Summer Cable-TV Preview: Hackers, Hip-Hop and Lesbian Vampires

Demonic possessions, rock & roll lifers, the return of 'Mr. Robot' and 'OITNB' — we've got your small-screen covered

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'Ballers'

HBO, July 17th
When Ballers dropped last summer, everybody pegged it as the NFL version of Entourage, with a side order of Arli$$. But it proved Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson could hold his own as a TV leading man, after essentially conquering every other corner of the media. He returns as the ex-football star Spencer Strasmore, finding there's life after the gridiron by putting on a suit and starting a new career as financial adviser to the A-list jocks — to "monetize my friendships," as he put it. Johnson is hardly the first pro wrestler to make the transition into the acting game, but he is probably the first to play a guy you could imagine doing your taxes. Rob Corddry keeps up his hyperactive comic weaseling as a sleazebag sidekick. The bro crew orbiting around these two might be a lot less charismatic, yet Ballers builds a laid-back party vibe around its star's unflappable core of chill.

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