‘The Player’ play of the game: Low-tech is the best tech

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Player’ breaks the rules for quality TV.

Here’s the deal: The Player knows what viewers want. “It was just the best constructed thing that was presented to me in terms of plotline and character,” Snipes, 53, tells PEOPLE of his new NBC drama, The Player. “Not to mention the people who are involved.

SERIES: “The Player,” which premieres Thursday on NBC, was created by John Rogers, who previously created the TNT shows “The Librarians” and “Leverage.” STORY: In Las Vegas, a cabal of the super-rich has developed a system to predict crimes, and its members place bets on whether the misdeeds will actually come to pass. Philip Winchester stars as Alex Kane, a security expert who is hired to try to thwart the crimes, thus spicing up the game. (He is the “player” of the show’s title.) Wesley Snipes and Charity Wakefield play Mr.

The love of a good woman brought him back from the edge. “I need you to wrap your head around the impossible,” purrs the mysterious Cassandra (Charity Wakefield, “Wolf Hall”) as she intervenes at a critical moment in Alex’s bad day. Johnson, who heads up a game in which wealthy people gamble on whether security expert Alex Kane (Philip Winchester, Fringe) can stop major crimes before they happen.

Creator John Rogers spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about why he initially said that the show “wouldn’t work,” what has surprised him about teaming with Snipes and where the series is heading. Based on the probable outcome from those criminal acts, they place wagers on them and they keep bets against outcome.” “It was an interesting concept,” he says. “It’s interesting to consider that there may be secret organizations in the world that in someway manipulate the day-to-day lives of the average person and that they are using high technology to do so and even worse – gambling on the outcome. CRITICS SAY: “With frequent chases and calculated-to-dazzle stunts, ‘The Player’ is exhausting to watch, and its attempt to appropriate the trappings of the gambling world in hopes of looking glamorous feels several decades out of step,” Neil Genzlinger wrote in The Times.

In short, NBC dealt one too many cards from the deck because The Player is basically absurd with a dollop of stupid on top and a whole bunch of empty tossed in for filler. My friend John Fox, the producer on The Blacklist, had called, and we’ve known each other since I was working on features, and we occasionally bounce ideas off each other. That’s Wesley Snipes’ job — and speaking of Snipes, he’s very disappointed when The Player begins. “Who’s next?” he says as he looks down at a dead body, right before the show cuts to its (inevitable) rock-and-roll montage of Sin City. Elsewhere: Admirers called it a good contender to become the next “Blacklist.” Others said that even without the outlandish premise, the characters are so stiff they’re laughable.

Philip still keeps the small town near to his heart, telling Belgrade News that the first thing he likes to do after filming is, “go to Bair’s Truck Stop and have a coffee with my buddies.” As for sex scenes? Winchester says that because he’s married he’s “not a huge fan” of stripping down on camera, adding he “lucked out” on Cinemax series Strike Back because his character was more concerned with uncovering terrorist plans than seducing the ladies.

The thrill-seeking actor discussed one of his favorite moments from Strike Back’s third season with Examiner, saying, “We had a stunt this year, where I jump out of the back of a moving van onto a moving car that’s behind us. They bet in Vegas, via a hologram that kind of looks like the Colosseum. (Just FYI, I’m still being absolutely serious here, not trying to be funny). It would be the richest, most powerful, most amoral — oh, that’s a great villain.” There’s been a lot of things in the news about predictive policing, the sort of profiling you do when you’re hunting terrorists. Whatever he is, the show skates over his background — all you need to know is that he needs to be protected, and he’s the High Stakes Plot of the Week.

Winchester has a flair for action, which he most recently displayed in Cinemax’s “Strike Back.” WHY YOU MIGHT NOT: The plot is preposterous, the characters have no personalities and Mr. The guy’s got protection from several parties, including the Las Vegas Police Department, his private security team, and our hero: Alex Kane (Winchester), a former FBI operative who, according to LVPD Detective Cal Brown (Damon Gupton), is “Vegas’ biggest pain-in-the-ass security consultant.” Luckily for Raqiv’s family, Vegas’ biggest pain-in-the-ass security consultant has located all of the vulnerable spots in his hotel suite, so that when a would-be assassin arrives, Alex races across the roof of the hotel, grasps a rope, and smashes through a window, saving Raqiv just in time by using a bottle of wine to knock the trespasser out. It looked hokey, but no hokier than the idea of countless billionaires developing a machine that predicts crime and then, instead of basically stopping it, betting on it, instead. Instead of thanking Alex for saving his life, Raqiv isn’t pleased with the loss of a nearly 100-year-old wine. (Because in Vegas, having booze is more important than staying alive.) Alex’s personal life is less, well, life-threatening. In some way they are kinda-sorta stopping it because they have recruited someone who will be known as The Player (Philip Winchester), who is given whatever tools he needs, provided they are fast and powerful tools, to help “prevent” whatever crime is about to happen.

Going the Extra Mile for Roles: Back in 2011, the hunky 34-year-old spoke to Men’s Health UK about prepping for his role as the ruthless Sergeant Michael Stonebridge on Strike Back, revealing, “It was mental and emotional training at the same time as the physical stuff. They’d be slamming on you the whole time,” adding that learning the ins and outs of life as Britain’s Special Air Service was “incredible.” After spending four weeks in South Africa, Winchester revealed, “My wife looked at me one day and she said, ‘It’s nice to have you home, Philip.’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about, babe?’ And she said, ‘You haven’t been ‘Philip’ since you started shooting Strike Back.

So in the first couple episodes, we range from, can you stop a violent heist crew, to solve the mystery of a sniper who’s hunting people from the towers of L.A., to keep a mob family safe while trying, to figure out exactly which one is trying to kill the other one. A car driven by a blonde woman who knows his name (!) crashes into him, and by the time he wakes up in the hospital, all evidence of him chasing a killer and getting hit by a car has been erased, so Alex becomes the primary suspect in Ginny’s killing. But if you’re going to predict and bet on crime, you can’t just make it cool and action-oriented without addressing the awful, soulless center of it all. But when something happens to his ex-wife, with whom he is maybe thinking about rebuilding a relationship, he’s hell-bent on finding out who did it. The shadowy betting group at the center of the show can help him, provided — wait for it — he become The Player and solve countless other things beforehand while billionaires bet on his chances.

Wesley brings just some little great attitude or tone or style to every episode — some moment when we’re watching the dailies that we did not anticipate. Johnson (Wesley Snipes), aka The Pit Boss, and Cassandra King (Charity Wakefield), aka The Dealer, go a really long way to make sure he says yes to being The Player.

Alex has a detective friend named Cal (Damon Gupton), whose job seems to be saying, “What you’re doing is crazy and makes no sense and is super illegal. At the hotel, he initiates a shootout (and then impales one of the kidnappers on a roulette table) until the man who killed Ginny takes Raqiv’s daughter away. OK, let me help you just this once and maybe some other times if you’re nice — gah, I did it again.” None of this is nearly as good or as much mindless fun as Strike Back, the Cinemax series in which Winchester previously starred (not so surprisingly, with Blindspot star Sullivan Stapleton; it’s as if NBC saw the show and said, “Let’s get those guys and put them in separate, not nearly as good shows”). It revolves around the trauma team in a hospital that looks like a cross between the Starship Enterprise and an Apple shop – all gleaming white and cutting-edge technology.

Alex is understandably weary of the setup. “You gamble with people’s lives,” he says, realizing that with all their Minority Report-like technology, they could have saved Ginny. He’s a man who has issues with violence and a temptation towards it and tries not to do it but is constantly tempted because it allows him to right wrongs. If that’s your kind of show, then by all means, fire up the hologram and let the betting begin on whether this show will ever make it a full season. To pinpoint an exact location, Alex goes low-tech: He talks to “a guy” he knows who tracks empty lots people use for nefarious purposes. (Because in Vegas… you know what? Dodging a hail of bullets, he drives up an escalator (?!), and then launches himself onto a van and shoots the man holding Raqiv’s daughter to set her free.

He says he wasn’t a good guy — working for the FBI task force led him to believe that shooting first mattered more than figuring out if the person he aimed at was guilty. He uses a jolly attitude and footage of Alex the night of Ginny’s murder to exonerate him, claiming he had gotten the tape from a hotel’s security camera. Johnson walks him through the rules — that Cassandra will be his only resource, that the game must never be revealed, that it’s a lifetime appointment until the show gets canceled — but it’s Alex who lays down the law once Mr.

In the closing scene, she delves into files on Ginny gathered from Alex’s laptop earlier in the episode and stares at a photo of her and Ginny together (!?!). “Place your bets,” she says, before snapping her fingers and walking away.

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