Wednesday, June 24, 2015


True Detective was the big premiere Sunday on HBO, but it was followed by two comedies making their debut, The Brink and Ballers.  And just as True Detective is no Game Of Thrones (or no True Detective), these two aren't exactly Veep or Silicon Valley.

The Brink is the better of the two. It's a political comedy starring Jack Black, Tim Robbins, Pablo Schreiber and Aasif Mandvi. The pilot has a crisis brewing in Pakistan, where a psycho leader in a coup threatens to use captured U.S. missiles to attack Israel (I think that's what happened--wasn't entirely clear).  So the question is how should the U.S. respond.  Any direct action can lead to an avalanche of trouble, but so can doing nothing.

Tim Robbins plays the Secretary of State, who likes kinky sex but is (as far as I can tell) meant to be a fairly responsible advisor.  There's Jack Black as a U.S. Embassy functionary in Pakistan who gets stuck out on the streets but is able to fax some valuable information to the White House.  And Schreiber ("Pornstache" from Orange Is The New Black) is the drugged-up pilot who's flying toward Pakistan to drop bombs near some residential areas.  A decent cast.

The show, like pretty much every political comedy, is fast-paced and cynical.  It's not as clever as Veep--not yet, anyway--and also has the unfortunate habit of occasionally dropping in extraneous political comments from the lead characters which aren't funny or witty enough to justify the preaching.

Right now things are on the brink.  There are only eight episodes, but does that mean they'll keep up the brinksmanship each episode? I'll watch next week to see if it gets better.  I guess that means the show is on the brink.

Ballers is Entourage meets North Dallas Forty.  A lot of it is about luxuriating in the glamour and girls of pro football, but it's also about the toll the life takes.  We're introduced to leading man Dwayne Johnson (who's a true movie star these days--he doesn't need TV) waking up and popping pain pills like they're M&Ms.  He's an ex-NFL player who's been signed to a financial management firm for his connections, A good guy, he sees football players aren't ready to deal with the money they're making, but he needs to recruit more to hold on to his job.

Johnson has charisma, but so far the show isn't that compelling. Unless it improves quickly, I'll be leaving before halftime.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't look promising yet.

Catatastrophe debuted on Amazon Prime this weekend. I mention because I gave up on the new HBO shows pretty early and watched this instead. Sort of a rom com (American guy on a trip diddles Irish teacher in England and gets her preggers and decides to make a go of it) . Not bad. Not silly. Good dialog. The characters are around 40 so its not about obnoxious youngsters. 6 episodes of 25 minutes each

3:48 AM, June 24, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I don't get Amazon Prime. Maybe I should, but I figure they'll be taking over everything soon enough.

10:19 AM, June 24, 2015  
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9:36 PM, December 22, 2016  

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