DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Dwayne Johnson, Rob Corddry, John David Washington, Omar Benson Miller
Writing Credits:

A series centered around a group of football players and their families, friends, and handlers.

Not Rated

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 2.0
French DTS 5.1
German DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 358 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 1/31/17

• “Inside the Episodes” Featurettes


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Ballers: The Complete Second Season [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 18, 2017)

Newly-minted “Sexiest Man Alive” Dwayne Johnson returns for Season Two of the HBO series Ballers, a program about sports agents and the athletes they represent. The Blu-ray includes all of Season Two’s 10 episodes across two discs. The plot synopses come straight from the Blu-rays’ menus.

Face of the Franchise: “An on-camera scuffle leaves sports agent Spencer Strasmore’s (Johnson) company in jeopardy. Ricky’s (John David Washington) new attitude is threatened before his birthday.”

While I found Season One of Ballers to offer decent entertainment, it didn’t really connect with me. Still, I liked it enough to give S2 a shot, and I hoped the second year would improve on its predecessor.

And perhaps it will, but “Face” offers a lackluster launch to the year. Maybe that’s unavoidable, as the premiere episode needs to re-establish characters and situations. Still, “Face” doesn’t do a lot to make me dying to see what else will happen.

Enter the Temple: “Spencer tries to poach a client. Ricky considers the next move. Reggie (London Brown) fights for what he thinks he’s worth. Tracy (Arielle Kebbel) takes a stand at work.”

“Temple” broadens S2 in a fairly satisfying manner. With the preliminaries of the season premiere out of the way, it manages to develop characters and situations pretty well, factors that allow it to give me hope S2 will work for the best.

Elidee: “The truth behind Vernon’s (Donovan W. Carter) injury endangers his career. Spencer and Joe (Rob Corddry) butt heads. Ricky tours a potential new home.”

One problem with Ballers comes from the characters, as many of them lack a lot of charisma or spark. Ricky offers an exception to that rule, as Washington plays the part of the diva receiver well. His moments mark the best parts of “Elidee”.

World of Hurt: “Spencer and Joe search from Andre’s (Andy Garcia) weakness. Vernon awaits his fate. Jason (Troy Garity) makes a play for a fresh talent. Ricky tries to understand his dad (Robert Wisdom).”

After the rising arc of the last couple of shows, “Hurt” feels less engaging. This doesn’t make it a bad episode, but it lacks the strong forward momentum and seems a bit blah.

Most Guys: “Spencer looks to mentor Travis (Adam Aalderks). Reggie and Joe get a wild gift for Vernon. Ricky runs into a face from his past.”

Ballers tends to take itself too seriously, so I like it when the series points out some of the absurdities of pro athlete life – such as when players opt for bizarre choices as pets. That side of “Guys” amuses, and other parts manage to develop the narrative well.

Saturdaze: “Spencer tries to broker peace. Charles (Omar Benson Miller) struggles to deliver bad news. Joe attends a party at Andre’s. Ricky is thrown for a loop by his dad.”

For the most part, “Saturdaze” offers an episode that thickens the plot without much real forward momentum. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the series needs the occasional “prime the pump” program. Still, it means “Saturdaze” feels a bit dull.

Everybody Knows: “Spencer scrambles to stay ahead. Joe learns some truths. Charles plots to keep Ricky around.”

While some of Ballers’ main characters never become very interesting, I do like the supporting parts – especially Dolphins executive Larry Seifert, a ruthless personality brought to vivid life by Dule Hill. I wish we got more of Seifert, so his semi-prominent position in “Knows” adds zest. Other machinations help turn this into a solid show.

Laying in the Weeds: “Spencer tries to move forward. Charles and Ricky clash. Travis (Adam Aalderks) worries about his prospects.”

With “Weeds”, some plot threads complete but others intensify. With a bit more humor than usual, the episode pushes along events well.

Million Bucks in a Bag: “Andre makes Spencer an offer. Ricky considers his legacy. Vernon tries to get back on his feet. Charles struggles to balance his work and home life.”

With one episode to go in S2, “Bucks” does what it needs to do. It percolates various issues and points us toward their possible resolution in the finale.

Game Day: “Spencer makes a last-ditch effort to get back what he’s lost. Vernon takes a road trip. Charles eyes a big opportunity.”

S2 ends with a somewhat sentimental show, and that makes it a disappointment – not a terrible letdown, but a less than stellar conclusion nonetheless. I’m glad it wraps up various threads but I wish it’d done so in a less goopy manner.

Still, even with a lackluster finale, S2 works pretty well. The year provides a stronger overall narrative and delivers a more entertaining experience than S1 did. This sends the series out with momentum and gets me to look forward to Season Three.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Ballers appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these Blu-Ray Discs. Across the board, the shows looked attractive.

Sharpness was usually solid. A few wider shots showed a little softness, but those instances remained minor. Instead, the majority of the movie seemed accurate and concise. I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws were a non-factor, as I witnessed no specks, marks or other debris.

Colors were good. The series opted for a fairly amber palette and the Blu-ray replicated these tones in an appealing manner. Black levels were appropriately deep, and shadows seemed clear and well-rendered. Across the board, the visuals proved to be pleasing.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack suited the shows pretty well but won't win any awards. The soundstage appeared nicely broad at the appropriate times and could be moderately engulfing on occasion.

It's a talky little series, so the focus was mainly up front, but the audio expanded when necessary. This occurred mostly via gentle environmental ambience, so the surrounds didn’t have a lot to do. That said, the imaging made sense for the story, and parties/bars/etc. added some zip to the proceedings.

Sound quality seemed fine. Dialogue always appeared crisp and natural, and I had no trouble understanding it. The low-key music that acted as the score was warm and distinctive. Effects also seemed realistic and adequate for the tasks at hand. Ballers won't be anyone's demo track, but it worked well for the series.

All 10 shows come with Inside the Episode featurettes. In total, these fill 30 minutes, seven seconds with notes from writer/executive producer Evan Reilly and actors Dwayne Johnson, Andy Garcia, John David Washington, Rob Corddry, Donovan W. Carter, Troy Garity, Jazmyn Simon and Omar Benson Miller.

“Inside” examines story/character areas. These programs tend to just explain the episodes and they lack much in the way of insight.

Season One of Ballers gave us a fairly mediocre collection of shows, but Season Two shows clear signs of improvement. While these don’t quite make it a great series, S2 creates a stronger year and provides forward momentum S1 lacked. The Blu-rays offer largely positive picture and audio but supplements remain forgettable. Season Two of Ballers works pretty well and moves us toward Season Three in a satisfying manner.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main