Skip to main content

TV Review: HBO’s ‘Ballers’

Dwayne Johnson stars as a retired football player who is trying to reinvent himself as a financial manager for current players in Miami in HBO’s Ballers. Johnson, Stephen Levinson (Entourage), and Mark Wahlberg serve as executive producers. Ballers premieres June 21 at 10 p.m. ET. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

"Ballers isn't especially bad, but nor is it especially good. It's a show that's neither fish nor fowl: not nearly funny enough to really qualify as a comedy (and it's not until the fourth and final episodes sent to critics that it even seems to be trying all that hard to function as a comedy), not serious or complicated enough to qualify as a drama. It's just... a show.”
—Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

“Even when the performers are at their best, Ballers makes a case for getting them better material. Like EntourageBallers is infectious precisely because it emphasizes surfaces over depths and requires almost nothing from the audience.”
—Joshua Alston, A.V. Club

Ballers is hardly a must-watch yet, and the early episodes rely on a lot of familiar problems-of-fame stories. But it has potential, and its timing just might be right. Ballers shares some of Entourage‘s wish-fulfillment, it’s-all-good ethos. But Ballers is also constantly aware that it could go all bad on any given Sunday.”
—James Poniewozik, Time

“If HBO’s programming philosophy amounts to stitching together a quilt to satisfy different constituencies, Ballers is a logical patch to add, especially if the goal is to hang onto some of the men who watch the new season of True Detective. It’s just too bad that those responsible for this sports comedy forgot to bring their ‘A’ game.”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

“Johnson is still the main attraction, and his multifaceted work here thankfully keeps Ballers, at least for the moment, from becoming Entourage for athletes. Here’s hoping there are no fumbles on the horizon.”
—Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter