Custom tailored suits, exotic cars, professional football, and scantily clad women – what’s not to like as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson ascends to the helm of HBO’s new series “Ballers,” premiering Sunday at 10 p.m. Representing his first foray into a regular TV series, Johnson’s name alone is enough to initially attract curiosity seekers and generate respectable viewer numbers, yet this series has been designed for long term endurance.
Executive producers Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson, two of the creative forces behind “Entourage,” couldn’t have drafted a more personable contender. While the Rock’s built a solid career in the action genre, as seen in the current “San Andreas” where he plays a helicopter pilot rescuing survivors after the Big quake, “Ballers” gives him a license to exercise those previously untapped dramatic muscles.
This behind-the-scenes NFL dramedy kicks off with Spencer Strasmore’s (Johnson) delivering the eulogy at a former World Series team mate’s funeral. The deceased made the mistake of cheating on his wife and ended up plastered to the side of a heavy equipment truck. Serving as a cautionary hint of what’s to come, the player’s widow was left penniless – no will, no life insurance.