record for Starz". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 19, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Sunday cable ratings: NASCAR races to No. 1, 'Power' stays strong". July 25, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2016. 
  22. ^ "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 7.31.2016 - Showbuzz Daily". 
  23. ^ Porter, Rick (August 9, 2016). "Sunday cable ratings: 'Power' and NASCAR share the top spot". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  24. ^ Porter, Rick (August 16, 2016). "Sunday cable ratings: 'Power' improves and stays at No. 1". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  25. ^ Porter, Rick (August 23, 2016). "Sunday cable ratings: 'Fear the Walking Dead' returns to series low". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  26. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (August 30, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 8.28.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2016. 
  27. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 13, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.11.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  28. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 20, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.18.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2016. 
  29. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 27, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.25.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved September 27, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Ballers (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Ballers: Season 1 reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 24, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Ballers (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 18, 2016. 
  33. ^ "Ballers: Season 2 reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 27, 2016. 

External links[edit]