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5 reasons to get excited about 'The Player'

There are a lot of good TV shows premiering this fall, but we need to start talking about The Player. NBC has put together an intriguing show with a solid creative team and a top-notch cast—there’s no reason this series shouldn’t be at the top of your watch list when it premieres in September. But if you need some convincing, here are five reasons why TV fans should get excited about The Player.

1. It’s bringing action back to network TV

TV in general has had so few true action series, and they’ve almost all been on cable or premium channels. That’s about to change with The Player, which brings applause-worthy stuff right from the beginning of its pilot. The show’s premise of gambling on literally any crime sets up endless possibilities for future edge-of-your-seat storylines. And it’s not just that there’s a lot of stunt work packed into the show; the series is bringing back true old-school action, where the actors are actually doing the fighting or the falling themselves. From its first episode, The Player is setting itself up to be great popcorn entertainment and a worthy successor to Cinemax’s Strike Back as the torchbearer for action shows. Just check out the trailer:

2. Philip Winchester

The Player should be Winchester’s official leap from underrated star to superstar. After four seasons of going all out on Strike Back, now he’s got the leading part of Alex Kane, the one upstanding guy who is the titular “player” in a corrupt game. That means a network audience is going to get to see just how talented, tough, and charismatic he is. Here’s an actor who does almost all his own stunts, while also being one of the small screen’s best performers. He’s also very funny.

Winchester creates characters that audiences want to root for. His Alex is a true action hero, and also a truly interesting person. NBC audiences will be blown away by what Winchester is about to do.

3. Wesley Snipes is back on TV

Snipes hasn’t been seen on television in 12 years, since a 2003 episode of The Bernie Mac Show. He hasn’t been a regular on a TV series since 1990’s short-lived H.E.L.P., which only ran for six episodes. So when he becomes the latest movie star to head to the small screen, it’s worth taking notice. Snipes also has a particularly juicy character in the enigmatic Mr. Johnson, the “pit boss” who makes sure Alex stays within the rules of the game. Johnson is unsettling, but also entertaining; you like him while being afraid of him. His ability to move seemingly anywhere he wants means that we’ll get to see Snipes play a number of other parts too. Think The Americans, only with more cryptic one-liners.

4. Everyone else, while we’re at it

Not to sound like a broken record, but The Player is cast really well. Damon Gupton portrays Alex’s best friend and potential thorn in his side, Detective Cal Brown. The fact that he’s playing the cop character means that audiences will get a very smart, nuanced take on what could have been a by-the-book part. Wolf Hall‘s Charity Wakefield is Cassandra, “the dealer” and Alex’s eye in the sky, and her character grows on you pretty quickly. Even the guest stars are fun to watch: The pilot features an appearance by Carlo Rota, whom TV action buffs will recognize as Morris O’Brian from 24 and Mick/Mr. Jones on La Femme Nikita. Action is nothing without acting, and this show is bringing the acting.

5. It’s a John Rogers production

If there’s anybody who knows how to balance a cocktail of action, drama, and humor, it’s John Rogers, the creator-showrunner of The Player and co-creator of Leverage. TV audiences know from five seasons of Leverage that Rogers can deliver unique premises, memorable characters, and a great deal of humor. He’s joined on The Player by John Fox, one of the executive producers of The Blacklist; Strike Back director Michael J. Bassett will be helming an episode as well. It all amounts to not only an impressive pedigree for The Player, but the right one to deliver the great action drama that this show deserves to be.

The Player may not be the biggest new series or the most anticipated project this fall, but it should be one that’s in the conversation. From amazing actors to experienced creators, it has every piece that it needs to be a hit on its own merits—as well as another great representation of the action genre on television.

This is a series that audiences will be able to love as an action show, as a character adventure, and just as a wildly fun ride. If you don’t have its premiere date circled on your calendar, do it now—because this is a new series that you should absolutely be excited about.

The Player premieres Thursday, September 24, at 10 p.m. on NBC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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