More of a warning than it is a review.


I procrastinated heavily on writing the season finale for the first season of winning time. Life was happening. Couldn’t get around to it. I was extremely excited about the show’s second season and promised myself I would make up for it with complete, detailed reviews throughout the second season.

But then, harsh realities came into play.

The second season of winning time still readily displays its technical brilliance with its basketball sequences and still has Emmy-worthy, downright masterful performances from many individuals in the cast. However, the second season covers 4 whole years in 7 episodes, and within two episodes, it quickly started showing the signs of a show that was telling its audience that it wasn’t long for this world. Key supporting performances were drastically diminished (sorry to Rob Morgan & Gaby Hoffmann), and hall-of-fame players who were key contributors to the Lakers dynasty are never characters in the show (sorry to James Worthy & Byron Scott).

The first season of this show fully encapsulates the 1980 season. The purchase of the team and detailed back stories of every integral player and coach that this series decided to chronicle specifically. Sure, some characters were over-dramatized, historically inaccurate events, and many things were proven flat-out fictional. Sure, this show angered many current sports pundits, and there hasn’t been an actual member of that ’80s dynasty Lakers that co-signs the show as anything good whatsoever. None of that is unimportant.

However, this was an HBO QUALITY show. The network that brought you numerous prestige shows was in the process of making this show something that quite possibly could have had its place amongst the better HBO shows of all time. Hell, in one season, I would say that the quality of this show was vastly superior to something like all american, SURVIVOR’S REMORSE, or heels, or any other scripted non-documentary sports-based show on all of television. It was vastly F****** Superior to the Dwayne Johnson starring television show Ballers which ran for five seasons and got progressively worse with each passing season.

Sometimes, when a friend suggests that I start watching a television show that they’re hyped about, what I often tell them is that I will wait until it has a couple of seasons under its belt so that I know that whatever network is putting it on has faith in it and that I’m not going to end up getting cut off at the knees as a viewer. However, I rarely do this with HBO shows because even when the ratings are low, HBO is the channel that will give you one last farewell season to make your point before you go away.

Why not this time? Why not give it a four or five-episode arc to give a swift close to the proceedings? I will never have answers to these questions, and now I join the ranks of people who were fans of shows like manifest, southland, hannibal, and what may be fifty or so canceled-in-the-middle-of-the-season television shows by the Fox network over the past ten years that ended in a spectacularly bull**** way, and like those unfortunate souls….I’m just out here in a GLASS CASE OF EMOTION!

I always tell people who watch Game of thrones for the first time that they have the option to STOP WATCHING the show in the last season after the Battle of Winterfell, accept that as the end of the series, and live the rest of their lives in peaceful ignorant bliss whilst not having to deal with the bull**** of those last three episodes.

(Then they end up watching the following episodes and end up with the same sour taste that we all have, and I hit them with the “I told you so”)

Somewhere out there, a person saw the excellent first season of WINNING TIME and never got the chance to watch the second season. They watched the Lakers win the championship, going against all odds while telling a helluva coherent and entertaining story. I envy those people. 

I will give sort of the same warning that I give to Game of thrones fans to anybody reading this review who is considering watching the second season.

Do not f****** do this.

Pretend this show is a 10-part miniseries instead of a show with two seasons.

Save yourself the time.

You’re welcome.

This 2nd season of WINNING TIME: THE RISE OF THE LAKERS DYNASTY is streaming on MAX now………..you’ve been warned.

Eli Brumfield

Eli Brumfield in an actor/screenwriter from Seattle Washington, living in Los Angeles.

He is the host of the RV8 Podcast.

He hates the word cinefile, but considering how many films he consumes in a week...and how many films he goes out of his way to see, no matter the genre...he kinda seems to be one.

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