WINNING TIME: THE RISE OF THE LAKERS DYNASTY: SEASON TWO
Starring: John C. Reilly, Quincy Isaiah, Jason Clarke, Adrien Brody, Gaby Hoffmann, Jason Segel, Hadley Robinson, DeVaughn Nixon, Solomon Hughes, Tamera Tomakili, Newton Mayenge, Spencer Garrett, Brett Cullen, Gillian Jacobs, Thomas Mann, McCabe Slye, and Michael Chiklis
Creators: Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht
Winning Time is pure entertainment. If Season One was the initial ascent in the Lakers rollercoaster of a dynasty, Season Two is that first exhilarating drop. This series shows how exceptional direction (especially from Salli Richardson-Whitfield) can use a stacked cast to their absolute fullest. From big names like John C. Reilly and Adrien Brody, to newcomers Quincy Isaiah and Hadley Robinson, this ensemble is top-notch, highlighted by Jason Clarke’s magnificently hot-headed portrayal of Jerry West. If Season Two is indeed the end, there’s no other way to salute this amazing show than with two words… “FUCK BOSTON!”
It feels weird talking about the second season of Winning Time now knowing that it’s the series' last. With that, the season, and by extent the series, ends on such a dour note for a show called Winning Time. I can’t blame showrunners Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht, as they clearly had more seasons planned before HBO abruptly canceled it, and while the ending is disappointing, the season still offers a fascinating look at the Showtime Lakers, featuring tons of style, pizzazz, and an outstanding cast (Quincy Isaiah and Jason Segel stand out again). Fingers crossed HBO reverses this decision.
In its second and final season (HBO abruptly announced the series’ cancellation the day after the finale), Winning Time continues to deliver on everything that made Season One a success. The cast is largely the same, so the performances are still top-notch (Jason Segel and Jason Clarke, especially), while the stylistic flourishes bring the same crackling energy as before. But more importantly, the story carries more drama this season as it navigates ego, rivalries, and self v. team in the locker room. Sadly, despite the rushed codas to make it appear as a planned series finale (which it wasn’t), it ends on an incomplete, sour note.