Don’t Call a Show Good, or Bad, Until The End is Known: On Ballers, True Detective, and House of Cards.

In a previous post, I mentioned Herodotus’s lesson, to “call no man happy until he is dead.” My specific application of his lesson in that case was to say that the biggest issue with HBO’s Ballers is the tendency for the episodes to end on soft, conflict-free notes.

I hope I didn't hurt the feelings of these guys.
I hope I didn’t hurt the feelings of these guys.

But I also failed to bring the point full-circle, which is that it’s unfair to call Ballers good or bad before we know how it ends. We should get through this season before we trash it. In particular, it’s unfair for me to do this when I can’t stand that the same thing is being done by critics and audiences to another show I love: True Detective. Continue reading “Don’t Call a Show Good, or Bad, Until The End is Known: On Ballers, True Detective, and House of Cards.”

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What exactly is Ballers supposed to be?

Herodotus told us to call no man happy until he is dead. The same is true of television: no series, no season, no episode can be called good until it is over. All endings matter. And it is for this reason that the first episode of HBO’s Ballers is good, while the subsequent two are bad.

The three things that you need to know before you keep reading are a) Ballers is the new Entourage, b) I do not like Entourage, but c) I kinda like Ballers.

Point A is not debatable. Everyone agrees that it is the new Entourage. To be more specific, it’s the “Entourage of the NFL,” and remember that Entourage was always “Sex and the City for men.” Which makes Ballers the “(Sex and the City for men) of the NFL.” (Sex and the City, if you cannot remember it, was the Girls of the late ’90s and early oughts.)

Regarding my dislike for Entourage: I have only seen two episodes. The first two. There was not a single moment during those first two during which I thought to myself that I should continue watching. I gave it two, rather than one, out of a sense of fairness,and because I’d finished The Wire and needed something else to watch. The second episode of Entourage is the worst episode of television that I can recall finishing. It’s a terrible way to spend thirty minutes. I would rather spend thirty minutes on an episode of Duck Dynasty or the first ninety pages of a Dan Brown novel.

Anything with this many smiles = boring.
Anything with this many smiles = boring.

The reason that Entourage is so bad is that it is nothing but watching good things happen to bad people. (I am aware enough of Entourage to know that, yes, the show continues within the mold of bad people, good things, throughout its run).  There is nothing more boring than a television show in which the characters continually get what they want. But enough about Entourage. Let’s discuss the trouble with Ballers. Continue reading “What exactly is Ballers supposed to be?”