They have a very sweet slot right after the Season 2 debut of True Detective on June 21 but HBO’s new comedies are neither good nor funny – which is a real shame because both Ballers and The Brink have such great real life material to draw from. As my video review above says, Ballers is really little more than a tired Entourage meets the NFL and geopolitical satire The Brink is not even Dr. Strangelove lite.
Despite the presence of the right now red hot Dwayne Johnson as a broke and battered ex-superstar linebacker for the Miami Dolphins who is looking to reinvent as a financial manager to guys still on the field and in the money, Ballers fumbles. Produced by the Entourage team of Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg, the series lack all the wit, relevance and insight that Starz’s basketball centric Survivor’s Remorse displays in a similar pro-sports arena.
As for The Brink… well, it’s certainly not the best work we’ve seen from Tim Robbins or Jack Black, to put it gently. With the Bob Roberts actor as a hedonistic Secretary of State trying to stop a coup in Pakistan from spiraling into a nuclear war and the Kung Fu Panda star as the low-level U.S. Embassy staff pressganged into getting info to D.C., The Brink still goes nowhere fast. Premiering a week after Veep ended its fourth season, the series from Weeds producer Roberto Benabib and Kim Benabib serves in many ways to remind us just how sharp the Amando Iannucci Emmy winner can be – so thank God for HBO GO.
Check out my review of Ballers and The Brink and tell us what you think. Will you hang around after True Detective 2 to watch the new shows starting at 10 PM on Sunday?