New show: The Player
When: 10 p.m. Thursdays on NBC
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Philip Winchester, Charity Wakefield
Premise: This is the show that will remind you why Wesley Snipes became a star. Is the show great? No, it’s not. But Snipes, who has never lacked for charisma, is pretty entertaining in it.
The creators of “The Player” have said their goal is to “bring big action back to television” – and they’ve certainly done that. It’s a very high-action show about ex-FBI agent Alex Kane (Winchester) who is recruited after a personal tragedy to become “the player” in a secret game in which rich and powerful people bet on the outcome of crimes. They don’t get involved in the crimes, they just calculate the odds and make huge bets. Snipes is the “pit boss” (among other things) who pulls all the strings. There’s a brief scene in the pilot where Snipes’ character must show up at a police department to retrieve Kane, and it’s the best in the entire show. There’s also a “dealer” (Wakefield) who handles the research and all of the totally unrealistic technology.
Based on the pilot, the writing is pretty weak, particularly anything involving Winchester’s character. But people who watch this show are not going to quibble over writing, because the focus here is ACTION. And there’s plenty of it. If you like a show that’s roughly half-filled with shootouts, car chases, foot chases, motorcycle chases and unbelievable stunts, then step up to the table.