The Game’ On Paramount+, A Vegas-Based Continuation Of The Hit BET Football Dramedy

The Recreation was initially a spin-off from Mara Brock Akil’s long-running UPN/CW sitcom Girlfriends, however took on a lifetime of its personal when it moved from The CW to BET after its third season. The present grew to become much less comedic and handled extra severe and real-life points, despite the fact that they had been nonetheless examined by means of the lens {of professional} soccer. The present is again after a six-year hiatus, with some new faces becoming a member of a number of previous associates, and a transfer from San Diego to Los Angeles. Does it have the identical qualities that made it one among BET’s largest hits?


Opening Shot: We see the Las Vegas Strip, and the brand of the Vegas Combating Fury, an growth professional soccer franchise. Showing within the hype reel is the proprietor, Ulysses S. Thatcher (Tim Daly), recognized affectionately as “The Colonel.”

The Gist: The Colonel, who received a few championships with St. Louis, appears to have a championship-level roster put collectively already, with defensive again Garrett Evans (Toby Sanderman) main the way in which. He has additionally promised that one of many minority homeowners will likely be Black. He received’t say who it’s, however Evans’ superagent, Tasha Mack (Wendy Raquel Robinson) is aware of that it’s her son, all-pro quarterback Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez). However The Colonel is extra concerned about having Malik play yet another season as the brand new workforce’s quarterback.

That phrase hasn’t gotten again to Malik in San Diego, who’s sitting alongside his previous faculty teammate Caleb Jones (Cecil Blutcher), auditioning ladies to come back with Malik to the workforce’s launch occasion. Malik nonetheless thinks he’s getting the possession stake, and he’s celebrating at the truth that he’ll be the primary Black minority proprietor of a workforce. Within the meantime, Tasha simply needed to fireplace her assistant in the midst of a flight to Vegas as a result of she admitted that she’s been sleeping with Malik.

The workforce is holding a tryout that’s open to the general public, and essentially the most high-profile hopeful is Jamison Fields (Vaughn Hebron), a high faculty operating again whose profession was derailed when he was despatched to jail on statutory rape fees (he was 19, the lady was 16). He’s at the moment working as a stripper at one membership and a server on the membership the place Raquel Navarro (Analisa Velez) works. Raquel additionally sings throughout open mic nights.

In Miami, Brittany Pitts (Adriyan Rae) resides her “828” life, and her buddies are there to have fun together with her when a rep from the financial institution involves foreclose on her rental; to purchase herself a while, she provides him a framed portray of her Corridor of Fame dad, Jason Pitts (Coby Bell). However she leads to Vegas, taking her buddy Raquel up on her supply to enter enterprise there. She performs craps together with her final $600 and wins a ton of cash…. which is grabbed instantly by a debt collector who’s been shadowing her.

When she runs into her “Auntie Tasha”, she reveals that she owes numerous folks over $900,000. Since Tasha wants a brand new assistant, she hires Brittany, and duties her with delivering some Champagne to Garrett. Garrett shoves an envelope with $30k in it to provide to a celebration planner, which supplies Brittany an thought: Hold the cash, fireplace the planner, and maintain the social gathering on the membership the place Raquel works, with Raquel offering the leisure.

The Game
Photograph: Josh Stringer/Paramount+

What Exhibits Will It Remind You Of? Since this can be a continuation of The Game, which ran on The CW and BET for 9 seasons between 2006 and 2015, we’ll simply say it reminds us of that. It’s again to a half-hour format, like its earlier seasons, although the primary episode is known as a one-hour story break up into two components.

Our Take: The brand new model of The Recreation, with Devon Greggory (American Soul) put in as showrunner, shakes the formulation up of the long-running BET hit simply sufficient to make issues contemporary, however doesn’t attempt to change the formulation utterly. In a approach, it’s the identical precept that was used just lately for CSI: Vegas, with new faces mingling with some previous associates. It provides viewers of the primary model some consolation with characters they’re aware of however presents a brand new story and new characters for these simply coming to the franchise.

As the unique sequence did, The Recreation examines Black tradition by means of the lens {of professional} soccer. By transferring the setting from San Diego to Las Vegas, they add the tradition of playing to the combination, one thing that’s coming to the fore with main league-level groups just like the Raiders and the Golden Knights organising store in Sin Metropolis in actual life, and sports activities playing proliferating across the nation.

Having Tasha and Malik as the principle returnees — we’ll additionally see Pooch Corridor as Derwin Davis, Coby Bell as Jason Pitts and Brittany Daniel as Kelly Pitts — makes excellent sense, since Tasha is huge time agent and participant within the league’s enterprise. And whereas Malik might find yourself placing his possession dream apart for a bit, there are points with how he’s coping with a demise in his circle and the way CTE and different post-playing points are at all times at the back of his thoughts.

Should you’re anticipating gut-busting laughs, you then didn’t watch the later seasons of the unique sequence, which veered extra in the direction of drama than anything. There’s sufficient that’s humorous to generate some chuckles right here and there, however the present then and now could be character-driven, and Greggory and his writers have accomplished a superb job creating new compelling characters, particularly Hebron as Jamison, who will hold attempting to make a workforce despite the fact that folks received’t neglect his previous.

Intercourse and Pores and skin: None, at the least within the two-part premiere.

Parting Shot: Malik is pulled over by cops, and after they odor weed within the automotive, they instantly go to cuff him. Caleb, who was within the automotive with Malik, bolts.

Sleeper Star: It does look like Adriyan Rae as Brittany Pitts could have an enormous function in Jamison’s profession, because it appears like the 2 are getting shut. However as a result of she additionally works for Tasha, which may find yourself being an issue.

Most Pilot-y Line: We’re unsure what a part of the South Tim Daly acquired his accent from, but it surely’s fairly the distraction. Additionally, you might spend the primary half of the two-part premiere questioning why nobody appears to acknowledge Caleb’s presence.

Our Name: STREAM IT. The return of The Recreation carries on what made the unique sequence so standard: Properly-written characters coping with actual points.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about meals, leisure, parenting and tech, however he doesn’t child himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared within the New York Instances, Slate, Salon,,, Quick Firm and elsewhere.

Stream The Game On Paramount+ | Stream It Or Skip It?


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