Tomorrow, Binge unveils its next big drama with Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.
When we kick off its 1991 and Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson Jr (Quincy Isaiah) has been diagnosed with HIV. It’s all you need to be hooked before we are taken back in 1979.
Here we meet Dr Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly) who is putting a mixture of cash and real estate assets up to purchase the Lakers. It’s a bold move given the league isn’t the powerhouse we know it as today.
The draft of 1979 was a lucrative one, which included college superstar Larry Bird (Sean Patrick Small), who is scooped up by Red Auerbach’s (Michael Chiklis) Boston Celtics, and Michigan State point guard Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson Jr, whose destiny comes down to the flip of a coin.
The rest is, as they say, history, and throughout the eight out of ten episodes offered for review, we are given a dramatised glimpse of the events that unfolded.
Jerry’s quest to break into the sporting industry and make the best out of his investment also includes the help of his daughter Jeanie (Hadley Robinson) and business manager Claire Rothman (Gaby Hoffman).
Each episode introduces a series of issues, both on and off the court, for the cast, which allows us to delve and broaden the scope of the series beyond just Magic Johnson. A standout is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Solomon Hughes) who is mystified by his teammate.
Created by Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is a true love letter for basketball fans. It’s an engrossing and intriguing piece of television that breaks the fourth wall to explain things.
The cast is jam-packed with talent, with names like Jason Clarke as Jerry West, Adrien Body as Pat Riley, Jason Segel as Paul Westhead, and Sally Field as Jessie Bess. But it’s Quincy Isaiah and John C. Riley who shine in the early instalments.
Whether or not you’re a sports fan, Winning Time is worth investing in, so step up to the line and aim for the slam dunk. You won’t be disappointed.
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty premiers at 1 pm AEDST on FOX Showcase on Monday 7 March, with a prime time encore at 8:30 pm. Episodes will also be premiering on Binge, with new episodes every Monday.