Ballers is an American sports comedy-drama series following a retired NFL player who pursues a career as a financial manager of other NFL players. The series stars Dwayne Johnson, Rob Corddry, John David Washington, Omar Miller and Troy Garity. Check out my review of Season 2 here.
Like Season 2 of Ballers, Season 3 takes place during the off season of the NFL. Whilst the first two seasons focused heavily on lead characters Spencer and Joe trying to build up their clientele for Anderson Financial Management (ASM), Season 3 takes off in a new direction with ASM attempting to pull off a mammoth deal; moving a football team to Las Vegas.
The change of direction for the series is much appreciated, as come the end of Season 2, I did find the theme of Joe and Spencer fighting fires for their clients became a little tiresome. With the shift on attempting to bring a football team to Las Vegas rather than focusing on individual NFL players and their woes, naturally the series’ focus is more business based rather than solely football. As Spencer and Joe attempted to work around the logistics of the mega deal, I couldn’t help but find myself invested in the refreshed storyline.
As a result of the shift of premise for Season 3, Season 3 takes place across a number of locations including New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco and of course Miami. Visiting the varying locations across the season helps to keep each episode fresh and thankfully it never becomes too stale, much like we saw in Season 2. Towards the end of the season we saw some of the supporting cast gradually head over to the West coast, where Spencer and Joe are predominantly based for the last few episodes. Whilst this is no doubt foreshadowing for Season 4, it all felt far too forced and unrealistic.
Looking at the viewing figures for the first two seasons of Ballers, Season 1 was undoubtedly popular, whereas Season 2 took a big hit in viewers. The pivot of the series makes sense to try and shake things up and it certainly rejuvenated my interest in the show. What’s more, Season 3 of Ballers features cameo appearances from Travis Scott, as well as introducing new entertaining characters played by Steve Guttenberg and Steven Weber. It’s clear to see that HBO tried to pull out all the stops in reinvigorating interest in the show.
All of the main cast return from the initial two seasons, with Dwayne Johnson (Spencer) and Rob Corddry (Joe) leading the line. Characters Spencer and Joe certainly have the bulk of the screen time compared to the supporting cast, but frankly their storyline is much more interesting than that of the other characters. Whilst Season 2 felt a bit like an ensemble cast with each characters’ storyline trying to get a near equal piece of the pie, Season 3 cuts a lot of the waffle and instead focuses on the exciting narratives.
There is however one notable absentee from Season 3 and that is NFL rookie Travis Mack, played by Adam Aalderks. There’s no explanation at all in Season 3 as to where he has disappeared to and given how much of Season 2 revolved around his storyline, it’s a bit on insult that we don’t even get a basic answer as to why he’s no longer around. I was hopeful that he may make a reappearance in the latter seasons but after a quick search online, this doesn’t look to be the case.
All in all, Season 3 of Ballers does feel like an improvement on Season 2, but it’s still lacking a bit of that brazenness and “baller” like lifestyle of Season 1. However, with its new direction and efforts to revitalize the series, I’m hopeful that the final two seasons can build on some pretty solid foundations.
With a rejuvenated storyline, a shift in focus and a host of cameo appearances, Season 3 of Ballers is a notable improvement on its second season.