Spencer Strasmore and his boys are back to “ball out” in Season 2 of the hit HBO comedy Ballers. I couldn’t be more excited about this! Not only am I a fan of NFL football, which this show revolves around, but HBO’s Ballers also brought me closer to The Rock as an actor. I love him now even more than I did in the Fast & Furious films (and I did not think that was possible). Dwayne Johnson takes the reins with his larger-than-life charisma in this series that looks at the whirlwind lifestyles and real-life problems of former and current football players in sun-soaked Miami (a paradise on Earth). In case you missed it you can read all about my Season 1 coverage over here. So without further ado Ballers: The Complete Second Season will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on January 31st and we’ll be talking about it all down below.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is back as Spencer Strasmore in Season 2 of Ballers. Executive producers of the show include Stephen Levinson, Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Peter Berg, Evan Reilly, Rob Weiss, Julian Farino and Denis Biggs. The Rock’s comedic sidekick Rob Corddry also returns with cast members John David Washington, Omar Miller, Donovan Carter, Troy Garity and Arielle Kebbel. In addition the series features high profile pro-athletes and sports journalists such as Ndamkong Suh, Terrell Suggs, Anthony “Spice” Adams, Jared Odrick, Mark Schlereth and Jay Glazer. So now that we have all the 411 housekeeping out of the way let’s talk about everything that goes down in Season 2.
In the second season of Ballers, things pick up where we last left chaotically in the first season. Relationships and business is getting more competitive and complicated for retired football star turned financial manager Spencer Strasmore (Johnson) and the company he works for. He must not only also face his demons from the past when he goes head-to-head with the biggest business manager on the scene played by the legendary Andy Garcia, but also confront his growing medical issues and subsequent addictions as a result. This is where things hit home for me with the character of Spencer. He suffers from serious hip aliments much akin to my real life hip problems. By the end of the season he must choose whether or not to continue with illegal medication and cover up of the problem or accept the facts and get the hip replacement he needs. Gawd! I’ve been putting off my surgeries I need for years and 2017 is finally my year to face my demons. However, I’d be lying f I didn’t admit to y’all I’m so scared! I digress (sorry for getting offtrack).
Spencer’s closest friends and clients also struggle to find their footing too. Andy’s menacing and meddling character doesn’t help matters as Spencer and his business parter Joe (Corddry) are always trying their best to save face and one up him. Meanwhile, a humbled Ricky (John David Washington, who is a former pro-football player himself) explores his options as a free agent (with one hell of an offer from the New Orleans Saints), while getting to know the malicious father who left him behind. He’s a very meddling father if you ask my two cents on the matter. Charles (Omar Miller) tries to balance a new baby and his future in the game (as he takes on a new role int he Dolphins organization); and Vernon (Donovan Carter) deals with the consequences of his life off the field due to his stupid paintball mishap. There’s so much more going on too, the partying, the girls, Florida swamps, etc., but to tell you it all would be to spoil all the fun you’ll have with Spencer, Joe, Ricky, Charles and the rest of the gang.
Basically Ballers is a business where it’s go big or go home just like in the real NFL. In the past two seasons now Spencer and his “entourage” learn all the heard lessons accompanied with the bane of existence that having it all means being ready to fight for more dollars, deals and respect. Ain’t that just the God awful truth in life. Ugh. But that’s just it for me. The appeal of Ballers for me is not the just the Florida sunshine and Miami beaches I desire so much in life plus the crazy high end stakes of it all, but also the way the second season ties into real events that transpired from the previous NFL season. They reference teams’ strengths and weaknesses and even have the utmost respect for Tom Brady and crew. They also hit home again for me here in the second season with how they put down the Cleveland Clowns so much…err I mean the Browns. In other words, if you’re a fan of Florida sunshine, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, wild parties and girls and the NFL, I personally don’t know how you would not enjoy Ballers immensely like I do. Take that to the bank for what it’s worth.
- Encoding: AVC MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Clarity/Detail: Whether it’s upscaled from the Blu-ray source or my Apple TV’s HBO app Ballers always looks like a million bucks on my 4K display. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the sun-soaked Florida landscapes and rich, green vegetation or the obvious stretch marks always present across the Rock’s upper chest, but things look phenomenal here. Detail is amazingly impeccable throughout in the textures, skin pigments, backgrounds, clothing, television sets and character generation, vegetation and the many water environments (pool, oceanside, etc.), not to mention all the Florida honeys, like where I found mine.
- Depth: Because of the clarity and detail on display the onscreen characters all pop in the utmost of 3D-likeness against the deep, luscious backgrounds. There are too many examples to list here, but you’re just going to have to trust me…depth of field wears a badge of prominence throughout this television series’ 2-disc Blu-ray set. Every environment we’re in here the characters just pop against the deep Florida environments. You have to love it!
- Black Levels: The black levels are deep and inky throughout. They also brilliantly pop against the contrast of the many Florida neon lights of Miami at night.
- Color Reproduction: Come on! It’s Florida! Of course the colors are vivid and bright, and change tonally from scene-to-scene depending upon the amount generous Florida sunshine creeping through. It’s the utmost of realism too as because anyone that knows Florida knows it’s not always sunny 24/7, but gets pretty cloudy and stormy at least once a day. You gotta love it! Even into Season Two now I’m still head-over-heels in love with the wild green vegetation and blue waters. Can you tell I spent the majority of my life in grey Cleveland, Ohio and the four most recent years in dull Austin, Texas. Watching Ballers is a breath of fresh air.
- Flesh Tones: The skin tones are all lifelike and natural, and most importantly there’s a lot of Miami flesh always prominently on display throughout here. Like I said up above you got to love Florida!
- Noise/Artifacts: For the second straight year I did not notice any noise or unwanted artifacts that would keep you from enjoying this perfect HBO presentation. In my biased eyes it’s perfect in every way.
- Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Latin Spanish DTS 2.0
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, German, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
- Dynamics: The dynamics are well developed and equalized here, but like every other drama without a kicking soundtrack, which this show thankfully has, things just get really dialogue and very front heavy. That’s no fault to this presentation at all, but just the reality of the situation. Other than that dynamics are in check with the utmost of realism and authenticity of how things are balanced with central priority and dialogue is always prominent and clear, which is the most important factor here.
- Low Frequency Extension: Upon hitting play you will instantly notice the subwoofer pumping and jumping from your entire front setup due to the show’s killer soundtrack and musical selections employed throughout here at times due in part to the show’s party like atmosphere in Miami, FL. That’s because Miami is where the party just never stops, at least not for ballers like what we have in this show. You have to keep the jams thumping and life interesting, right? Of course you do! Other examples include onscreen scuffles like we have with Spencer trash talking and fighting an injured NFL player on a talk show in Episode One and various accents to onscreen events and other miscellaneous happenings.
- Surround Sound Presentation: Besides more of the LFE presentation, this is the only area I would have loved to have heard seriously beefed up because without atmospheric and ambiance moments, the rears only really come to life during the show’s party-like soundtrack hits and the many club scenes, etc. When sub pumps and thumps, the rears try their absolute best to put you in the middle of these party-like moments. As you can imagine this is when this surround track is killer. Otherwise you just hear minor ambiance in the scenes from them at a very low mix.
- Dialogue Reproduction: The dialog is clear, intelligible and mostly loud throughout. I have zero complaints here. Majority of it is very centralized throughout, but there’s nothing wrong with that as long as it’s all audible.
Ballers: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray includes “Inside the Episode” bonus segments that give the play-by-play on all 10 episodes, featuring interviews with executive producer Evan Reilly, star Dwayne Johnson and more. The Blu-ray version also includes an HD Digital Download, which redeems in both UltraViolet and iTunes. So you really have no excuse to watch Ballers: The Complete Second Season anywhere and however you want. Let’s take a look down below at the only other extras you’ll find in this 2 disc set (episodes 1-5 are housed on Blu-ray disc 1 where episodes 6-10 are on the second disc). There’s a Play All function to tackle all the episodes at once or you can select Episode Index off the main menu to select each individually. It’s essentially a pretty simple main menu FWIW.
- Inside The Episode (HD) – In typical HBO fashion, as we already discussed up above each episode contains a short little featurette that dives deeper into that particular episode.
Like I said last year whether you’re a Rock fan, HBO series fan, NFL fan, drama fan or even an everything Florida fan, I think Ballers has a little something for all to go around here. The second season here is a strong follow-up to one hell of a great HBO series. You just can’t beat the larger-than-life charisma that Dwayne Johnson exhumes in this series. There’s just something magical about the way he moves, talks and that wide, million dollar smile of his. It’s like his bling. I just can’t put my finger on it, but I also know I can’t resist it either. Call it divine intervention, brilliant marketing on the behalf of HBO last year or whatever you want, but I’m a hardcore fan of Ballers and I highly recommend picking up this 2-disc Second Season Blu-ray set this January. Why not work on your pump and get yourself ready for game time with Ballers: The Complete Second Season before the BIG GAME February 5th? You know you want to. So just do it!
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