Combining an interesting behind-the-scenes look at various major leagues of sports, the second season of Necessary Roughness reveals new enemies and new alliances. All while doing so in a lighthearted, breezy sort of way.
The New York Hawks is used to dealing with dramatics from their star running back, TK (Mechad Brooks). But this latest brush with the press is a headline maker that nearly cost him his life. Now weeks after his surgery, TK is still MIA and the team hasn’t a clue if he will be starting this season. The team therapist Dr. Dani Santini (Callie Thorne) is concerned that TK may be repressing post-traumatic stress. So she warns against the coaches letting him attend the upcoming player’s reception.
Matt Donnally (Marc Blucas), the team’s physical therapist and trainer – and recently Dani’s boyfriend, backs her decision but it turns out that the Hawks have bigger problems. The owners announce they’re getting a divorce which reveals the team is nearly broke. This leads Nico (Scott Cohen), head of security, to seek out their teenage daughter, Juliette (Danielle Panabaker) who disappears.
Meanwhile, Dani is dealing with personal issues of her own. The IRS audits she and her ex-husband forcing her to gather receipts from years ago. To make things worse Dani’s teenage children begin to insert their independence which in turn begins to make Dani think about her family’s future.
There is nothing quite like this on television and today that is a rare commodity. The formula of the series is unique and beyond that each forty-some span of sixteen episodes also keeps things interesting. Already a successful practice on her own, instead of each episode being only about Dani trying to keep TK sane (and by virtue us!), various other sporting clients (tennis, roller derby, baseball) make it into her office though each one does center around the world of pro football in some form. Part of the summer line up on the USA slate of programs, it’s been interesting to watch how this show expanded during season two; some of that turmoil is very (very!) good, others – like foisting teenager characters into adulthood by dealing with very adult things – terribly disappointing.
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The greatest, most glaring flaw is all the tumult that seems to be spinning out its wheels, testing our patience. Conflict is what stories thrive on (to keep pulling in the spectator), however, about as soon as one resolves, another crops up. For the first half of the season, things carry on in a normal fashion and relies on dealing with the aftermath of TK’s shooting.
Immediately after that, already viewers catapult in the middle of something even more threatening and on the tradition marches. Even for a “soapy” television show, I think it’s “too much,” we should have been given more of a breather and time to take in and process all that happens. That said, it’s all interesting, especially the shake-up in the hierarchy. Better suiting the structure would be the pacing; had it not come in that short a timeframe, things would have gone smoother. Perhaps the best sparks that fly on the screen are of the romantic kind. My friends, the tension here is brimming with promise and interesting subtleties; it’s been something smoldering since the pilot, and finally comes to a head in the season two finale. On then, as usual, things end in another cliffhanger.
Balancing this out is the generally “happy” mood and the great transition of TK. Once he admits his problem, I’m quite proud of how he genuinely tries to alter public opinion. Playing all their characters exceedingly well is the veteran cast including Marc Blucas, Callie Thorne and Scott Cohen; whose alter ego is perhaps the most interesting. Guest spots include the return of Amanda Detmer in a fun turn.
The writing tackles important and poignant things that are realistic while balancing some nice moments of comedy. On or off the “playing field” of life, that character have a lot to figure out. If things continue to spiral upward, I’m anxious to see what comes from Necessary Roughness.
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Content: in the first half of the show, a teenager argues for the points of having sex; his mom catches them in his bedroom once. Later she gives him a bag full of “protection” while insisting he talk with his father about the “details.” At various points, similar minor innuendoes crop up; Dani is seen waking up or lying in bed several times with Matt [a dream sequence also includes suggestive scenes]. There is one or two other scenes of couples lying in bed together. By the end, there’s an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. TK is a womanizer and is constantly surrounded by women. There is painkiller addiction and one person overdoses. Most unfortunately is the two arcs involving a homosexual character. Nothing is graphic but there is conversations regarding it. There is also a plot about married people who are active in the “swing” culture. The show is TV-14.