By Melanie Mayberry, programming editor
The HBO original drama series, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, returned on Sunday (August 6) for the start of a seven-episode second season. The show, which stars John C. Reilly as Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, will explore the personal and professional lives of the team from 1980s through 1984, culminating in an NBA Finals rematch between the Magic Johnson-led Lakers against the Larry Bird-led Boston Celtics. The cast also includes Quincy Isaiah as Magic, Adrien Brody as Lakers coach Pat Riley, Solomon Hughes as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jason Clarke as Jerry West, Hadley Robinson as Jeanie Buss, the owner’s ambitious daughter, and DeVaughn Nixon, as his father, Lakers point guard Norm Nixon.
The first season generated strong reviews from critics and fans alike. But is season two any good? Rotten Tomatoes, which tracks critical reviews, currently gives season two a score of 87 out of 100, based on 15 reviews. Here’s a sampling of the reviews and a show trailer. Enjoy.
“As a piece of drama it is every bit as energetic, flash and audacious as the previous series, with a great use of contemporary music.” — The Times (UK).
“The stylistic flourishes of Winning Time: The Rise Of The Lakers Dynasty can be distracting at times, but the story is still solid (even if it’s not fully factual) and the performances are still across-the-board excellent.” — Decider.
“Not everything in Winning Time is verbatim, sure. (Except the parts that are!) But sometimes, as in this second season, it’s the interpretation that speaks loudest.” — The Ringer.
“The many good things about the series — from the performances to the basketball sequences, which feel as if they too have upped their game — would be so much better if the producers just dialed down the snark and salaciousness a few notches.” — CNN.com.
“Hilarious, exasperating, and even heartbreaking, the magic has indeed returned.” — Variety.
“Its greatest strength persists, that being its deeply felt love for the era it’s exploring. It’s a story told with the same zeal you might hear in the voice of a friend who just read a great book about the NBA and needs to tell you all about it.” — Consequence.
And a rare bad review:
“The new batch of episodes feel like a creative downer from last year’s, and thus even less built to take advantage of the friendlier environment in which they’ll be airing.” — Rolling Stone.
To read more reviews of Winning Time, season two, at Rotten Tomatoes.com, click here. Future episodes will air Sunday nights on HBO and Max.