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In 2004, ESPN cancelled the show following pressure applied by their television partner the National Football League. The show focused on the trials and tribulations of a professional football team. See more »
Entertaining, in a trashy, prime-time soap kind of way
While watching "Playmakers", I couldn't help but compare this show with the prime-time soaps of the 70s and 80s (e.g.: "Dallas", "Dynasty", "Knots Landing", etc.) and see why some people find those shows entertaining. The story lines were very melodramatic, the good guys were good but sometimes stale and boring, the bad guys were bad but strangely charismatic. Also, the show's production values were generally more slick and stylish than most other shows.
If I'm looking for a movie or TV show that captures what it's like to be a pro football player, "Playmakers" would not be on the top of my list. In my humble opinion, the movie North Dallas Forty was the closest to capturing what it's like to be a football player on and off the football field. If I'm looking for reality, I'd prefer watching an actual football game and viewing magazine programs like ESPN's "Outside The Lines" or HBO's "Real Sports".
Also, because of what any show can capture in less than an hour, I don't believe a TV series can ever capture the essence of what it's like being an athlete. Interestingly enough, a very small number of shows dealing with professional sports have ever been successful (one possible exception: HBO's "1st and Ten" lasted 6 seasons and that was a 30 minute comedy).
Having said all of this, even with some glaring flaws, I'm becoming very addicted to "Playmakers". As of this writing, ESPN won't be airing a new episode in 2 weeks and I'm already wondering about these characters and the continuing story lines just like a trashy, prime-time soap opera and I don't think that's a bad thing at all.
Update (April 2006): Despite better than average ratings, ESPN canceled "Playmakers" after one season. I suspect that the NFL was not very happy with the program since the league also has a long-term contract with ESPN. Rather than having a continuing conflict, ESPN elected not to pick up a second season of "Playmakers". What a shame.
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